Thursday, 23 July 2009

Getting older - ach Happiness!

There's no avoiding it, I'm getting older. As they say it's better than the alternative, but it's also not easy to change to grow older, slower, wiser (perhaps!), faster too at some things. Interestingly older translators are often better due to simply knowing the job and work, I think I'm not quite old enough to have reached that echelon but I am nevertheless old enough to be getting older - if you see what I mean. I experience the problems but not yet the benefits!
For my birthday earlier this month a friend gave me Ach Glück by Monika Maron.
In 1987, when she was probably younger than I am now I heard Maron give a public reading from one of her works at the East Berlin Kirchentag. She moved to the West just a year before the wall came down. I haven't read the book yet but it seems from the blurb to be about the limitedness of human life. I wonder how I shall like it once I make the time to read it. I also wonder about how I shall reflect on a book which is about how we can only do some things we want to do and link that to Grace Jantzen's ideas of us being natals rather than mortals.
What would a novel of the endless birth of life look like I wonder, would I ever be able to write a hopeful novel of that kind? Or would I too be more drawn to how mortal our existence is, how short and limited life is if I wrote fiction? I hope not, but I'm not sure I have enough imagination to dream up a novel of natality. Perhaps though in some ways Barbara Kingsolver's wonderful novel Prodigal Summer does that - even though she has probably never read Jantzen.
Of course some would say that as I preach I am already involved in the art of fiction, I would of course beg to differ. However one of the benefits of getting older is knowing how to avoid pointless arguments or confrontations on such pointless subjects and concentrate at least part of the time on what you want to do. Let's tell stories that build trust, confidence and life.