marcel barang

Unsound in wind and limb

In English on 06/11/2009 at 10:48 pm


An early morning bout of migraine – quick, where are those Cafergot tablets? – is enough to upset your whole day, so you force yourself to shave and dress and go to the office across the river: it had been a week since I asked and then begged my techies to put two banners on a page of my website. They were, eventually, in late afternoon. Now anyone can link to my words of wisdom in and on, you guessed it, Thai literature and its translation, and the pains and joys of learning Thai. Across the road at Ban Phra Arthit there was a big PAD do this noon with press conference, free lunch and what not, so after a quick stroll and a few words here and there, I went to have khao man kai (rice, boiled chicken and soup) outside. Three hours later, as I went through the latest LRB, I was hungry again.

Maybe that migraine came from reading too late into the night a remarkable novel by Japanese writer Minaé Mizumura, Tarō, un vrai roman, published by Le Seuil six months ago. Minaé-san was one of the nine Asian writers invited at the Aix book feast. The book was kindly offered to me by its publisher, Anne Sastourné, who actually bought it from the stand with her own Euros. I didn’t expect it to be this captivating. I’ll finish reading it in a night or two and will write about it.

Or maybe that migraine came from a heavy dose of rewriting on screen of Book 3 of Four Reigns, progressing so fast – fifteen, twenty pages a day – I keep surprising myself. I am always amazed when I encounter whole pages translated word by word that need little or no reworking, which reinforces my opinion that written Thai is little different in structure from English or French, whatever others might claim.

Or maybe that migraine came from assessing on screen three short stories by Seksan Prasertkul a Thai publisher would like me to translate as a sample to be submitted to several foreign publishers met in Frankfurt who had expressed interest in a collection of the great man’s short stories. Even though Book 3 isn’t quite ready and Book 4 is waiting, since this is old Sek I must find the time to oblige…

Or maybe that migraine came from the howlers I found in the latest issue of Gavroche as I went through coffee and oats yesterday morning: that’s an issue I didn’t proofread, being away in Provence. On the other hand, a few pages were faultless, down to punctuation, which shows that the editor is definitely improving or has a few learned contributors.

Or maybe it was the change of weather, those two days of Chinese wind that sent the temperature dropping 4 degrees for a while, so that I had to take down a blanket for the night two nights ago. The same blanket proved useful in another way the next morning to capture a cock in the backyard and wrap it in it to take it back to the piece of waste land at the back where it came from. The silly creature had jumped over a hut next to my wall and somehow found itself in my backyard, where wall and fence were too high for it to fly back. It took a while to corner it and I felt like a torero with a cape, except that the idea was to capture the damn volatile. Said carpet needs washing now: a panicked cock’s shit is green and very liquid.

Or maybe it was all or none of the above. But writing about it isn’t really curative, so I’ll stop now. Goodnight all.


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