Monday, 13 August 2012

Third-Hand But Still True

I feel back up to full power again now, which is good but means I spend too much time on the internet. Discovery of the day is a quote, via the very good HMH Literature in Translation tumblr blog, which took it from the very good Archipelago Books tumlbr blog. By the way, before I get to the point, I'm sorry but I'm a bit old-fashioned about these things. I'll just be sticking more or less to what I've been doing all along. I won't ever be giving you photos because visuals just aren't what I do, so none of this Tumblr business I'm afraid. I might one day look for a new off-the-peg design but actually I'm rather fond of my retro circles, which remind me of a drug-induced Angela Carter moment in my youth (you probably had to be there). So there you are.

The point is this quote from Richard Howard:
The relationship of the translator to the writer is an erotic relationship always, and you learn something about the person that you’re working with in an almost plastic, physical way that you can almost never learn about your friends.
I do find this a big problem, because of course as I've written before it's totally unrequited. So sad. I know of a few writerly couples who translate each other, which feels to me like it must be the most intimate thing ever, and would scare me slightly. As it is, there are writers I've been translating for a long time (not necessarily for publication), who feel like beloved old spouses whose tics I've grown accustomed to, there are some who I've fallen out of love with, most I delight in, and every new writer comes with a frisson of excitement. And those first meetings! Every single time, such high expectations and then such aching disappointment, like a bad date.

I may be sharing too much but I was so struck by the quote that I thought you'd all like to know.

1 comment:

Tony said...

I'm not sure whether this is endearingly honest or too much information...