Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Reasons to be Cheerful

January is really the crappiest month, apart from February perhaps (TS Eliot was wrong about April though, because my birthday's in April). January is dark and gloomy and you're still feeling all fat and loathsome from the holidays, nobody ever wants to leave the house so even if there is some occasion you feel like partaking of (which there probably isn't), you're gonna have to go all on your own. Probably the event you go to will be cancelled because everyone else in the whole world decided to have a night in. Just for a change.

And then there's the state of the world. For some reason it seems so much more desolate in January. Apart from the obvious, which I won't list here, there is of course translation decimation. Chad W. Post (the W. stands for Willcontinueforeverandeverto and he has the little known second surname of Goodstuffaboutinternationalwriting-On-Threepercent) has discovered that despite all the hype, 2010 was a crappy year for translations. In terms of numbers published in the USA. Probably because publishers are cowards, especially when there's one of those financial crisis things going on. Boo!

But let's move into positive thinking mode here. I saw a great cartoon the other day of a Think Positive! course. On the whiteboard it says: Life may be crap, but it doesn't last forever. And I have indeed spotted a tiny sliver of silver lining in Chad's depressing statistics, albeit only if you favour German-language literature over all other writing - heaven forbid. Because first-time translations of fiction and poetry from German in the USA went up - actually up! - last year, from 31 to 35 books. Hooray!

Also on the plus side, I am all booked up for this year with four fantastic books by extremely talented and fabulous German and Swiss writers. And it's not actually raining where I am right now. And I have added a little display of my "followers" on the left, just to make me feel like Jesus. Only I have more than twelve. And one of them appears to be a giraffe.


Daniel said...

Now I know what you mean - the past few days especially have been miserable. Now I feel so much better. And I'm glad to hear you've got a full plate for the coming year.

I am also a "follower" now, although I noticed my icon looks a bit like Spider-man. I think I need to change that.

Thanks also for the tip on the Gutekunst Prize: I think I will give that a shot.

kjd said...

Go for it, Daniel.