Monday, October 31, 2011

En un pueblo de la Mancha...

I am currently reading Don Quixote, in translation for my Spanish is no longer up to dealing with the variant in use at the time of Shakespeare. Once it may have been, for I lived in Spain and was, for a time, fluent in the language. But that's now in the past.

The version I'm reading is a recent translation from 2009 by Edith Grossman, someone known for her translations of Latin American, rather than Spanish, literature. As the editorial review states: " honest, robust...Quixote for our times."

I've been drawn to the character of Don Quixote all my life, at least since I first encountered him. A long time ago, and far away, I had a VAXstation with the name DonQ. The company I worked for, Digital Equipment, had a world-wide network of computers before the world-wide-web was available. Each computer on the Easynet (as it was known) had a unique name - limited in the number of characters you could use.

I was unable to name my computer "Don Quixote" because of that. It's possible even "Quixote" was too long. Memory no longer delivers the details as it once did.

The idea of this madman wandering the world, seeing differently to all around him, has a definite appeal. Even knowing that the man was indeed mad, and the world was not as he saw it, does not take away - for me - from the appeal. Perhaps a quixotic view in and of itself.

It doesn't hurt that the book is regarded as the first modern novel and the finest, and last, of the very novel type Cervantes set out to satirize. There's something particularly elegant about that - which also appeals.

The image above is a Picasso - a print, you understand. It hangs on the wall of the office in which I do much of my writing. For a while it was the wallpaper on one of my smartphones.

Speaking of writing...I'm getting prepared for NaNoWriMo 2011. Prepared, or panicking. One of the two.

I've made sure I have sufficient writing pads for my words and ink for my fountain pen. This year I'm taking my Sheaffer Valor for a run across 50,000 words in 30 days. I have plenty of ink, and I may need it. In testing the pen this evening, I discovered it lays down ink quite generously. There'll be some bleeding through the page - and not just the writer bleeding red as he scrambles to the finish line.

There's still more work to do on my outline so I have an idea that will last through the 1,667 words per day. I'm certain the story's there, but I'd best have some basic bones in place on which to hang the meat of the tale.

To all engaged in this madcap endeavor, I say "Buena Suerte". It's a quixotic kind of adventure, no?


  1. I admit I have never read Don Quixote but the way you describe it I feel I should! I love reading your thoughts on these subjects on any subject actually you always make it sound so interesting whether it a novel, a pen or just an idea!

    Good luck for Nano I have never done Nano and was going to commit this year, but I thought I should spend the time doing edits to the novel I've already written - next year maybe. ^__^


  2. Buena suerte! Yes, quixotic...or chaotic. :) Your mantra - pacing, pacing, pacing!

  3. @Helen - if you get the opportunity, do read Don Quixote. I suspect you will enjoy it. Thanks for the good wishes for NaNo - it is a blast. Here's a thought, if you do NaNo this year, after a month you will have two novels ready and awaiting your editor's pen. :-)

    @Laura - Chaotic, I believe, captures it. As to pacing...meh! :D