marcel barang

One more nail in my coffin

In English, Reading matters on 27/01/2011 at 11:04 pm

Last Saturday night I forgot to sleep out of despondency.
To the fact that my e-books hardly sell at all and to the curses put on Four Reigns and Thutiyawiseit – nine months and six to seven months of work down the drain – , the TVThai treatment added another straw onto my camel’s back: from what others tell me, TVThai seems to be in the habit of playing fast and loose with interviews. Mine was obtained under false pretence, as a guest to the Sin Samosorn (Art Club) half-hour midday program. Instead I was apparently allotted a couple of minutes on an evening ‘entertainment’ program, without my being informed beforehand. I had made it a condition to be able to talk, beside translation mores, about what happened over the above-mentioned two books: reportedly, not a word of that was broadcast. I was promised a video of the whole exercise – someone who has been there before told me, ‘Don’t count on it or be prepared for hassles!’
To add to the gloom, the Bangkok Post’s revamped, shrunken supplements do not augur well for the pursuit of my contributions. I’m told the refurbished Brunch broadsheet will carry another short story soon. I wonder what this will look like, especially with the accompanying article about the author that is such an informative (and lengthy) complement: in the current format, the story alone would run over at least four pages…
The story in question, ‘A year and a half later’ by Jamlong Fangchonlajit, has been with the Post since I translated it in October 2008. Only 1 900 words long, it is one of the shortest I’ve ever translated. Isn’t its length the main reason why it has suddenly found favour?
The problem is that good very short stories are extremely hard to find – no Saki here that I know of. Most are in the 2 000/4 000 words bracket (as Outlook used to carry); some are even longer. So what does this portend?

I wrote the above before dinner, about an hour ago.

An email at 21:21 informs me that in its mercantile wisdom the management of the Bangkok Post has decided to discontinue the publication of translated Thai short stories. The Jamlong story will come out in the Life section (not Brunch) as usual on the first Monday of next month, 7 February – the thirtieth and last.
I’m glad for Khun Jamlong, saved by the gong.
And I’m going to bed groggy, as last night, for a variety of reasons, I forgot to sleep yet again.

Goodnight all.


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