Monthly Archives: August 2016

Allons voir comment je vais y aller — updated (yet more) (and more)

Le plan:

What is left: 316 syllabus TWEAK and tweak Moodle site, 202 syllabus TWEAK and both of its websites, arborist, door-maker, Gary, vita, two bureaucratic documents (teaching and administration), student papers. New next week: 462 lecture Monday, contact LASA people Monday, restart article writing Tuesday, continue article, LASA, LHA Wednesday, Thursday, Friday…and weekend, all the way up to write on site Tuesday.

Further strategy: 10 minutes a day on the scary projects. These are the bureaucratic documents, the vita, and the old student papers.

What I learned: do it with health and love and without pressure, and do not take on any new service or recreation undertaken out of duty. (I turned down two individual study proposals last week, which was very good.)

The meaning of it all: “a los estudiantes dales tu talento, pero no tu brillantez” (as someone told me once long ago).


Work on LASA even though the syllabi need more work. Finish the syllabus for Spanish 202. The websites, all of them, for Spanish 202 need real work and the 316 iLRN website has to be set up still. I will remember these things and work on them as I work on the paper syllabi. I will keep working on LASA in the evening. (This really needs to be done.) Monday’s research happened, but otherwise all I did was teach. I am behind.


I will finish the syllabus for Spanish 316 and finish the LASA thing, I really hope (if I have not done so already).  I will make sure the 202 syllabus and websites are finished. I will chase down an arborist and my door-maker. I started the syllabus for Spanish 316 and did other work and home related things, but did not accomplish all of this by a long shot. I also got up late and only spent five hours in the office. I am further behind.


I will teach, and work out between classes. I will finish anything from above that is not finished so far. All I did was teach.


There is someone in L.A. I must call. I must finish work on my vita and two bureaucratic documents, and on student papers I have not finished commenting upon.  I am depressed because I am so behind. But now I am elated because I crossed some things off — and I have two weekend days in which to cross off more.

Monday 29

Write the second lecture for Spanish 462.

Tuesday 30

Write on site: new article.


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Don Quixote

I have an idea for a course on Spanish literature: books that talk about the book industry. Help me make the syllabus, yes?

Meanwhile, everyone should reread the Quixote, for the language. Here is a piece of it.

Sucedió, pues, que yendo por una calle alzó los ojos don Quijote y vio escrito sobre una puerta, con letras muy grandes: «Aquí se imprimen libros», de lo que se contentó mucho, porque hasta entonces no había visto emprenta alguna y deseaba saber cómo fuese. Entró dentro, con todo su acompañamiento, y vio tirar en una parte, corregir en otra, componer en esta, enmendar en aquella, y, finalmente, toda aquella máquina que en las emprentas grandes se muestra. Llegábase don Quijote a un cajón y preguntaba qué era aquello que allí se hacía; dábanle cuenta los oficiales; admirábase y pasaba adelante. Llegó en esto a uno y preguntóle qué era lo que hacía. El oficial le respondió:

—Señor, este caballero que aquí está —y enseñóle a un hombre de muy buen talle y parecer y de alguna gravedad— ha traducido un libro toscano en nuestra lengua castellana, y estoyle yo componiendo, para darle a la estampa.

—¿Qué título tiene el libro? —preguntó don Quijote.

A lo que el autor respondió:

—Señor, el libro, en toscano, se llama Le bagatele.

—¿Y qué responde le bagatele en nuestro castellano? —preguntó don Quijote.

Le bagatele57 —dijo el autor— es como si en castellano dijésemos ‘los juguetes’; y aunque este libro es en el nombre humilde, contiene y encierra en sí cosas muy buenas y sustanciales.

—Yo —dijo don Quijote— sé algún tanto del toscano y me precio de cantar algunas estancias del Ariosto. Pero dígame vuesa merced, señor mío, y no digo esto porque quiero examinar el ingenio de vuestra merced, sino por curiosidad no más: ¿ha hallado en su escritura alguna vez nombrar piñata?

—Sí, muchas veces —respondió el autor.

—¿Y cómo la traduce vuestra merced en castellano? —preguntó don Quijote.

—¿Cómo la había de traducir —replicó el autor— sino diciendo ‘olla’?

—¡Cuerpo de tal —dijo don Quijote—, y qué adelante está vuesa merced en el toscano idioma! Yo apostaré una buena apuesta que adonde diga en el toscanopiache, dice vuesa merced en el castellano ‘place’, y adonde diga più dice ‘más’, y el su declara con ‘arriba’ y el giù con ‘abajo’.

—Sí declaro, por cierto —dijo el autor—, porque esas son sus propias correspondencias.

—Osaré yo jurar —dijo don Quijote— que no es vuesa merced conocido en el ¡Qué de habilidades hay perdidas por ahí! ¡Qué de ingenios arrinconados! ¡Qué de virtudes menospreciadas! Pero, con todo esto, me parece que el traducir de una lengua en otra, como no sea de las reinas de las lenguas, griega y latina, es como quien mira los tapices flamencos por el revés, que aunque se veen las figuras, son llenas de hilos que las escurecen y no se veen con la lisura y tez de la haz; y el traducir de lenguas fáciles ni arguye ingenio ni elocución, como no le arguye el que traslada ni el que copia un papel de otro papel. Y no por esto quiero inferir que no sea loable este ejercicio del traducir, porque en otras cosas peores se podría ocupar el hombre y que menos provecho le trujesen. Fuera desta cuenta van los dos famosos traductores: el uno el doctor Cristóbal de Figueroa, en su Pastor Fido61, y el otro don Juan de Jáurigui, en su Aminta, donde felizmente ponen en duda cuál es la tradución o cuál el original. Pero dígame vuestra merced: este libro ¿imprímese por su cuenta o tiene ya vendido el privilegio a algún librero?


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Des mots, ou les mots et les idées

I am reading translation theory for class and catching my breath. These were my original research questions, when I was a child. The reasons I studied the things I did. Not the relationship between words and things, but words and thoughts, and the way in which language produces or conditions perception.


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At the gym, I was watching television while rowing. On the show, the daughter told her mother, “I am so tired of you always expecting the worst of me!” And I realized that was it. There are so many factors. I love two-year-olds because I was adored at that age as well, but when I became more independent I also came under suspicion. That is one of the things.

In graduate school, I did not understand why the more advanced we got the less we were trusted to be competent. A friend explained recently that it was because in fact people do reach the limits of their abilities in that trajectory, and the faculty was waiting to see who would next fall.

Other examples of expecting the worst are the exhortations to save time which assume one plans to waste it, and the demands to rush, which assume one is inefficient. (Tips on how to avoid drudgery are one thing, but the insistence on tight scheduling and on goading oneself with timers, for instance, are quite another.) One of my friends in graduate school used the ten minutes between classes to grade papers, but I would use them to look at the trees and hills. This did not delay me, and it gave me clear eyes.

Writing advice also appears to be driven by negative expectations. You are not capable of thought, interested in research, or good at writing, but you must produce something. This is where the love of timers and goads seems to come from. I have been collaborating with a colleague who lacks motivation and it is a revelation seeing how they work (that is, do not work). They are known and liked for their flexible affability and for not having an axe to grind, but the facts turn out to be that they lacks the information needed to form an opinion, and the motivation to get this information. They live in another world.

Today I will start with research where I left off Tuesday. I will touch and breathe life into the books I have not been touching, and that seem stagnant for that reason. In teaching as well I will take power and reduce drudgery. I will not say to myself the things I say without realizing it, that I say because they were said to me.

“We do not love you or trust you and you should not love or trust yourself.” “You are making things up.” “You are powerless against us, and no-one will believe you.” “Life should not be treated with love.”


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A schedule PROBLEM

Update 2: This schedule, even in its revised version, is punitive and I have been unable to work efficiently since I made it. Why is it not all right to just do as we did in college and graduate school, which was work at school as you would a job? Why are we exhorted to mistrust ourselves from the dissertation forward, told to rush and to “save time?” These exhortations make me claustrophobic and all I can think about is how to get away, or how to resist the impulse to get in the car and drive west.

As part of scheduling office hours and deciding when I will be available by appointment, I made a 60-hour, 5-day per week schedule for myself. What I learned was that even planning on the basis of a 12-hour day, it is hard to find free time. I scheduled:

23 18 hours of  research and writing. This is the most I would be able to do in a week of 12-hour days, and it will be cut into by routine medical appointments, routine home maintenance appointments, and routine faculty meetings, as well as reading for courses at times. Therefore nothing else can be scheduled during these hours. I am contractually expected to spend 12 hours a week on research and writing and for good reason I believe I must plan to protect 23 18 hours if I am to make sure I get my 12.

⊕ 12 hours of classes. I am teaching an overload, as proactive self-protection from coerced individual study: all the people I would normally be required to tutor in individual courses are required to be in a course together, on one topic, that will at least show on my record and enable me to argue that we do in fact need another position if we are to meet student needs / give the courses they need to make timely progress to degree.

⊕ 9 hours of office hours and standing student meetings, during which time I will also do some course preparation.

⊕ 9 hours of other standing meetings, some of which are for university committees and some of which are for outside activities — but which are standing.

⊕ 1 hour in which I am available by appointment.

⊕ 6 hours of lunch, breaks, and transit, during which I cannot be available.

This schedule involves rising at 5 AM. It involves working out in the evening every day but Thursday. It involves gardening Friday evenings. It involves grading on Saturdays. It could involve writing on Saturday night. It should involve excursions on Sundays, which could be out-of-town library excursions or not.

It involves having many groceries in the house that allow for simple meal preparation, and/or cooking in large quantities so as to have planned leftovers. It involves not letting anyone else waste any of my time, and even so, I do note that one must struggle and be economical to even get a 40-hour week, let alone my planned 50-to-60 hour one.

Finally, I want to say that I do not like the numbers 41-59. I would prefer to work 40 hours or fewer (the leisurely schedule) or 60 or more (the exciting one). To work between 41 and 59 hours is a sign of drudgery, I think, and I think that any time above 40 hours should be put to research.

Update 1: This schedule must be revised. I refuse to get up at five, or in the dark. I am willing to get up when civil twilight starts, which is before sunrise (I believe that might be dawn or “first light”). But not before. That means I will cut research and writing to 18 and then to 12, and replace that time with recreation chosen by me. This recreation will support research and writing and rest my mind from the issues related to teaching intermediate language courses.



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La psychanalyse

Mais c’est si clair. I feel guilty and nervous about doing work because I know I will be interrupted as soon as I really start.

It all had to do with the self serving agenda of others. “Your work is just play, and you will see that relatively soon. Your real role is to serve me, and I am also the only one who can and will support you when your work becomes serious and you are sidelined from it. Serving me, not becoming expert at something that challenges me, is your first and only real duty — and everyone else already knows it is all you are capable of.”

This is why I feel people have a right to disrupt work. It is also why I do not like to start work — if I start, I will continue, and if I continue, I will experience a very great violation to get me to stop. To avoid repeating this experience of violation, it is best not to start.


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Miguel de Cervantes

“It appears to me,” said Don Quixote, “that translating from one language into another . . . is like gazing at a Flemish tapestry with the wrong side out: even though the figures are visible, they are full of threads that obscure the view and are not bright and smooth as when seen from the other side.”


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Alan Mills

A great and new to me Guatemalan poet. Ricosabrosodeliciosoyexquisito. It is the tenth anniversary of my move to WordPress, and I have no readers left because weblogs are passé, but we will sing.

lo escupo así pelado y sin pelos en la lengua, quién dijo miedo atrás de un palo, se los dejo ir así nomás porque ya no iba a soportar ningún encierro, ni alegrón de burro, “humillación” es una melodía que ya no me gusta, shic, shicsabros, xicsabrosdelicios, shicsabrosdeliciosquisit, qué xic, ay qué shique, qué shic tu mic, xic tu cul, shic tu pus, tu cuc mamit, shic tu chich, ay, “mi shumita de oro” me llamaste, remedabas mi habla, lengua torciéndose en ampollas cuando intenta tu Castilla, me soplaste a la oreja tantos avernos y sueros alcohólicos, risa y risa, puras burlas sos, la pura gana de chingarme, típico mal del hijo del sol, Tonatiú pisado, canchón de río, rubio por gusto, sin alcurnia ni linaje ni nobleza ni nada, por eso lo que te gusta es transar, ser amigo de los más malvados y peludos, xic, así andás mostrando el sombrero o el grillo de coca y ese es todo el orgullo que va a poder nacerte de tu enfermedad, sombrerudo mierda, shic decís, shictuchich decís con baba escurriendo en mi espalda y mis sentaderas, xicsabros y pura baba, te reís, remedás mi hablado, te cagan de risa los ancestros en mi sangre, shictumic, purO burla le das a mis decires, mi mala Castilla, shicdelicios, pero ahí te gusta estar, ahí bien apunuscado entre mi pusite xicsabros y los pelos, el aroma a camarón, sí, te sentís gallito por tus cuates, maldición del monte, pero conmigo sos otra cosa, por ratos te portás manso, mientras voy olvidando todo lo que perdí en la aldea, desde los animales hasta los aparecidos, hasta los desaparecidos con los que sigo hablando, sí, me siento valiente por ratos, shic, por ratos sí y por ratos no, pero tengo más huevos que vos, canchito pisado, shictuculmamit, xicsabros, y la metías bien duro, trababas los ojos como yegua y pateaste todo el recuerdo de mi familia, ay, no te dan vergüenza esos dientes, tan shucos, amarillos, amazorcados y llenos de hoyo, es que ya ni planta de cuque tenés, ya nosos el soldadito mamado que conocí en el Parque Central, adonde andabas cazando, adonde me agarrarías en un día buena onda, porque los días que andabas mala onda con tus cuates se ponían a violar, se decían “juguemos trompo” y la onda era jalar a las indias y hacerlas dar vuelta sin el corte, a varias muchachas les tocó su shictucul masivo, las subían a un pick-up y hacías fila, me contaste, bolo, apestoso a cerveza, hacían fila y los excitaban los alaridos de angustia más el sudor de tu escuadra, ni el humor a guaro te hizo la idea de que eso no me lo tenías que contar a mí, en tu borrachera pensaste que risa me iba a dar, pero ya vas, para mí ya no valés nada, cuero malo y ladino, ya no me eriza el recuerdo de tu boina roja y tu emblema guerrero, ya ni siquiera le dan alegría a mi corazón los pensamientos con tu carita de chucho colorado, perro hambriento que moría encima de mí, te vi por un lado sacando la lengua, puro chucho, perro de la calle, shictucul, xictumic, shicsabrosdelicios, shictupusmamit

Poetry is sound, but this is also on video.


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A estas horas

Today I submitted an application for the PEN/Heim Translation Prize, in 18,000 words. Pachamama, Pallas Athena, Iansan, old father, all artificers, stand me now in good stead.


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“When you are in love, you want to live forever”

Quelqu’un a dit ça.

I, of course, almost always want to live forever.


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