Monday, November 27, 2006

"My tender one," said Mr. Kopfrkingl...

It was two years ago today that I sat down with a now-battered notebook, a work of Ladislav Fuks', my dictionaries, and a pen. Two hundred scribbled words later, I had started the process of turning his life's published work into English.

I had done some tentative scribblings earlier. I would also do but a [tentative/halting?] heavily-annotated chapter and a half of the work (rework later?) and then let it sit for almost six months, but since that was the try that ended up taking, and since I was thoughtful enough to put the date at the top, that's the anniversary I have.

I can't remember what got me started that day, and those first couple of pages have seen more heavy revision than others, but I now have a sixth or seventh draft of Burner of Corpses and am editing the second drafts of the short story collections Death of a Guinea Pig and My Black-Haired Brothers. I believe I've also got a first-draft first chapter of Mr. Theodor Mundstock sitting in a notebook upstairs as well. This time last year, I'd barely had a second or third draft of the first one; I'm fitfully picking up steam, it seems. The more the merrier.

Goals for Year Three? [Purely as it pertains to translating]. I'd like to have all three of the ones I'm done now in servicable form (read--fifth draft or more), with Mundstock and the novella The Way to the Promised Land at least transcribed from their [as-yet nonexistent] handwritten first drafts. There's enough to do that running out of things is the least of my worries.

I'm thankful for projects, and for all the people who've had a kind or kindly critical word to say along the way.

Only one way to move forward, though.

To work.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

November rain?

Two-thirds of the month has gone by and I haven't listened to that song yet?

I must be happy.

I haven't listened to it even in jest?

I must be busy, too.

My sixteen-of-nineteen day span at work ends tomorrow, and then I'm skipping town to catch up with my roots for a Thanksgiving in the Slovak enclave in southwestern Massachusetts.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

A je po říjnu...

Another month past. It has been brought to my attention that others don't necessary use the month as a basic unit of time insofar as conceptualizing projects or lenghty events, preferring weeks or seasons. It's the month through and through for me, regardless of such fripperies as details. March was Buster Keaton, April was housesitting and translating (right up to finishing a collection of short stories at noon on April 31st, as I redubbed the first of May) and September was mono. October...well, they don't all have to be categorized.

Have been academic of late, acquiring books on Old English vocabulary, the dawn of the Slavic languages, and an etymological dictionary of German, which means I can spend my time doing things like discovering case relics in English (whilom, the more the merrier), smiling confidently about my knowledge of Proto-Slavic morphology as reflected in Czech (my agricultural vocabulary is a bit lacking) and finally confirming over that nagging suspicion that the suffixes -heit and -(ig)keit were the same thing originally. And cognate to -hood.

In other wrds, I'm reasonably happy. What's more, I have an application in for immersion studies at Middlebury next fall, and hope to be working on masters applications before the month is out.