Ugh. I’m crying again.
The good news is that my new career has been confirmed. I have a future.
The bad news is that I’m in mourning, for my old career.
It was a small thing set me off. Well, it seemed small. But the more I dwelt on it, the bigger it got.
I was reminded of a sentence I’m particularly proud of. I like the way that happens, the way all my books have particular lines which stand entire in my head. So, anyway. I went off to the Russian translation, to see how that bit came out.
Butchered. That’s how it came out. It went from one gloriously-rich analogy to three bare words. Which do you prefer: “It is the east, and Juliet is the sun” or “It's her, innit”? It was that kind of thing. Not that I’m comparing myself to Shakespeare. I’m not Shakespeare, I know that. That’s part of my problem. I know I’m not a great writer, that even the original in its native language is no literary masterpiece and unlkely to set the world alight. If I thought I were a misunderstood genius I’d be a lot happier. I could sit here muttering at those bastards holding me back, or go down arms aflailing, shouting to be heard and ignoring the just-not-quite-good-enough truth.
But anyway. Every time I look at a particular line in the book, the translation comes up lacking. I know, I could be wrong. It may be language, or culture, or the English was overwritten and the translation is stripped back and elegant.
Or perhaps it’s a crap translation.
If this were just one territory among many, it wouldn’t matter too much. But this is the only version of my book available. My book, that I slaved over for four years. That I edited and rewrote and rewrote again. Every line pored over, tweaked, perfected… and now it’s gone. And somehow I managed to lose my agent, at the exact moment when I really needed one, and there’s little chance of anyone reading my words, the ones I wrote, rather than someone else’s approximation of what I maybe sort-of meant.
And I have to let it go. Because I have a new job to start very soon, and it’s going to take all my time, and this is the wrong moment to be looking for a new agent or writing a new book and I just have to wave goodbye.
Yes, it’s only temporary. I can come back to it, in a few years’ time. Maybe one day in the future I’ll find another agent and they’ll fall in love with the book and find people other than Russians that want to read it. But for now… it’s over.
And I’m grieving.
Science with added fiction
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