Wednesday, 4 August 2010
Kicks and Cyberscares
I am re-reading Satantango for style in order to prepare the final draft, and there are pages at a time when it's a thrill, but also passages where it feels knotted and obscure, where I simply haven't understood what LK was getting at but had to move on. Now is the time to sort out those passages and to peer back into the dark
The thrills are quite intoxicating. I suppose a translator shouldn't say this, but there are times I feel the prose is on a high - that is to say my own prose - and that that is quite as exciting as writing my own poems when I am writing well. The language seems to be surfing, wave on wave, brewing and breeding. I don't flatter myself by imagining I have written the book but I do feel I am bringing something into being. When people ask - as they do - why do this, there is the answer.
The truth is I have hardly ever done anything literary just for the money in itself. That is the advantage of having a foot in regular work - I am not dependent on freelance exploitation. If I don't like it, I don't have to take it.
The only problem is that I like a great deal, both books and people, and my mouth finds it very difficult to form the word No.
Having said that I got a scare yesterday when, during the editing, the Word programme suddenly quit. I tried again, two or three times, with the same result. So I copied the whole text and pasted it into a new Word document. No change. Next I tried pasting it into the AppleWorks 6 format. It wouldn't load. I couldn't work on the text because every time I moved the cursor the programme quit. For safety's sake - not knowing what the problem was, whether it was on the computer or in the document - I sent my university address a copy of the unfinished redraft and another to New Directions. Maybe they could do something with it at their end.
Finally, I copied and pasted the whole text into a simple Text document. I thought it would be too big but Text accepted it and now I could work again, though without any sophisticated text devices. But then I copied the Text version into AppleWorks and that was fine, and while Works is not as handy as Word, it is better than nothing. A great sigh of relief.
The question now is whether I should paste it all back into Word, because all my other Word documents are working perfectly well - so the bug was in the specific document, not in the programme, or so it seems - and the text having been twice through the laundry (it is, I reflected, rather like money laundering) it might be clean enough. I haven't done that so far.
I am back on LK's waves and wavelength, caressing and unknotting in Works, saving after every change. The thought of losing years of work to a bug!