Friday, July 17, 2009

Dia Sesenta – I Love Writing

July 16, 2009

Essay writing is hard enough in English. In Spanish it’s...even more interesting. It’s hard to write “well” with a limited vocabulary and almost impossible when you have no idea of connotations of words. Why use this synonym versus that one? In English, it’s a matter of closing your eyes and “feeling” it (In an un-Star-Wars-use-the-force way). Instead I am forced to write in overarching ideas. For a writer that loves polishing and turn of phrase, it is maddening. Big ideas are fun, and need to be coherent, but I just can’t get into writing the same way without agonizing whether to use “agonizing” or “wrestling with.” In Spanish, you have no such choice. Even when there are two ways of expressing an idea, I have no clue what the subtle differences are. I hate writing like this.

As a side note, Spanish subtitles in movies are uninventive. They just don’t do justice to the actual English lines. Spanish has nuances of its own that give it special life, but you can’t translate great English writing into Spanish (and I am sure the reverse is true too). The great books that have been translated into English from other languages, are all classics in English because of the great stories – those big ideas and plot points that make it exciting to read. But those great stories never quite come out showing great writing. Translation can only do so much. So, for me, I am writing an English essay in Spanish...and wringing my hands with despair.

P.S. Toby Ziegler and Sam Seaborn are my fictional writing heros ;-)

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