Back in May, when we were still locked down, and RAI, the Italian television, was making an effort, I happened to see a long interview with playwright/director Alessandro Serra about his Macbettu – a translation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth in Sardinian dialect. Continue reading
Yes, yes – in the end I found it.
We talked about that quote of Bernard Malamud, didn’t we? The one about stories, stories, stories, the one I was sure I’d jotted down and never found again – not in old notebooks, not in the Web… That one.
Well, as was bound to happen, I found it in the end. Continue reading
It has occurred to me that there is another thing that I do all the time – beside narrating and/or staging things in my head.
Well, maybe not so much in everyday conversation – although I’ve been known to do that as well – but books, films, television, lectures… I seem to possess a special squad of neurons in my brain, on constant translating alert. Continue reading
Let me tell you a story. Do you remember Ugo Foscolo and his Salamini/Little Sausages? Do you remember as both I and my friend Dave in the comments wondered how on earth could he have made such a tragedy-killing blunder?
Well, it may be that I know just how… Continue reading
I remember once being given a writing assignment in which I had to list seven meaningful colours, and write about them… How very fun, was my first reaction – only to find myself hopelessly bogged down as soon as I tried.
I could attach no particular meaning to any one colour – say orange or blue – let alone seven… Continue reading
I can’t remember right now whether it is in a letter or in one of the novels (Villette, maybe?) – but at some point Charlotte Brontë, either directly or through one of her French-studying heroines, bemoans the fact that English has no exact correspondence for the French word éffleurer… Continue reading
I’m working on a translation project.
Not an extremely huge one – but one I’ve been dreaming about for some time, and of a sort that makes me quake a little. I know I’ve claimed again and again to have no faith in literary translation, but this… well, this is different.
Theatre. Elizabethan. Complicated… Continue reading
Well, I write in my second language and Joseph Conrad is one of my literary heroes, and whenever I approach a new language, I can’t wait to play games with it, to use it, to tell stories: the article just beckoned – and thank you, D.
Did I find it interesting? Very. Do I agree with Palmer’s view of the matter? Not entirely. Or perhaps, not that much, considering that I can subscribe to two and a half out of her five points… Continue reading
Now this is rather different.
Back in 2003, in Ferrara, the Mahler Chamber Orchestra and the Swedish Radio Choir held a curious concert. Grigorij Kozintsev‘s 1970 Russian King Lear was shown on a screen, while the orchestra, conducted by Claudio Abbado, performed a combination of Shostakovich‘s soundtrack and incidental music for a 1940 production of the play. Continue reading
Because I like an artificial deadline just as well as the next writer, I embarked on my own version of NaNoWriMo. More like NaNoReMo, because I intend to wrap up my second draft by the end of the month – and I know there is a thing called NaNoReMo, and it’s not in November, but never mind.
I embarked on it with the best of intentions and, one day in, I took it into my head to behead my novel. To cut the first three chapters, and start nearly two years later.
Oh, it does make sense – but I’m still reeling a little under the shock of the amputation… Besides, the first two days of November are holidays over here – meaning relatives and guests and family dinners, and graves to tend, and precious little time for writing…
Oh well, I told myself, I’m 2200 words behind, what with one thing and another – but never fear. I’m going to recover, starting tomorrow, ain’t I?
And right then the phone rings, and it is a local director asking do I have something small, and Christmassy – with children in it – something they can have ready by the middle of December?
And clearly I have maggots in my head, because instead of telling her that no, I’m sorry, and thank you for thinking of me – but no… what do I do? I hear myself say that why, yes – I have just the thing, only it’s in English, so I’ll need a few days to translate it…
I know, I know. I’m hopeless.
So last night I sat up very, very late, and translated like mad, and will do the same tonight, and try to follow my second-draft road map while sorting through the consequences of the beheading, and hope the local historian doesn’t turn up with his next chapter just now, and rehearse how to say “No. No. No, thank you. No. No. No. No…”
I’ll let you know.