I finished translating See Phaendin (Four Reigns) on Saturday evening – altogether some 350,000 words over the past six months (not counting various other bits and chunks along the way, for Seksan, Fa, Sondhi, the Post, whoever else). I printed the last book and spent the whole of Sunday reading it pen in hand and then entering the corrections in the computer file, which I sent that night to Khun Na in Australia, for her to check my translation against the original line by line. Her answer the next morning: too much work for now, so can you wait? (This goes for Book 2 and Book 3 as well, on her desk since last year).
I’ve been in the doldrums since then.
I had woken up with a sore throat that graduated to a runny nose, constant sneezing, headache, and migraine on top of it yesterday, plus fever plus gloom.
Quite simply, I’ve pushed myself a bit too hard, working too much, which means smoking too much and drinking too much, along with erratic sleeping patterns and sometimes strange self-rustled meals. So I’m paying for it. A slight drop in temperature and the bullied body can’t take the heat cold. Twice I postponed going over to the office to see the boss. I did so this morning. And am still sneezing, so ludicrously often and loud that I swear and laugh at myself by myself like a flea-bitten baboon in a cage.
I’ve cut down on fags and booze, taken appropriate leftover medicine, whiled away the hours with much reading (finishing that collection of Filipino short stories, reading again on a whim Don DeLillo’s White Noise, and much of Margaret Atwood’s Alias Grace) and – being who I am, out of sheer habit really – even translated a ’Rong Wongsawan short story, ‘Kleepkaeo’ (1959): the Bangkok Post wants something by him for the anniversary of his death or whatever journo excuse; this is the only one of workable length I have; I don’t like it particularly except for its ‘jazzy’ style and am not even sure that the prudish Post [which insisted on ‘f*****g’ in that Chart Korbjitti story the other day] will accept its immorality. It’s about a womanizer whose wife pays for his flings yet is humbled by one of his lays: great stuff for a fam’ly paper, what.
Now is the time to delve into Thai short stories again. And as soon as I feel strong enough, make those important phone calls the prospect of which has added depth to my depression. Go out and buy stuff (new glasses, more shelves for more books, perhaps another computer) and have a tooth pulled out: that pricey crown was too pricey to last long; when three dentists take care of one tooth, you can expect its demise in short order (what’s the saying again: too many dentist spoil a bridge?).
And finish writing my will.
Lo and behold: an invitation on Sunday 7 Feb in late afternoon to a function at Chulalongkorn University. Who by? The ML Bunluea Theipphayasuwan Fund! Did you whisper Thutiyawiseit? An ongoing saga (see ‘Growing pains (3)’ and ‘Taking stock’).
I’ve been a subscriber to the Bangkok Post, on, off and on again, for many years, and I often reflect with admiration on the wonder of having it delivered every single day (around 5:30 am) to my door, whether in the buff or rolled in a plastic sheet when it rains.
This morning, I had a surprise: what was rolled inside the blue box was its sister publication in Thai. I called the subscription department to inform them of the snafu. Sorry, sir, we’ll have the Post delivered to you in the early afternoon. No big deal.
Some time after 2pm, the usual biker came by, apologising profusely, explaining that this morning the presses were late (?!), handed me a copy of the Post and left.
It was yesterday’s copy.