1. You take a pen and paper with you everywhere, sometimes even into bed with you, just in case you have an idea at three in the morning that absolutely must be remembered. That idea never usually ends up good, but like everything you say when you’re stoned, it sounded very good at the time.



2. You really, really want to buy a typewriter, even though you never expect to actually use it. You just want a typewriter because you’re one of the 10 people in the world who still finds them romantic and sexy. All of those people are writers.



3. When you date someone and they say that they majored in “English” or “Poetry,” you’re instantly excited but then exceedingly nervous. Why? Because you’ll eventually be expected to read some of their poetry — something they really love and don’t show to a lot of people — and have an opinion on this much guarded poem. You can’t deal with this kind of pressure. This has gone badly before.



4. You buy a lot of books you never, ever end up reading — just out of the thought that you might find time to read it someday. I took my copy of Don DeLillo’s Underworld with me on a trip to Paris once — just in case I suddenly felt the urge to read a challenging 900-page opus by my favorite writer. When that book later got stolen out of by bag, I actually cried. It was like losing something I never knew I had. (Side note: I even have a copy of Americana in French, and my French isn’t even very good. Someday.)

你買了很多當下覺得會找到有一天空閒時刻會閱讀的書,卻也沒有。在旅遊巴黎的時候,想說或許突然想要閱讀一本富挑戰性、九百來頁出自我最愛的作家之大作,而帶了本Don DeLillo的《Underworld》。當它當它從背包裡失竊時我真的哭了。這感覺很像是失去了一件我不知道曾經擁有過的什麼(旁註:我甚至還有一本法文版的《Americana》,儘管我法文真的不靈光。總有一天的。)。

我很膚淺,我記得在旅途中看完過的書,似乎只有Antoine de Saint-Exupéry的《小王子》(不過看的是中古中譯本)。能擺到書櫥裡的書我都盡量把它們看完,畢竟買了不看真的很折墮。之前因為種種原因少看了書,這陣子開始慢慢追回進度了。可是前幾天又手滑,結果快爆炸的書櫥又多了幾本書。

5. You will use almost anything as a bookmark or a writing pad in a jam — like receipts, money, bank slips, old envelopes, newspapers, unopened mail or death threats from your bank. You can’t throw out anything in your apartment without checking to see if it has writing on it first. That bag of popcorn could be important.



6. When you hear the words “I’m on deadline,” you immediately burst into action, a Pavlovian response to a) always having something due and b) always being behind on it. You’re certain that if they were able to make your procrastination into an energy source, it will solve our nation’s fuel crisis. Or at least make gas cheaper.

當你聽到“我在趕截止日期”這幾個字的時候,你會產生對 a) 常常有還未完成的事情 和 b) 常常落後進度 的制約反應而立即付諸行動。如果他們能夠把你對事情的耽擱化為能源,你肯定這將解決國家的燃料危機,或至少使汽油變得更便宜。


7. Most people get tattoos of trees or pigeons or misspelled odes to their exes. You get tattoos of your favorite lines from Faulkner or Pablo Neruda’s face. Full disclosure: I currently have two poetry tattoos and I’m planning to get some lines from W.H. Auden, when I can figure out the placement. One day, I’m going to be the Guy Pearce in Memento of dead white dude verses.

多數人會弄樹木、白鴿或寫給前度然後拼錯的歌詞刺青。你則是刺了筆自Faulkner,你最愛的一些辭句或Pablo Neruda的臉。自我剖白:我已經有了兩個詩詞刺青但是正在打算在想好部位後再刺些W.H. Auden的一些辭句。總有一天,我會渾身刺滿白人的詩詞(筆按:dead white dudes含貶義),成為Memento(筆按:一部電影)裡Guy Pearce那樣的人。

對最後一段不甚瞭解,但翻查了萬能的搜尋引擎才發現Guy Pearce是刺青男。所以應該解為這個人熱愛詩詞刺青的程度,是要跟Pearce看齊。不過個人對這段無感,刺青少惹我。

8. You have more books than you have friends, by a large margin. You’re a little concerned that one day, you might become a hoarder. (Fact: I own two copies of Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom. One is a backup, just in case I happen to lose the other one. Insurance, my friend.)

你藏書的數量大幅度超過了朋友的數目。你有點憂慮有天你會成為囤積狂。(實情:我擁有兩本Jonathan Franzen撰寫的《Freedom》。其中一本是備用與萬一遺失另一本之時。為保險,我的朋友。

如果算從小到大的藏書,第一段對了。雖然自己身處的資訊科技業有此一說——If you do not have 3 different backups for your data, it doesn’t exist(如果你的資料沒有三個不同的備份,那它如同不存在)。可是回到現實生活,不說三份悲憤,就算每本書跟他一樣一式兩份,多多書櫥都不夠放。雖然自己的書也曾經驚險出過事情,在借出去後幾乎拿不回來,但也沒有憂慮到這個地步就是。

9. There are Amazon deliveries at your door almost every day. You’re certain that at this point, they have to know you by name.



10. You sometimes refer to authors by their first name or a pet name you never realized you gave them, like calling Bukowski “Chuck” or “Charlie,” James Joyce “Jimmy” or Salman Rushdie “Sally.” Most people aren’t allowed to call him Sally, but it’s an in-joke between the two of you. And, yes, it still counts if he doesn’t know about it and you’ve technically never met him.

你偶爾直呼作家的名諱,或是為他們冠上了一個忘了是自己想出來的昵稱,比如說把Bukowski叫成Chuck或Charlie,或把James Joyce叫成Jimmy或把Salman Rushdie叫成Sally。大多數人不允許直呼她Sally,但這是你們雙方的親昵笑話。嗯,就算他對此一無所知,加上你們技術上來說從未曾見面但那還是算數的。


11. You have really weird dreams about writing or your favorite writers — like that you suddenly have a great idea for a story but then your computer eats you or that you’re best friends with Emily Dickinson — which, truth be told, is a little boring. Agoraphobes aren’t great partiers. You also dreamt that you were the manager of a Bronte sisters girl group. Charlotte was the Beyonce, Emily was the Kelly and Anne was the Michelle, the one everyone forgets about.

你有過一些關於寫作或最喜歡的作家的夢,譬如說突然有個絕妙點子但你被電腦吃掉了,又或是成了Emily Dickinson最好的朋友這種其實很無聊的夢。廣場恐懼症的人畢竟不是派對咖。你也曾經夢想成為Bronte姐妹女子團體的經紀人。Charlotte當是Beyonce,Emily就是Kelly而Anne就是那個人人都不記得的Michelle。


12. You’re a little too in love with alliteration, so much so that you’ve thought about giving all your children alliterative names. (Lorelai Lana Lang, I apologize in advance.) Also, you find it really sexy when someone knows what consonance and assonance is.

你對頭韻法(筆按:一種修辭手法)的那一種愛到了有在考慮用來給你的孩子取名字。(僅此先對Lorelai Lana Lang道歉)除此之外,你發現知道何謂子音韻(筆按:Consonance)和諧音(筆按:Assonance)的人非常性感。


13. Big vocabularies are one of your turn-ons. There’s nothing more erotic than someone with a twelve-inch brain. As long as they know how to use it.


這段是開黃腔吧,我選擇不解釋~本來是還在找什麼是十二寸的頭腦,一度找到資料還以為是說一個underground hip hop團體什麼的。結果再看看最後那句,才想說應該是我想太多。

14. You’re a little too obsessed with post-it notes and stationery and have a favorite pen. An alarming amount of your budget goes out every month to writing supplies, books and coffee — but mostly coffee. Fact: If I gave up drinking coffee, I’d probably be a millionaire. Is it sad that I choose my love of java over my love of money? No. Not expecting any fiscal reward proves you’re a writer.


算是中一半,雖然現在電子記事大行其道,雖然身為IT族,但我還是比較喜歡超級low tech的紙筆筆記本。最愛的筆是沒有,但是我買筆倒是有個指定的牌子的。至於咖啡本人是不太喝的,不知道為何幾乎每次喝咖啡後會感到不適。看到這裡諸位咖啡愛好者大概要跳起來說bullshit了,可是事實上確是如此。

15. When you were in school, lots of your other friends were majoring in things that you could make actual careers out of — like Online Gambling, Extortion, Funneling Money to the Caymans and whatever else they’re learning at business school these days. You majored in something that your friends universally raised an eyebrow at or didn’t know you could major in, like Occult Studies, Obscure Pre-Ice Age Russian Novelists, Teaching Underwater Basket Weaving Studies as a Second Language or Advanced Poverty. You now have a very fancy, expensive piece of paper that means you learned a lot of crap you forgot later.



16. Your dream job is to one day have a career that affords you to be in your pajamas all day or do all of your work from bed — like Marcel Proust or Heidi Fleiss. Some people want a career where they have to look professional all day. You want to look like crap, eat Cheetos, watch Revenge and pour your heart out into your computer. But who doesn’t want that, really?

有個讓你一整天都穿着睡衣,或在床上完成所有工作的事業是你夢寐以求的東西,如同Marcel Proust或Heidi Fleiss一般。有些人想要個看起來總是扮相很專業的事業。你想要的是看起來像個廢物,吃奇多(筆按:一種零嘴)看《復仇》(筆按:一部連續劇)和對電腦傾訴心事。但誰不想呢,是嗎?


17. No one will ever play you in Scrabble, Boggle, Catchphrase or Scattergories, because you always win and you’re always super competitive about it — especially when you’re drunk. You’re like the New England Patriots of party games.


我沒有太愛board games,也真的沒太competitive,所以對此項無感。

18. You sometimes refer to your self-imposed writing schedule as “going to work” or “working” and are often known to say “I have to work from 9 to 5 tomorrow.” People usually ask where you work and you say, “From home. I’m a writer.” Of course, they always then want to know what you really do for a living and you say, “I’m a writer. I write for a living.” Then silence happens.



19. Whenever someone breaks up with you or one of your friends does something really cartoonishly terrible, your immediate consolation is that this is going to make for a great essay. Recently someone decided to stop seeing me for no apparent reason, and my response was, “Great! I had nothing to write about this week.”



20. When you go on dates with people, they always ask if you’re going to write about this, and you assure them, “No, silly! Of course I’d never write about you.” You are a dirty liar. You will absolutely write about them. You’ve already started that piece in your head.



21. People sometimes know things about you before you actually told them, like choice anecdotes or oddly personal information that you wouldn’t share on a second date. Then they tell you that they “read your blog” or “follow you on Tumblr.” And you realize that you share that kind of personal information on the internet all the time. Next time, you’re just going to tell your date you’re a serial killer.



22. You have a bad habit of solving your problems or conflicts by writing the person a letter, rather than just confronting them about it. In high school, my mother was in her “I want to be a romance novelist phase,” and I could tell when she and her husband were in a fight because there would be a letter on the table every morning until whatever they were going through was resolved. Some people fight, you start an epistolary novel of angry feelings.



23. You never stop writing something after you’re done with it, which makes publishing difficult. Eventually you just put a gun to your head and say, “Screw it, I’m done with this.” (Which is how Obama must feel every day.) You’ll later come up with the perfect ending for that piece — a month after publishing it.


哈哈哈哈,是說我麼?(眼睛看向已經完成的長篇小說草稿)是說很多寫作人都是這樣不是?不然你看金庸查老的武俠小說這些年來重寫了多少次?雖然每次更動都會掀起軒然大波,但是他老人家總是我行我素,改一次賺一次。我還在等那一天Harry Potter系列會重新出版,然後J.K. Rowling是不是要改為撮合Ron Weasley跟Harry Potter,不然到最後Harry跟Lord Voldemort一起展開忘年戀也不錯。

24. You have certain punctuation marks you can’t stop obsessively using (anyone who has read my work knows that girl loves dashes) and others you want obliterated from the face of the earth. I’m neutral on semicolons, which can be used sparingly, but I cannot stand the sight of ellipses. I feel like they’re stabbing me in the eye.



25. You often put off major things until you’re done with this poem or this article — like showering, eating or (occasionally) breathing. One day you might turn blue in the face and die mid-article, but it’s understandable. You were on deadline.


廢寢忘食真的是我的強項耶,而且在我埋首忙碌的時候推我去做別的事情我會整個大翻臉。畢竟本身不是個很好的multitasker,如果把我突然間從一個任務拉出來去做別的事情,回來的時候我會突然一整個不知所措。在操作系統的設計裡面,任務的切換通常叫context switching,而我就是那個適應不良的那種。


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