Shailoh Phillips
REPORTING BACK FROM HOME
DOOR Federica Manzon
01-12-2008

I wanted to wait a few days to write these final words, in order to allow all the memories of encounters and experiences with people to sink in. But it did not go this way. Ever since my return, people have constantly been asking me if the Chronicles was a success. Since I work at a publishing house, I also get a lot of questions from so-called “experts” who carefully weigh my words.
If I try to talk about it briefly and lightheartedly, it makes me wonder if those days actually can be condensed into a few minutes. Chris’ notes – partially lost, but still part of his story. The question posed by a girl at the international school: “Isn’t it scary to be a writer?” I don’t even know if you ‘are’ are writer, or if it is something you ‘do’. Abdellah’s goodbye letter that I found out in front of my door in the rush to catch my plane, leaving The Hague still fast asleep in the snowy silence. The luncheons and dinners with the translators, who skillfully switch languages and always seem to understand what we say. Laia reading aloud from her novel on a concert stage, and her Dutch seems so much like German and English that I have the feeling I almost understand it. Then I realize that I cannot even recall everyone’s mother tongue. The only thing that counts here is the mixed language we use, which allows us to convey meanings and build relationships.
If they ask me in Italy what the very best part of the festival was, I give a decisive answer: the international atmosphere, the idea that it really is possible to transcend the borders of a single country, of a single language, not by losing your own identity, but by learning to live on the borders of other countries and languages. It reminds me of a book that I read in the University by a French author, more Parisian than all the Parisian authors put together, but born in Algeria*. He proposed that all really important things operate along the margins, on the borders of a territory, in the borderlands between languages or people, and never in the centre. This would seem to be the most important lesson I have learned at the Crossing Border event: the idea of a festival that mixes art and languages, expressions and nationalities, hereby creating something new. So if they ask me in Italy to sum up the best of the festival in the Netherlands in a single word, without hesitation I respond: “the mixture”. On a side note, when Barack Obama was asked what kind of dog he would chose for his daughters, the newly elected president was able to come up with an intelligent answer to a dimwitted question and said: “A mutt like me”.

Note from the translator:

* Jacques Derrida, Margins of Philosophy (1982)

Alle vertalingen van Shailoh Phillips
REPORTING BACK FROM HOME
01-12-08

I wanted to wait a few days to write these final words, in order to allow all the memories of encounters and experiences with people to sink in. But it did not go this way. Ever since my return, people have constantly been asking me if the Chronicles was a success. Since I work at a publishing house, I also get a lot of questions from so-called “experts” who carefully weigh my words.
If I try to talk about it briefly and lightheartedly, it makes me wonder if those days actually can be condensed into a few minutes. Chris’ notes – partially lost, but still part of his story. The question posed by a girl at the international school: “Isn’t it scary to be a writer?” I don’t even know if you ‘are’ are writer, or if it is something you ‘do’. Abdellah’s goodbye letter that I found out in front of my door in the rush to catch my plane, leaving The Hague still fast asleep in the snowy silence. The luncheons and dinners with the translators, who skillfully switch languages and always seem to understand what we say. Laia reading aloud from her novel on a concert stage, and her Dutch seems so much like German and English that I have the feeling I almost understand it. Then I realize that I cannot even recall everyone’s mother tongue. The only thing that counts here is the mixed language we use, which allows us to convey meanings and build relationships.
If they ask me in Italy what the very best part of the festival was, I give a decisive answer: the international atmosphere, the idea that it really is possible to transcend the borders of a single country, of a single language, not by losing your own identity, but by learning to live on the borders of other countries and languages. It reminds me of a book that I read in the University by a French author, more Parisian than all the Parisian authors put together, but born in Algeria*. He proposed that all really important things operate along the margins, on the borders of a territory, in the borderlands between languages or people, and never in the centre. This would seem to be the most important lesson I have learned at the Crossing Border event: the idea of a festival that mixes art and languages, expressions and nationalities, hereby creating something new. So if they ask me in Italy to sum up the best of the festival in the Netherlands in a single word, without hesitation I respond: “the mixture”. On a side note, when Barack Obama was asked what kind of dog he would chose for his daughters, the newly elected president was able to come up with an intelligent answer to a dimwitted question and said: “A mutt like me”.

Note from the translator:

* Jacques Derrida, Margins of Philosophy (1982)

COLUMN V
01-12-08

Thursday, 27 November 11:30 PM
Paris. Rue de Belleville. Home.
I love DBC Pierre.

Is DBC Pierre happy? Dark, as he calls it?

I did not know DBC Pierre. Until last Saturday. The last evening, the last moment at Crossing Border. Other people took me along to his performance. He entered. He climbed onto the stage, into my eyes. Right away I thought: “I love this man!”. He seemed sincere. He was not play acting. He was himself, with his troubled past completely exposed, reclaimed. With his scars, beautiful scars – not terrifying ones: I was not afraid. He drank beer. And he started talking. A voice from afar (from the grave?). A voice that has been through the mill, has awoken from a long sleep, continually falling and rising. He was a “badmouth”. He spoke in simple terms. He spoke about his life, about parts of his life. The chaotic, bizarre, hellish way to writing. England, Australia, Mexico. Tangier? Morocco? He didn’t mention these names, but I’m convinced that his universe perfectly fits the imagined strange country, the land of enchantment, the city William Burroughs called the “final destination of angels”.

DBC Pierre provided us with something more intimate that evening, almost boyish: his music. He played his music for the audience, his classics, his songs, all the while continuing his talk. His voice mingled beautifully, a lovely interplay with the sounds, the rhythms. Six days later I can no longer remember the music. DBC Pierre’s voice haunts me nonetheless.

This guy is blessed. At some point in his life, he fell into grace. Not the grace we think of right away, which is conventional or overly religious. Grace more like in a dream. As a poem by Fernando Pessoa. Melancholy. The grace that I sometimes read on the faces of the poor vagrants in the neighborhood I grew up in: Hay Salam in Sale. At night they would drink bottle after bottle of cheap wine, very cheap wine, while listening to the absolute diva of the Arabic world: Oum Kalthoum. I was not allowed to go near them. My mother told me that I, for one, had to be a good Muslim: do not drink, do not associate with evildoers… From a distance I loved them. And sometimes I went alone, or with my boyhood friends, to the place of their drinking session to empty the leftover bottles. That was dangerous. That was bliss.

Last Saturday DBC Pierre led me back to the unruly boys. Before society seized them so that they could be tamed, castrated. To make suitable men out of them, men without music.

The return to Paris was, as usual, difficult. After five days in The Hague, which were intense and in English, it is strange to go back to speaking French. Strange to be writing in French again.

I no longer know what language I think in.

I don’t drink. I don’t use drugs. (And still I’m not a good Muslim, at least not the kind that my mother dreamed of!) I swim in Parisian swimming pools. Two to three times a week. I fly. I cry out. I follow the others in the underground pathways. I see them naked.

Yesterday I went to see Steve McQueen’s first feature film. Hunger: Northern Ireland, 1981, Bobby Sands, the prison. It is a very beautiful film, a poetic, astounding film. Maybe even the best I’ve seen this year. The body as the last weapon of resistance. The body as I imagine DBC Pierre’s.

I dream of DBC Pierre.

I’m going to read him now.

REGARDING LITERARY COMMUNITIES
22-11-08

I thought I might be able to get away with avoiding the subject in the end, and not have to bore the readers of these lines with my reflections on writing and writers. For lunch today, however, we met with other writers and translators, making it inevitable to address the issue head-on. The complex matter seems to pop up of its own accord, and Helen asks us young writers if we see any merit in a literary community. Chris replies, and as he elaborates on the situation in England, I realize that in Italy, it is an entirely different matter altogether. So it may just be worth devoting a few words to this after all.

In Italy, I help organize a literary festival, and I am often invited to other similar events, which seem to be quite the rage. And yet when it’s all over, even if it was fantastic and all well organized, I’m left with the feeling that it was all for nothing. Instead of engaging in discussion with each other and swapping ideas, the writers survey each other warily, counting how many copies of their books have been sold, how many reviews have been written, and in how many languages they have been translated. All is left is a gathering of writers who spy on each other with envy and suspicion. They pretend that they are part of a literary community, but actually, they only want to get ahead of the rest, to conquer a portion of the market for themselves. That is why I would have answered Helen in the negative: I do not believe in the benefit of a literary network. A writer’s work should take place in private, in solitude, sheltered from the strain of encountering a fabricated community, or faire communauté, as Nancy would call it.

On second thought, however, allow me to take my words back. After a festival such as Crossing Border, I have to change my mind, because here you meet authors of different nationalities, who are actually interested in each other’s ideas and working methods, and are genuinely curious about each other’s work. So I do think that there is need for a literary community, but that it should be as broad as possible in order to be successful, at least of European proportions. This avoids it becoming a ‘family affair’, where everybody keeps tabs on each other, checking out who is there and not, and spreading rumours. Only then, will there truly be the opportunity to exchange thoughts and to have fun.

Now is the time: it is time for what is perhaps a naïve notion, which has been floating through my mind ever since I arrived in the Netherlands. Perhaps you thought you would be able to escape it. I will keep it brief. If young writers attend a festival in Italy, they are viewed in two ways: disdainfully and suspiciously if their book actually does sell, and indifferently if it does not. When it is all over, the young writer goes back home downcast and discouraged, grumbling about the world of literature and publishing, having learned nothing. With events such as Crossing Border, however, the young writer is swept up in all kinds of unexpected things. The translators take the nuances of the writing style and use of language seriously, and the writers can talk with them and compare notes. The other writers are generally curious and interested, and they can share their experiences without reserve; the organization is well prepared and wildly enthusiastic. In this case, the young writers go back home with a ton of new ideas, delighted by the pleasant days spent together and the many things they have done, in the end somewhat less autistic and lonely than before. Probably, at least I would like to believe so, they will even write better than ever.

WRITERS IN THEIR OWN RIGHT
21-11-08

Yesterday, I ended with the promise to tell about my experience of meeting other young writers. I suppose I should probably pick up where I left off, but so much has cropped up in the meanwhile. I have to push on and keep up with the times, so I’ll give you a rain check for the story on the young writers (which you might find quite dull anyhow).
This morning we visited the Peace Palace, a monumental and solemn place, oozing tradition and decorum from its pores. It is a composite construction pieced together with materials from different countries: Italian marble, German iron and American wood. In a certain way, I see the hidden meaning of our time here comprised in this building: a mélange of identities and differences, of musicians and writers, of artists from various places all wandering around the city, meeting, chitchatting, exchanging ideas, and (even if it’s only for a fleeting moment) creating something together.
In an official, elegant chamber, we listened to a translator telling about his work. This translator works with documents and official case files, which don’t really count as literature. Nevertheless, perhaps for this very reason, some of the things he said made even more of an impression on me. In reply to Liesbeth’s question about what makes a good translation or a good translator, he listed some very serious and objective rules, only to finally close with the statement: “A good translator is someone who can write well in his mother tongue.” So that would be someone who, in turn, is a bit of a writer in their own right. Whether it pertains to a literary text or a court case, it all about this (perhaps innate) gift.
As we leave the building, a strong wind kicks in. Snow is on the way. I plunge back into the depths of my coat, taking in what the others have to say about the talk, while also following my own train of thought, triggered by the translator’s words. It’s only now that I have an epiphany, which is quite charming in its simplicity: if we hand over a text for translation, we place in the hands of another author who, by translating it, in turn also becomes a writer. I’m thinking about the questions Liesbeth asked me at the breakfast table about a few phrases from my text. Her hesitation about the right choice of words caused me to stumble upon hidden riches and nuances in my own language, which I had never even noticed before. They suddenly gave me a heightened awareness of the weight of each single word, of all its possible connotations.
But now I run the risk of making my story too sober and a bit dry.
I’d like to close with one of Abdellah’s lovely observations. Walking next to me as we leave the Peace Palace, he says: “Have you noticed?” Translators will ask all kinds of questions about their line work, but writers never really talk about writing.”
I’ve noticed that this is quite true. I’ve no clue how Abdellah, Chris or Laia think about it. But I always shy away from talking about my own work, as I don’t want to strut around with it. Even if I’m invited for festivals and presentations in Italy, if people ask what I do, I will often say: “I’m an editor.” Never: “I’m a writer.” Maybe I’m a bit ashamed, as writing still seems to be for the privileged few who have nothing better to do, and then there’s the reward of getting published even though I’ve done nothing extraordinary to deserve it. Or maybe I’m bashful about being a writer, in the way you are bashful about the most hidden part of yourself, that you are most attached to and try to protect from probing eyes. Maybe that’s why translators can talk about their own work and writers can’t. Maybe writers, after having written, just have nothing left to say.

COLUMN III
21-11-08

Thursday, 20 November 12:45 AM
Mercure Hotel. Room 606

He stood up. He was actually quite big. I’d imagined him puny. He came down the auditorium steps. Found a spot next to the piano. Now he wasn’t so far away from us, from me. His initial bashfulness vanished the moment he started reading. The moment he entered the realm of literature. Disclosing his own, still so young. He stopped quivering. Resolve triumphed. As did poetry. The words that he had written, and now read aloud reached us, clearly, swiftly. I heard them; I did not understand them. Were they in English? I believe so, but it doesn’t really matter. Sitting about two meters away, I was blown away. By him. A boy in the young crowd at the International School of The Hague, where we visited this morning in order to talk with them about writing, about books and about mixing languages, inside and outside of you.

He belonged to the group. Now he was on his own. Himself. Standing upright, he took shape. He revealed himself. With the words of his maturity. His words, filled with what makes him unique, the budding of who he will someday become, of what he will someday understand. Tomorrow… tomorrow already. He expressed himself openly. Addressing the jury that we were assumed to be.

I was no judge. I was, I repeat, blown away. By him and by those who I recognized in him. The tormented allure of adolescence: that was what I saw in him; that was what he made me think of. Myself, at his age, incredibly mixed-up, barefoot, all too often with an empty stomach. Myself, the one I would have liked to be, him. At his age, I dreamt, just like him, nothing like him. I dimly could make out a boy that resembled him: myself and my look-alikes. In another language, certainly not Arabic, the language of control, of my illiterate mother. That dream came true this morning. I’m not a boy anymore. I’m still only a boy.

I’m English. I have no name. I am nameless, without a first name. I am that English boy who immigrated to The Hague. Unwittingly. Raw material. Tracing the lines. Finding love. Within. Taken out. Misunderstood charm. Carefree charm, this morning. Rebel? Clairvoyant? Poet? Arthur Rimbaud?

Gus van Sant was interested in young people, and he definitely has a point. I’m going to have to look up his films again: My own private Idaho, Gerry and Paranoid Park.

Of course I didn’t talk with him. What would I say? Should I give him a bit of advice? What bit of advice? He didn’t need me. He’s on his way, his own way. I envy him. I liked it at the International School of The Hague. For a moment, I thought I would want to stay there, work there as a teacher, as an instructor. Crossing over to the other side. Conveying in another way.

Again I am dreaming. That’s all I do. Writing, in my head and especially my heart, writing my stories. My loves. Adoration.

I’m falling asleep. I’m writing in my sleep. In bed, under the covers. I think of the English boy again. All of the sudden I wish I were Oscar Wilde. I dig in my memory. I search and find this memory: the English chap that looked at me. Just before noon. It only lasted for two seconds. That’s fast. That’s long enough to be inspired.

 

Abdellah Taïa
PS. The translators here compare notes on their work all the time, speaking openly about their techniques. They are undaunted. That surprises me enormously. The writers that I know, including myself, adhere strictly to their silence and superstition. PPS. Such a shame: tonight I missed the performance by the wonderful singer Alela Diane. PPPS. In the hotel restaurant I stole a bottle of Sourcy mineral water that I think has an exquisite design.

COLUMN II
20-11-08

Wednesday 19 November 22:07 PM
Mercure Hotel, Room 606

I’m on the bed. Alone. I’m writing. I’ve just taken off the red wristband from day one, which gave me access to all of the festival venues, even backstage. Finally I feel free. Free? Yes, free.

I’m on my own, in the night. The room is dark. I’m not afraid: I’ve lit the amber-scented Diptyque candle I brought from Paris. I must face my fears. The fear that has been haunting me ever since I arrived in the Hague (yesterday afternoon): writing my first chronicle for Crossing Border. What to say? Well then, what shall I talk about?
Come on Abdellah, you can do it, find up something sensitive, something sensible to share. Come on, don’t be so shy.

I’m not shy. I just don’t have anything to say.

Wasn’t any part of the festival today worth mentioning?

Nothing… Nothing in particular! Really!

Come on, don’t be such a wet blanket. Say something. Don’t be such a scaredy-cat, so hesitant, so indecisive. Say something. And don’t go on and on about yourself again this time. We really have more than enough on Abdellah T. Abdellah this, Abdellah that. We’ve got him pegged by now. We’ve all read his autobiographical novels. Time for something else. Move on, man.

But this is the only thing I know how to do: Exposing Abdellah, day after day, year after year, book after book. Silly Abdellah.

Tonight I’m not up to listening to this boy’s moaning and groaning about being some kind of hero just because in his home country, Morocco, he was the first to speak openly about his homosexuality.

What should I talk about then?

About the others. The other people you just met here yesterday. The new faces. The strangers you’re palling around with all of the sudden.

If it would make you happy.

It would. Bring it on!

***

Helen Preston looks like the American actress Sissy Spacek. She is here for us, the four chronicles writers. She’s always smiling. A beautiful smile that simply sums her up. A smile that I kept looking out for whenever I lost my way in the maze of corridors at the festival. The broad, sincere, perhaps even timid smile that was always just around the corner. Showing me/us the way. Nothing more… More than enough.

Helen is the heroine of the spectacular Badlands, the first film by the American director Terrence Malick.

The translators. Only women. Only women! Shailoh. Rhian. Hester. An. Liesbeth. Anna. We speak English together. I can speak English. Supposedly I’m quite good at it. But I always have the feeling in this language, it’s not me doing the talking. I become another I, a stranger, a completely new I: an actor in a corny American film, a loudmouthed show-off. This makes me anything but proud. The complexes (inferiority, etc.) and neurotic tics (panic attacks, washing my hands countless times a day…) are still with me: every time that I must speak English (there is no choice: it must be spoken), I must overcome them, a task which I am never able to fulfill. It is devastating. I’m out of place. I am like an opera singer on stage who cannot catch his breath, but has to keep on singing. Or keep on writing.

My fellow chroniclers.

Laia Fabregás, the Spanish one, is impressive. When she arrived in the Netherlands ten years ago, she didn’t speak a word of Dutch. Now she not only speaks the language fluently, she actually wrote her first book in Dutch, with the intriguing, poetic title Het meisje met de negen vingers [The girl with nine fingers]. A French translation will be out soon. I’m sure that I’ll like it, that I will devour it. I envy her.

Federica Manzon is from Italy. Her black hair is gorgeous. Both yesterday and today a few times I really felt the urge to stroke it, to play with it. Will I dare to before the festival is over?

Chris Killen, the Englishman from Manchester, has a great feature: he shares his first name with a boy that I’m in love with. Soon he will know unspeakable delight: the publication of his first novel, The Bird Room.

I: Abdellah Taïa, the Moroccan. The oldest of the lot: 35 years. And the Muslim.
In my own way. I partake in it.

It is 12:30 AM. I’m going to call it a day. Sleep. Dreams. Reliving the day. Finally having a good look at The Hague. Finding back the Arabic. Myself, in primitive form. Back to the battlefield, the war of languages in me. Thinking of Marcel Proust and the cryptic statement from In Search, coming from the mouth of the Duchess De Guermantes in the course of a dull dinner party: “China disturbs me!” Does the city of The Hague disturb me? Not yet. And Crossing Border? For the time being, I’m lost in its never-ending hallways. The shock is yet to come. I’m not kidding. I’m serious.

Bedtime! Good night! Bonne nuit!

Abdellah Taïa

P.S. Tomorrow we will be visiting the International School of the Hague. I’m not quite sure why, but I picture it as the school in Elephant by Gus van Sant.

ON BEING TRANSLATED
13-11-08

A translation is a dialogue, they say, but before engaging in the dialogue, you must be able to listen. Translation means being able to rely on someone else’s words, almost always a stranger’s, and to fully comprehend them down to the most minute and insignificant details, by tracing the oscillations in the mannerisms, the stylistic habits and favorite turns of phrase, which hold the true message of a text. Translating means being able to allow one’s own voice to merge with another, to let someone use it, and thereby have it sound as pure as possible, so that it overlaps with the author’s in a natural and uninhibited way, while making the best of both its strong and weak sides, of the linguistic obstacles and the undaunted choice of words. If all goes well, it also means falling in love with the translated text and providing an active role for it in a genuine and passionate dialogue with the author.

So this is what I think of when I think of translation. If I reflect on it in abstract terms and with philosophical concepts, it always seems to me the most profound and respectful means of making acquaintance with something different. As if the mediating role of a written text assists in taking a step back and hence creating distance to the object of study, which is required in order to focus on it and to see it as a whole. It is as if simply placing a text between two people would give them the opportunity for a more honest and authentic dialogue, which in the first place requires an effort – that of listening and understanding.

In general, I think in such highly conceptual and abstract terms if I think about translation philosophically. But now that it is happening to me? Now that my own words are being subjected to this process?

First of all, it causes a sense of curiosity and enthusiasm. I think that it will be alienating, and as such, interesting and enriching effect to have the meaning of my own written words read by a voice with an intonation that I cannot even understand, and to see them represented by series of letters that I am unable to read.

Next I attempt to consider it in the most concrete form, because even though translation is often the topic of reflection and nuanced theorization, ultimately it remains something very practical, it would seem to me, something almost visceral perhaps: the intimate contact between two voices that get to know each other and identify with each other until they become interwoven, until the translated text is no longer the work of a single author, but of two. This is how I like to think of it, as a sort of ballet with two dancers that must master the rhythm, and must learn to accommodate each other and to each abandon themselves in the other’s arms, at times balking, only to then allowing themselves to get themselves carried away.

And then I think of the moment of translation itself, which will be a glorious occasion, not only to meet another language and another voice, but to look at my own writing through different lenses, from a privileged position. And I think that at times it will be odd, and even difficult, but very often amusing, to see a stranger grappling with words and sentences that are intuitively so much my own.

This process will make me more aware, I am convinced, and most likely lead me to discover hidden quirks within my very own text. For who knows just how much misunderstanding and how many obstacles can emerge during such a project, to what extent the issues and questions that arise can completely transform my opinions on writing?

In short, it will primarily be an encounter, and in this case, you always wonder beforehand: will we truly be able to understand each other? And will we like each other?

TUMBLING
13-11-08

I write my books in the French language. But never, never have I felt that this language is mine. It does not belong to me. I do not “master” it. It does not come out of me (and from me) naturally, as a matter of course. I speak it, write it, every day in Paris where I have been living for ten years now. They say that I have achieved a good level. They commend me. It does not move me. In my mind, it is more complicated, more garbled.

I shudder in the face of the French language. I have from the beginning, ever since my Moroccan childhood, naked, poor, having nothing to eat, with violence on a daily basis, locked in a fate that is not my own, which I denounced even more with my homosexuality. No, French, the colonial language, cold, intellectual, and beautiful, is reserved (it still is) only for the rich in my first country. Long ago, they clearly pointed out my inferiority in this language. My eternal humiliation. It sent me reeling. And gave me terrible hang-ups: every time I start writing, they pop up again. Every time I write, I shudder within, deep within, in the part where I don’t know myself. Yet despite it all, I keep on writing. Writing while being out of place, forlorn, smitten without quite knowing why, waging war. Always waging war. Writing the stories of my life, which come out of me. Myself, my ‘I’. I, alone, panicking and then in ecstasy. Me among the throngs of people, quiet, noisy. Me against the world, in my craze, with my mother and her tyranny, despite myself.

I write in French. It hurts me. It creates a gap: is this still me? I make use of segments of my life, my lives, in Morocco, in Paris. I reconstruct them, transform them. And I hope (I am praying) for this: to change.

I write in French with an Arabic flavor, which is part of me. I write Arabic French. The language and culture of Morocco. This is what has been passed down to me. What I learned without realizing it, without even wanting to. I am my own translator. Consciously and unconsciously. I am a “transgressor”: I surrender naked, sexual, ferocious, gentle even though I don’t want to be, a little Moroccan Jean Genet. In the midst of chaos, time and again. The chaos of these languages. Two languages at odds. One is not for me; the other is sacred, too sacred. Each time I replay my life over and over. I put my life on the line. I am in the Tower of Babel as it is toppling. I am completely overturned by it, in the true sense of the word. Dumbfounded. Taken aback.

Writing does not help me to live, neither to overcome my complexes, nor to be cured of my obsessions. For me, writing entails noting how multifaceted I am. Conflicted. Hung up. Outmatched. The last man. The first man. In blood.

It is in this state of mind that I will be coming to “Crossing Borders”. Working with these conceptions in another language. Touched by other experiences. Surrendering to another translator than myself, another “transgressor”. To see them enter me. I am captivated beforehand. Prepared to allow myself be devoured. To continue my path through the chaos. Stark naked. I am not afraid of catching a cold.