The Boatist

Sailboat Ownership, Translation Work and Tales of Minor Adventure

Retire early, be passionate, don't worry, die poor

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Death of a Writer

Hack translator kills writer for money!!!

After 17 years of working as a freelance translator, I've butchered any hope of becoming a writer.

I stopped writing a long time ago when a nagging voice began hinting that I would never be published. Over time that feeble voice became downright aggressive and, in the end, violent. "Stop dreaming and start living!" it shouted in my face.

That's what I did.
And so I became a farmer, a greenhouse builder, a student (for the second time), a tree planter, a Kerouac impersonator, a steel worker, a delivery driver, a lazy lay-around bohemian, an English teacher and, lastly, a translator.

Looking back, I now see that I would never have made it as a writer, ever. Simply because all I did was daydream about a writer's freedom to roam the world. It was my way of counteracting a teenager's frustration of being chained to a life of never-ending chores on a vegetable farm.



And I wanted to be a writer because during the frozen winter months I read books that stoked my imagination beyond repair. Yes, beyond repair. This is not a metaphor, I really crossed the border into a territory where roads never end and you never reach your destination. "Destination" is where the palm trees are perfect and naked girls cling to your legs as you walk along a golden beach.

WAKE UP!!!

But those dreams took me places and lured me into adventures and misadventures, wonderful times and nightmarish experiences. And here I am in Portugal...it's 10:40 a.m. and I'm writing this after having walked 6 km along the cliff-side road to the fort of Paimogo as the sun came up. It could have been worse.
Walking destination

Portuguese have a habit of saying "neither 8 nor 80." Why didn't somebody tell me this when I was growing up on the farm back in Canada.






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