Ellen Sommer

Who is Ellen Sommer?

IMG_0030Ellen Sommer is the translator of this site. Most of the blogs on this site were first written in Dutch. But Ellen Sommer is more than a translator to me. She’s a soul-sister, someone who has been a part of my life for a very long time. I’m happy that she’s willing to work as a volunteer, learning the ropes in translating, while at the same time providing a wonderful service for me.

How I met Ellen Sommer

It must have been the summer of 1983 or ’84. I’m in Holland, feeling horribly homesick for the US. I go to a meetup of the John Denver Fanclub and there, in the sunshine, wearing a save the whales T-shirt she is, singing along with the rest of us. I invite her and a couple of other people to my home for a weekend of singalongs. When all the others have gone to sleep, Ellen and I are still talking, laughing, watching the sun come up. We decide, not too long thereafter, to travel to the US together. We’ve been friends ever since.

Fast forward to 2010

My book tells some of the story of living in the US. After five years I return to the Netherlands and Ellen and I lose sight of one another. Through all kinds of good fortune I become a translator. I translate the inspiring books of Thomas Crum, who was an inspiration to Ellen and I both, when we were living in Aspen, Colorado. I organise a symposium and invite Tom to speak and show his Aikido at it on 10-10-’10. Turns out Ellen Sommer has kept in touch with Tom and is the first to register for the symposium. She’s surprised and thrilled to find out the organizer of the symposium is little ol’ me.

Some things never change

You know how with some people, you can go for years without seeing each other and when you meet again, you pick up right where you left off as if nothing ever happened? That’s how it is with Ellen Sommer and me. Sure, we have a lot of catching up to do about the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune that have shaped our respective destinies. But nothing between us has changed: we still get on like a house on fire.

Fast forward another 5 years…

My book is out, it’s hugely succesful in the Netherlands, being mandatory literature in a couple of colleges. I’ve translated it into English myself and brought it to market a half a year ago. I had every intention of promoting it in the US myself, but there’s a lot of work do be done in the Netherlands and I haven’t gotten around to translating all my blogs into English. Nor does it look like I will have much time to do this in the near future.Then Ellen Sommer tells me of her ambition of becoming a translator….

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