24 January 2021
As of 4:20 pm this day, The Draft Translation of THE DAWN into L’AUBE is completed.
It has been a bumpy road for me, but this path was meant to be that way, mostly because I was building it en route! And, yes, bumpy roads do indeed lead to magnificent sights and marvelous places.
This literary-and-life journey began for me during the summer of 2015, with the tender but cautious encouragement of my cherished friend in les Pyrénées-Orientales, France; and amidst many many changes in my life. Dear Daughter, at that time, commented that she believed I was always going “there” — to L’AUBE. As usual, she was exactly right about her mom.
The one statement that sealed my translation fate was the advice that I gave sometime during that summer of 2015 to Suren, my artist-friend from Kazakhstan, who had transplanted himself to California. I was working with him on the text of a screenplay that he had written, and gladly offering literary criticism and editorial suggestions. In return, this former art professor granted to me some rather glowing appraisals of my artwork.
In between our artistic and literary comments and strongly held opinions, we also bluntly confided to each other the Reality about our more preferred Art Form of the Moment:
Debra: “I do not have time to paint, I am writing too much.”
Suren: “I do not have time to write, I am painting too much.”
This painter-writer was in need of a translator to transform his screenplay from Russian into English. I flat-out told him that the only person who ought to translate his own writing is HE, himself. Several months later, I had to follow my own words of wisdom!
The section of this website, COMPOSING L’AUBE, provides details and info about each book of this 2-volume Master Book, THE DAWN. This running commentary occurred as I moved through this work, and was myself also in motion — concurrently working on finishing the fixing-up of the Master House on Peach Lane. That long-term project had been ridiculously stymied by the start of the Eternal Recession in 2007 or so. And the non-recovery proceeded year after year after year after year . . .
Come January 2017, amidst a Real Recovery, I got busy!
And then I got lucky.
In August 2017, Dear Husband and I were able to purchase in the Sierra foothills a flat lot of land for Dream Home construction. I then got even busier, moving from the Master House on Peach Lane into a dump of a rental house during the creation and construction of a Dream House in the Woods. That home project was finally completed this past summer, 2020, although the PG&E blackouts and chaos continued, and most likely shall persist beyond this day, this month, this year.
Undeterred by just about anything, I moved through the translation of chapter after chapter. Until on 30 December 2020, Chapter 101 was paper-printed for me. And I embarked upon the first sentences of the first paragraph of Page 1:
The action messages to the French resisters from the BBC, in London, started being broadcast during the day of Monday, June 5, D-Day minus one. General Koenig sent his orders through these action messages to resisters throughout northern France, the Rhone Valley, in Provence, and elsewhere in southern France. In Roussillon, at ten in the morning . . .
Les messages d’action aux résistants français venant de la BBC à Londres commencèrent leur radiodiffusion durant le jour de lundi, 5 juin, le Jour J moins un. Le général Koenig transmit des ordres par moyen de ces messages d’action aux résistants partout le nord de la France, la vallée Rhône, en Provence, et ailleurs au sud de la France. À Roussillon, à dix heures du matin . . .
My eyes widened and I gasped.
Dear Husband, the quiet on-looker of my progress, felt very excited and happy for Wifey-me — who is so Action-Oriented: I’d arrived at the Action Messages!
I decided that once I’d finished this mammoth project, I would post on this website my Writer’s Notes from my Writer’s Journal. The ones that were not shredded after my creation of THE POINT OF THE SWORD (during the summer of 2017) — would form a formal parting from this closing “chapter” of this phase of my novelist-life.
This creative and annotated chronology ties this voyage all up with a bow. The Writer’s Notations from 2019 are presented below.
From the Writer’s Journal, 2019-2020:
18 August 2019:
Yesterday I reviewed 16 pages of Ch. 35. Today I hope to complete the remaining 12 or so pages. Which means dealing again with “Dominique”. I don’t know how I got through writing “her” in the English, but those days (and nights) were scary!
Some objectivity (and the passage of time) have helped, but the messed-up people of the past are not very different from the messed-up people of the present!
Virtue and courage remain steady and consistent too. So there is the moral of the tale!
14 September 2019:
I need to focus on translation and let any fiction for the Westerns and TLW (The Last Waltz) drift for a while. Who knows what magic might appear?
Thursday, 17 October 2019:
Tried yesterday to start inputting Ch. 37 (The Odile Chapter), but I was lassoed by my Western, THE SILENT HEART.
29 October 2019:
Translation of Chapter 38: The Churchill Chapter: Never Give Up!
19 November 2019:
Checking the translation of Ch. 38, The Churchill Chapter. It’s a bit sad for me because the English (Anglo-Saxon) version is much more Winston. The French does not adequately express the fierce grit of the man.
4 December 2019:
Guillaume learns of the Free French agent called Artur. He begins to look to l’aube and turns away from crépuscule. He realizes the death of his friendship with a childhood friend who is no more who he once was, and perhaps had never been.
Guillaume pivotally turns toward his fate — delivering the delivery truck to Yves and riding his bicyclette to the château.
Quite a woven piece of work, this chapter.
4 January 2020:
Ch. 43: Emile and Odile fall in love and marry; Camille in her room and her time with Gisele who “meows” — then her profound revelations about truth and hope vs. doubt and despair.
There are so many wonderful sentences and so many inspiring passages. I am very proud of my years during the creation of this work.
Wednesday, 22 January 2020:
Yesterday I started translation of Ch. 45, The Battle of Sedan/Gustave Chapter.
Quite a harrowing tale. I will go about this chapter in a prudent manner, taking breaks when necessary.
2 more to go to finish Vol. 1.
Wednesday, 29 January 2020: Ch. 46: The Brexit Chapter!
1 March 2020:
I am nearing the end of Ch. 51, and will get to Ch. 52 soon, the Bootsie Chapter, which is what I was doing when he had to say adieu.
Translating the Admiral Darlan announcement of France becoming integrated into the European bloc. There are times when I work on this book and see CURRENT EVENTS.
9 March 2020:
Translating Ch. 53, I realized WHY “S” was so enraged at GdV (Guillaume de Vallon).
17 March 2020:
Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Working toward the end of the translation of Ch. 54: The FDR Chapter; the coffee-can hoarding of gold & silver, Soche, Court-Packing Scheme, Bill Donovan. More goodies to come!
FDR heroism; infamy speech, arsenal of democracy spurred by his own slicing of socialism. Technocrats, U.S. and Vichy. Hoover. FDR vs. Teddy. FDR as victim of his own faith, foibles, ferocity. Quite a chapter!
20 March 2020: Ch. 55 — Odile’s Baby
4 April 2020: Ch. 58 — The DeGaulle Chapter: a weepie.
10 April 2020 Good Friday, sunlight! Working on Ch. 59: Arthur meets Guillaume.
15 April 2020: Ch. 60 — Arthur goes w/G to Château Vallon. Joy & tears.
22 April 2020: Start Ch. 62 trans.
28 April 2020:
Finished translation of Ch. 62 — Camille re-affirms her faith in the will of God (ties back to her first nights in the maison d’été).
I was solemn about that part and spiritual, but not teary-eyed. And then I moved on to the meeting of Guillaume (with 5 other resisters) with de Gaulle. There were no overtly emotional passages, more factual and historic, but at certain points in the text, I could not continue because my eyes were filled with tears. Perhaps these emotions have been there, waiting for release.
The complete commitment of GdV to his fate is established in this chapter. All I can do now is follow along, and let “him” go in the fullest way and to the fullest extent — which I did not and could not do in Nov. 2011, just before Thanksgiving.
30 April 2020: Work on the Arlette Chapter, 63.
1 May 2020: I am doing the Pierre Richarde-decision scene, wherein Camille finds the courage to protect her father from Simone.
4 May 2020: Ch. 64: The Pierre Richarde Finds a Home Chapter.
16 mai 2020:
Ch. 66: Jean Moulin meets his end. Arthur is found to be an American by Guillaume.
Ch. 67: Pierre moves to Roussillon. The Chapter where Arthur & Camille realize they love each other.
30-31 May 2020:
Ch. 69 continues: soundless murder of the notaire; Joan of Arc; Henri Faneuf. And the Return of Gustave to Roussillon.
16 June 2020:
Ch. 72 — Bastille Day 1942: The Truth about a lot — Arthur and Camille and their love — comes to Pierre.
17 June 2020:
I long for summer. Speaking of summer, I have just finished translating the summer dance of Artur & Camille (Drink to me only . . .). Ch. 72 ends with a bang — and Marie fainting!
11 September 2020 (9/11/20):
I started Ch. 79 which is, to me, one of the most beautiful chapters in the novel. The passage of seasons in Provence . . .
The present tense is used to add to a sense of immediacy. I am always moved by this first page.
5 October 2020:
Many “feet don’t fail me now” moments as I translate Book VI.
10 October 2020:
Ch. 82 — the “Melania” Chapter: the courage of the Czech peoples; the heroic revolutionary strength of Pres. de Gaulle.
Ch. 82 — the Noor Khan Chapter. I am still driven to tears by her valor.
Monday, 12 October 2020:
Ch. 83: Camille tells Arthur the Truth . . .
4 October 2020:
Night work, till almost midnight. Ch 87.
Arthur protects Guillaume during the massacre of resisters. I cried my way through the scene. Ron says this scene, along with Camille and “her egg”, and the End/Climax — are the most powerful in the entire novel. I was working with just the mini-light (no PG&E power) and the words were already hard to see on the page; add tears to my eyes and things get very blurry.
Ch. 87 is also the Women’s Chapter — The Frenchwomen’s Chapter. Coco Chanel, the horizontal collaborators, the German Travail spies, the wives of the prisoners of war . . . the Frenchwomen who saved France!
End of First Week of November 2020: Ch. 88. Arthur and Camille kiss, their first kiss.
14 November 2020: Start Ch. 89: The Gestapo Chapter!
20 November 2020:
Working on Ch. 90, the Courtyard Scene between Arthur and Camille, with initially Gabrielle. A very powerful scene — much more moving than the first time around. This scene is one of those pivotal scenes/pivot points in the plot. So many elements will re-emerge as the plot unfolds.
27 December 2020:
Ch. 100: D-Day Normandy.
Tears from the first sentence on . . . I need to master my passions here, or the next chapters will be too difficult to translate.
12 January 2021:
Ch. 105. Steady, but slow work, with breaks in-between the scenes. The Barn Swallow Scene was first drafted during a Sharks game in 2009. So much has changed since then. I am grateful that this Master Book has helped to guide me to today. I was not aware of the beauty of this scene until rendering it into the French. Actually, I was not aware of the beauty of this novel until L’Aube showed it to me.
The French call the achievement of a goal its “realization”. This realization is, for me, only a stopping point, a temporary phase, a pause within a duration of time — for which I’ve not a clue as to its length or intensity — before I embark upon Phase II: The Revision of L’AUBE. That project shall be achieved, or realized, away from this website, without commentary from the Novelist, except to her dear loved ones.
I have my own action message upon this day of my writing life:
I’ve got a lot of living to do!