Friday 29 June 2018

Togbukh fun a veverke, part 1

Imagine you make a silly little webcomic about a neurotic, diary-writing squirrel that you assume, although little-read and fairly insignificant, is based on a unique and original concept.

Now imagine that one day, three years into regular posting of your foolish little squirrel webcomic, you find online, merely by chance, that your idea is not only NOT unique and original, but a book with the EXACT SAME TITLE was already written and published - in 1920! 

And not only does the original book have the exact same title as your supposedly-orginal squirrel webcomic, but it was originally published in Yiddish, the language of your people and recent ancestors (I am of the first generation in my family to not speak, read, or understand the language, except the words that every Mad magazine reader or New Yorker knows).

Well, this amazing situation has happened to me! Imagine my surprise, when randomly Googling the title of my webcomic, Diary of a Squirrel, I found this:

You, too, can find this by going to Yiddish Book Center, and read about the lovely children's story about a little squirrel and his family in interwar Poland, by Sonia Kantor. Apparently the same publisher, Dos Bukh, also published a short story about a squirrel and a crow. It's all just too coincidental to believe.

I was astonished, amazed, gobsmacked, flabbergasted, and blown away!

My natural response was, of course, to turn this into a comic series.

But as a non-Yiddish speaker, reader, comprehender, I needed some help.

Enter my well-worn copy of Born to Kvetch by Michael Wex:

Thank you, Michael Wex!

So here is my humble Yiddish Diary of a Squirrel comic response. I don't imagine most of you will get it (I barely do), but as my people would say, So it was written, so it had to be done!

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