Meanwhile, back at the ranch – I was honestly going to post this last night as soon as I finished it, but sometime between when I started writing the entry and when I finished it, the server apparently took a dive. No ftp, no site access, no e-mail, nada. It was past my bedtime, so I waited around for ten minutes and then gave up in disgust. I find it highly ironic that the one time I resolve to post as soon as I am finished, the server goes down. Perhaps this is a sign. At any rate, here is the entry with nothing changed, not even the date.
It’s been quite some time since I’ve written an entry, so I’m going to do something that I don’t usually do—I’m just going to start writing without any real idea of what I’m writing about, and I’m going to post it when I’m finished. No letting it sit around for days, no refining or polishing, just raw writing. No guarantees on how this is going to turn out, either. Hopefully it will at least be mildly interesting.
I do have an idea for an entry that I’m practically bursting to write, but it’s going to require a bit more research, and it’s not something I’m going to be able to write and post in a day. I am fully aware that my millions of readers (cough) are salivating at the thought of my next entry, so I feel I should get something done today. Of course, the image of millions of people salivating might put me off my game somewhat, but I’ll give it my best shot.
I’ve had plenty to think about lately, but most of that has been drowned out by the overwhelming heat of summer. The rainy season ended rather abruptly this year (unlike last year, when it dragged on like a physics lecture) and the sun returned with a vengeance. At first I was glad to see the great yellow orb, and smiled at it like an old friend. I guess I shouldn’t have encouraged it—last week temperatures climbed into the 30s. Add the wonderful humidity of Korean summer and you’ve got yourself a steam bath. It’s not as bad out here as it is in the “concrete jungle” of Seoul, as I was telling a friend who recently had the misfortune of moving into said concrete jungle. At least out here it cools down at night.
We were expecting a typhoon over the weekend. Typhoons are never really good news, since they come during the late summer months and thus wreak havoc on the ripening crops, but we were looking forward to getting some rain. The weekend has come and gone, though, and no rain. Apparently, the typhoon gave us a miss and headed off to other regions where there were more crops to destroy. It has been cloudy, though. While not as nice as rain, the clouds have offered some relief from the relentless rays of the sun.
Well, this is going swimmingly. I’ve just spent two paragraphs talking about the weather, and I’m sure my readership is now down into the hundreds of thousands. In other news, I have decided that I am not going to publish Mansejeon (the translation I mentioned in my last entry) after all. I had been pretty adamant about getting it published, but the Translation Institute people didn’t seem to be falling over themselves to set the wheels in motion when I mentioned it. It was a vibe, really—not that they were against me publishing it, of course, but they also weren’t enthusiastic about it.
Then my wife said that she didn’t think publishing it at this point was the best idea. She didn’t feel that Mansejeon was the ideal choice for my “debut,” and it’s difficult to argue with that. Not that the work isn’t interesting, but it will probably not appeal to a very broad audience. The interesting part about what my wife said, though, was that she didn’t say I shouldn’t publish it at all. In fact, she said something along the lines of, “Start with something else that might be a little more appealing to a general audience, and then when you become well known as a translator you can publish it and stand a better chance at succeeding.”
I have written before about my wife’s trust in me, but I must admit that I don’t know if I’ll ever get used to it—to the matter-of-fact view she takes of our future. For her it is not a question of if I will become a well-known translator, it is only a question of when. I wish I could have the same confidence. Instead, I am plagued by doubts.
It’s odd, really, because I am an intensely proud person, even arrogant at times. I am a good translator. I’m still relatively new at this, especially literary translation, and I know that I still have much to learn, but I also know that I have what it takes to succeed. I also know that the opportunities for me to succeed are there, and I’m pretty sure I want to succeed. This gives me MOM: means, opportunity, and motive. So why am I afraid I will fail?
I must admit that I have had this fear of failure since I was a child. Maybe it was the high expectations everyone had for me, or maybe everyone has these dark, gnawing fears, but they just don’t talk about them. My biggest childhood fear was not a fear of darkness, or ghosts, or the faceless man in a trench coat who used to haunt my dreams. My biggest (and, incidentally, vaguest) fear was that I would somehow not be able to handle the adult world. I suppose that had something to do with being the eldest child and all the responsibility that goes along with that. I was expected to be the man of the family, or at least a miniature man of the family.
As a child, though, I always had that as an excuse. If I couldn’t hack something, well, that was to be expected. After all, I was still just a kid. As I grew older, though, I couldn’t shake the fear that there would come a point in my life where I just wouldn’t be able to handle the world. Actually becoming an adult and realizing that adults are nothing more than large children didn’t help matters any.
I’ve faced some difficult times, and every success gives me more confidence that I can handle the world. I have never been able to fully leave the shackles of doubt behind, though, and a small part of me is just waiting for that thing, that event to happen that will just be the end of me. Am I strong enough to handle whatever life throws at me? I said that I’ve faced some difficult times, but things could have been a lot worse. In many ways, I’ve had it easy. At least, that’s what my fear tells me: “You haven’t seen anything yet. You think those were tough times you went through? Just wait until something really bad happens. You’ll collapse like a house of cards in a hurricane.”
My friend David has demons named after Simpsons characters. I don’t have a name for my fear. I don’t have a name for it because it is hard for me to separate it from myself and look at it objectively. It may seem like I am doing that right now, but my fear is laughing at me even as I write this. It’s actually kind of pissing me off, to be honest. I suppose that’s an improvement—I guess it’s better to be pissed off by fear rather than frightened by it.
I think that’s going to be it for today. Not much, I know, and maybe it’s a bit of an odd place to stop, but I feel like I have reached a stopping point. Besides, it is approaching my bedtime and I’m getting a little tired, and if I keep writing I’ll end up really embarrassing myself (as if that’s ever stopped me before). Most importantly, though, I want to give this a quick read through for spelling and grammar (grammar mostly, since Word is nice enough to draw red squiggly lines under misspelled words) and then put it online, per my promise at the beginning of the entry. So, until next time, good night.