Susanna Zweig is an experienced educator and editor with a strong background in trauma-informed, evidence-based K-16 instruction. She has dedicated her company, MyLifeLab, to promoting positive growth and well-being in children and young adults.

On collaborative wordsmithing in the sunshine

by Susanna Zweig

A few weeks ago, I texted a friend in frustration, “I’m a fool for believing a fairy tale.” 

In the aftermath of that dramatic text, I buried myself in editing the English translation of an actual fairytale: Oleg Veretskiy’s “Tales of the Wandering Mists.”

As I sat on my patio, I felt grateful to be tasked with one of my most favorite things–playing with words. While I was happily doing what I love, I was unable to completely shake off a feeling of self-annoyance– those remnants of a recent nonsensical choice which broadly entailed believing that fairy tales could in fact come true. 

But then, in fairytale fashion, that glorious California sun–which this Northeast-born-and-bred girl has been privileged to share in now for more than 7 years–momentarily peeped out from behind the clouds and a balmy air slyly embraced me. Its temperateness warmed me and, being a word nerd, I decided then to google the word “balmy.” 

Illustrations by Natalia Rusina for Book 1 and 2 in the trilogy have an uncanny connection to the text, Susanna notes.

Who knew that such a pleasant and soothing word as balmy, which, when spoken, feels like two soft kisses pecking my lips, also means, “displaying a lack of good judgment or sensibleness?”

So the weather that afternoon truly did mirror my heart as I tried to make sense of the pain of my recent non compos mentis, which had led me to conclude mere moments earlier that only fools believed in fairy tales.

But I realized then that these moments–of basking in collaborative wordsmithing while basking in this balmy California sun–are the ones that make editing a fairy tale, pure joy. In fact, it’s pretty much a fairy-tale job, this doing what I love to do.

This being a part of a team of like-minded literary artists working together across ten time zones to bring Veretskiy’s words and worlds to the English-speaking world–is a bit of fairy tale existence, too.

And I am no fool then for meddling in such magic and make-believe.

Author Oleg Veretskiy suspended his career to support his country’s fight for freedom. Thank you for helping us publish his magical coming-of-age tale!

The Wandering Mists by Oleg Veretskiy

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