Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Should his death matter?

A few days ago someone close to me expressed his annoyance at all the hulabaloo surrounding Heath Ledger's performance in the new Batman Movie being released this week. He accepted that his performance might prove to be exceptional, but didn't like all the fuss that was being made just because the film was being released posthumously, even if he was dead the media should treat his performance as if he was still alive, no more nor less. I didn't agree with him at the time, I thought "that's completely ridiculous, of course it matters if someone is dead you twatt!"but his insistence on this point, and the fact that I highly respect his opinion, got me thinking on his words. Why does death tint someone's life in a different colour? Why is our clarity of vision so susceptible to our feelings? I have been pondering on these questions and I haven't been enlightened as to why we as humans can only see reality subjectively and why very rarely(or never) can objectivity be achieved. All I can say is that I know this is a fact, and that I still disagree with him. Death may change the way we see things but that doesn't mean we are deluding ourselves by viewing a new reality through the looking glass of a changing circumstances. So what if he would have been portrayed differently by the media had he still been alive? The fact is that he is dead(and died tragically for that matter), that IS the new reality. He is not alive, thinking that things ought be as if he was still amongst the living is not reality(delusion?). Death may change the way we view past reality, but that's exactly what makes us human.  

What's next? the confused mind of a college leaver

As this blogger's college days are coming to an end the question "what's next?" is forefront in my mind. 

Four years of Spanish lit and Sociology and an extra year doing a Masters in Literary Translation, thrown in for good measure, have done little to set me on the path of 'what I want to do with my life', or have they? Leaving college is a confusing time for most people. Entering the so called 'real world' is not an easy transition, specially when most of your friends are ahead of you and have been 'real people' for the past two years or so. How to become a 'real person'? How are you supposed to get a job that 'matters' (to you) if you have no idea what you'd like to do, or more specifically, how you use what you have done for the past five years to do something you really like?

I always wanted to be a doctor. Always. I still have memories of telling people, aged 3 or 4, that I wanted to be a doctor. All through school I wanted to study medicine. All the way through to my final year in school I wanted to be a doctor. Then I did a degree in arts. As you do. The desire to study medicine never left me, it was just put on hold, or so I told myself. Now, five years later, that desire is still rife. However I do not want to disregard these five years of my life, which, at the end of the day, I can't really say that I regret doing. The study of literature and sociology has given me a tridimensional vision of the human being and society. The understanding of biology and science can only be complete if there is an awareness and understanding of that human essence that escapes definition, that escapes science, that escapes biology. I have learned to delve past the surface of literary works, to analyze the way language has been set down, to scratch the surface of the mind behind the text, and in addition, translating these products of human creativity has exposed the transient nature of humans, and language, which is what makes us what we are, for without speech we cannot express that human essence that escapes definition, that escapes science, that escapes biology.  

Through this blog I hope to set down in words my undefinable essence, and through this post-college-years journey I hope to be able to find answers to "what's next?" Is my desire to help people improve their health compatible with my five years of studying literature/sociology/translation? Could speech and language therapy be the answer I am looking for?  

Monday, July 21, 2008

Translator's Block

Is "translator's block" an fitting term for the suffering literary translators endure when the brain seemingly seizes to gives the answers they are looking for?

Today, and the past few days, have been a disaster. I am presently working on an annotated translation as part of my Masters in literary translation. I chose to translate this writer and book because the moment I read it I fell in love with it. Big mistake. I loved the subtle blurring of reality and fiction in the mind of this want to be writer. I loved the existentialist piss-taking of himself. I loved the flow from beginning to end. I loved his constant use of idioms that merged with the image/situation being described.  I loved..., I loved..., I loved.... That's exactly why I should have put that book right back where I found it. I am massacring this book and it is painful to be living through this. It is painful to be aware that I am the perpetrator of such a horrifying crime. It is impossible to re-create, however remotely close, what the author has done. 

More painfully, because of this constant guilt assailing me every single sentence, I have been experiencing "translators block". My mind freezes and shuts down to prevent me from doing any further damage. But the damage has to be done. It is too late to turn back now. Only two months to go before my dissertation is due and I can't change my topic now. How do I overcome this painful painful painful situation? 

And where is it? where is it? where is it? where is that something that some people say we are all looking for and others say that it’s all in our heads? and where is it? and why are we not allowed to start a sentence with ‘and’ and ‘but’, and I want to start my sentences with ‘and’s’ but I’m not allowed and then I feel that something that some people say we are all looking for and others say that it’s all in our heads. And it might be in my head, but even so, it is. It is. And that makes it real. Real to me. And that’s what counts. And why does society (or even more so your loved ones) make you feel like there is so much wrong with you just because your life pattern doesn’t conform? Conform to what, I ask. Exactly. Where did these rules come from? Where did these rules fecking come from?