Sometimes I mean to do something and then do something else.
I thought I’d spend the weekend on the French side of the brain, preparing my immortal contribution to the Asian literature symposium two weeks hence, but then, after two lines, found I wasn’t in the mood.
The last few days have been trying, to the point of finding myself almost napping in the middle of the afternoon yesterday, a rare event that means I must slow down. Slow down I must. What with sundry end-of-quarter financial and bureaucratic chores on top of attending to my website’s birth pains, suddenly multiplied as the child wants out, and of course the rambling routine translation of Four Reigns – last time I looked, I was on page 850 or thereabouts. Another 400 to go.
Talking about this, Khun Na was as good as her word, for all her never working on weekends: she sent back Reign One on the last day of September, after checking it line by line against the Thai text. So I went through her corrections (very valuable ones, but unusually few – either she hurried or I’m getting better: I’m getting better!) and forwarded that baby to my English editor in the hope of being able to present a clean first half of See Phaendin to Kukrit Pramoj’s children before I leave to grant me the permission to translate their father denied me for his own reasons fifteen years ago and perhaps profit from their own suggestions and corrections. But this is an artificial deadline and there’s no real hurry.
About the website, there is good news and there is bad news.
The good news is it’ll probably see the light of outer space sometime next week (touch wood or Bakelite!). The three French pages of it were done in no time, with no little input from me: give me another six months of that circus and I’ll be familiar enough with geek code to truss up a whole website all by myself, ha. (Well, no, I’m boasting.) What remains to be done is link to a payment system. And that’s where the bad news is, for me anyway.
The bad news is I’ll have to run the website sales myself. After consulting with all the honchos of this huge multimedia group of ours, it turns out no-one can spare a slave to spend a few minutes or one hour or two every day dispatching e-books by email. So I’ll have to do it myself.
And you are about to witness yet another side of Marcel Barang, erstwhile teacher, erstwhile journalist, practising translator – and now tradesman.
I feel so bad about this that I almost wish nobody will buy those 47 books and let me get on with churning out more of them as is my vocation in life.
Another headache: I’ve insisted long enough to have the website running before I leave for France to postpone its birth. But then, who is going to man it for the ten days or so I’ll be away?
Anyway, to go back to the original concern: a comment on this blog by Khun Noo arrived right before I found I was in no mood to work on my symposium speech. It was a helpful note on another story by Sarkhorn Phoonsuk, the fellow I mentioned only the other day. She doubled it up with sending me her latest short story, ‘Pha-lee’.
So, what the heck. I took time out and read her story.
And then went to look for Khwamtai Khong Phrarn Maeng (Hunter Maeng’s death) in Chor Karrakeit 43. It’s 16 pages long, typed very small – something in the order of 6,000 words, so I didn’t bother to read it the first time around. I’ve started to read it – so far so kinky – but then decided it was time to burn some half-dry cuts of creepers (mission accomplished) and steam (with lemon, garlic, parsley and thyme – besides mash from last night) the huge pla thapthim (tilapia) I bought earlier – just about ready as I type this.
So, if you’ll excuse me…