Sunday, February 25, 2007

As easy as yksi, kaksi, kolme...

It's been a positive week. Light travel (mainly to see kin), lots of sitting around writing (getting back into the translating thing, hope my first-quarter deadlines for Andrew's Czech studies can be met), lots of nice, relaxing time...

And I started my private Finnish lessons today, occasional semi-outrageous expense be damned.

Now I just wish there were a Finnish etymological dictionary within several hundred miles of here. Not that I have a tendency to get ahead of myself or anything.


Friday, February 16, 2007

"Dear Andrew,

It is my pleasure to inform you that the Admission Committee for the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at Simmons College has admitted you to the master's degree program for fall 2007."

So there's that, at least. Also, I'm on vacation for a week, and there's two feet of snow on the ground. It's been quite the last few days.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


Nuts to all that 2 am nonsense. I'm taking the Finnish lessons (we're working on scheduling), and though I spilled a drink in my bag, causing the cheap fountain pen ink to run an inch at the centerline on my first draft of "The Way to The Promised Land," I'm off to the coffeeshop now to begin reconstructive work.

Oh, plus, I did the Penguin Plunge again. Lessee if I can rustle up any pictures.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Not a good line of thought to be having at two in the morning...

"Anyway, I was reading this arcane edition of this rather arcane mediaeval book, and I looked up, and suddenly I realised that the literary world in which I was immersed bore no relation to the one around me. It wasn't just that it was old. If I'd been reading Hamlet there might have been one or two people in the carriage who could relate. Sometimes you see pretty UCL or Goldsmith's girls reading Eliot and the like. Vergil, Beowulf, Chaucer, fine. But Reynard the Fox? At that moment I felt trapped, as if in a bubble or cocoon. I was overcome with the utter irrelevance of my intellectual life."

Italics mine. From this VUnEx post.

Replace "Reynard the Fox" with "translations of Ladislav Fuks and musings about private introductory Finnish lessons" and we're where I am right now. I would try to be defiantly proud, but that would just seem to be more isolating.

Ach běda mi!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Quick question...

I sign up to take private Finnish lessons, even if they're somewhat expensive, right? I mean, money spent on education and all...

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

A short referát--Myši Natálie Mooshabrové

I am finally making more of a good-faith effort to read my collection of Fuks, both as a way to assimilate his oeuvre prepatory to future translation efforts and just as an attempt to keep myself in Czech input. I can stil read, and, from what I can tell by talking to myself, my spoken skills aren't going away as quickly as I might fear.

I've recently read 1970's Myši Natálie Mooshabrové, (Natálie Mooshabrová's Mice). It's a change of pace thematically for me, as there is no perspective on the encroaching Holocaust, (as in My Black-Haired Brothers, Burner of Corpses, The Way to the Promised Land, and parts of Death of a Guinea Pig). The sense of horror and alienation in a confusing and ill-defined world remains, however. We are placed somewhere in a great Czech-speaking city, a sort of alternate Prague, fleshed out only with a few almost-real placenames, in a world where flights to the moon are becoming commonplace. Even people's names add to the disorientation--the title character's long dead husband was called Medard Mooshaber and their children are Wezr and Nabule. The police drop in unannounced, every civil servant in the city is evidently independently preparing a Dies irae, strange things occur in the cemetery Natálie works in, seedy characters appear and dissapear, and the crowds in the streets gather for a reckoning and a long-practiced requiem. (I don't normally talk like this, do I?)

And this is about all anyone will get to read of it in English for some time, unless someone picks this up as a project before me, which I simultaneously would embrace and fear; it's a lengthy work, and a bit farther down on my translating list, after the novella I'm currently working on, and then his first novel, Mr. Theodor Munstock. I mean, it's not like there's just a Czech version; I've definitely found Hungarian and German translations, and there might be an Italian--I've seen it referenced by name, at any rate. Maybe 2009 or 2010, the way I've been going, for a second draft?

Monday, February 05, 2007

Follies of scheduling.

It must have seemed like a good idea six months ago when I was at the dentist's, scheduling this morning's appointments. 8 am on a Monday's perfect, right? It's not as if I knew i'd be taking a job which required me to work until nearly midnight.

Three hours' sleep? Severe wind chill advisory? A half-hour walk uphill? I am there. Ah, the things we do in the name of oral hygiene.