In some ways, preparing this translation is the same as preparing my poetry collection. I spend hours in front of the computer, pondering the best way to say something, realizing how little of the language I know (English first, and now English and Swedish). There’s joy in it, in creating and shaping, and there’s also frustration, and boredom from repetition.
In other ways, it seems like their book-type-shape is the only similarity. I created every bit of my poetry myself, whereas in this Swedish book, someone else put in the effort to gather facts, figures, names, dates, and other bits of historical accuracy. Creative writing vs history. First language vs a mish-mash of terrible Swedish. A book that requires an open mind vs a book that requires an index (what have I gotten myself into?).
I keep adding to it, too. First I was just going to translate it, publish it so the fam can actually read our history. Then I thought I’d include an appendix with all the family history from its publication date to present day: every birth, death, marriage, every occupation, and even though it began as a small thought, the more I research it, the more I realize it’s about twice as much work as the original author put into it. And if there’s an appendix chronicling more current history, certainly there should be an appendix with photos and the like: portraits, business cards, post cards, letters, etc. Extra blank pages in the back, so everyone can write in whatever happens in the future. And possibly not-so-obviously, an index.
Unsurprisingly, I expect to think of several more ideas before this thing goes to print. Not because I’m searching, but because apparently when it’s your destiny to do something, the fates won’t let you do it half-assedly.
This project’s growth has forced me to push back the publication date again and again, but I hope I sound confident when I say Damn it, this thing’s gonna be available by July, so help me. So I might as well give it a late-June bookday, like my previous work. Publishing one book a year seems like a respectable pace.