Sunday, 11 October 2015


It's been a funny old few weeks. Things haven't been quite right for some time now. In August I came back from France to land with a bump deep into a foul mood. The weather was colder and I went into denial about the summer ending. The children went back to school just a little bit too happily, which always makes me feel a tad inadequate as a parent. There were a few other bits and pieces that all collided to make life harder than it should be. I've had a couple of times when I even became the scary tearful lady for no particular reason - I guess you need to take yourself away from public view when random strangers ask if you are OK. Apart from anything else, I was desperately impatient for my translation course to start, and then it did start and the Fear began. A course where you put all your work online for all the world to see... the dilemma: do you go first, at the risk that if you've got the wrong end of the stick, everyone will know what an idiot you are? Or do you wait to see what everyone else has done, only to find that somebody else has made the one good point you had in your head, and you've got nothing else intelligent to say? The Fear of finding that every time you sit down for an hour with your translation theory textbook, you nod off. There have been a couple of moments when I really didn't understand a word that people were saying and I've felt like jacking it all in, but eventually I realised it was a Good Thing that it was all online and nobody could spot me despairing and googling "collocation" and "calque" so that I could catch up. And it's doubly a Good Thing because, just as others can look at the rubbish I've cobbled together and bluffed, and pass their judgement, so can I with their work, and actually mine's not too bad. Maybe my brain isn't smaller than theirs after all.

Fast forward a week or two and it's better. When I was last in the world of academia, more years ago than I can believe, beers and boys got in the way a little too often and the work was a side issue, something dull that you just had to do every so often, a bit like cleaning your teeth and eating breakfast. So it's very strange now to really look forward to the next assignment being posted online, and there's nothing lovelier than curling up on the sofa before bedtime, pondering the perfect turn of phrase, or considering whether you can quote Schleiermacher in your next work. This is turning into my idea of relaxation. Maybe I've turned into a geek.

And oddly, after weeks of fighting the weather, of wearing sandals way longer than was sensible, of sunning myself whenever possible with a textbook in my hand, in the hope of charging those batteries up as much as possible before it was too late, I find myself today finally ready to welcome the autumn. The first family foray out into proper autumnal scenes, and actually, I'd forgotten that I rather like it.

I can do it.