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Unit 8 Text B A turning point of my life翻译,原文和录音

[2018年11月6日] 来源:新视野大学英语Unit 8 编辑:给力英语网   字号 [] [] []  

A turning point of my life


1 I wasn't yet 30 years old and was working as a firefighter in New York City in a firehouse completely swamped with calls. In the rare moments when we weren't busy I would make calls on our cordless phone handset or rush to our office to read Captain Gray's subscription of the Sunday New York Times. Late one afternoon when I finally read the Book Review section my blood began to boil. An article stated a thesis I took to be an offensive insult: William Butler Yeats the Nobel Prize-winning light of the Irish Literary Renaissance had risen above his Irishness and was now a universal poet. I grew indignant suddenly and a deep-seated passion within me was activated.


2 There were few things I was more proud of than my Irish heritage. My ancestors were Catholic Irish farmers fishermen and blue-collar workers all of whom were patrons of literature. From the time my family came ashore on Ellis Island and faced the threat of being deported we have fought discrimination against Irish immigrants. Ever since I first picked up a book of his poems Yeats had been my favorite writer. He wrote his poetry in close adherence to his Irish sensibilities. His life was in essence a tribute to his homeland. So it was offensive to think Irishness no matter if it was psychological social or literary was something to rise above. I felt like my heritage was a defendant at a tribunal and I had no choice but to protect it and denounce such an outdated prejudice.


3 Vibrating with agitation I grabbed a piece of clean paper one that had the logo of the Fire Department of the City of New York across the top. I began a letter trumpeting my indignation to the editor of the Sunday Book Review describing Yeats as he was: a writer fundamentally Irish in all he did and wrote.


4 I don't know why I felt I had to defend the world's greatest poet (at least next to Homer and Shakespeare) from being "prosecuted" or to compose a defense of Irish writing. I just knew that I had to write that letter in the same way a priest has to pray or a musician has to play an instrument.


5 Until that point in my life I hadn't written much of value  a few poems and short stories. But like a beginning artist who longs to see his work come to life becoming an animated Disney film I understood that the more one draws or writes the better the end result will become. Realistically I approached writing like waxing a car thoroughly and repeatedly. So I wrote often to improve my writing skills. I tentatively sent material to various magazines and reviews but no one had ever been willing to publish me.


6 So it was an unexpected delight when the Times published my commentary. I suppose the editor decided to publish it because he was first attracted by the official nature of my stationery and then by the strangeness of an inner city firefighter's using refined language. I'd like to think though that the editor silently agreed with me.


7 I received about 20 sympathetic and congratulatory letters from professors that I tacked up by the superintendent's desk. These letters tickled me making my heart flutter with the thought that I was not only a published writer but an opinion maker. I was suddenly dubbed as someone whose views mattered.

8 Incidentally I also received letters from True magazine and from The New Yorker asking for interviews. It was the latter that ignited my career  the article titled "Fireman Smith" provided the impetus for a large publishing company to request a manuscript about my life.


9 I had always subscribed to the belief that the work of firefighters was a worthy subject for a book but it had received incomprehensive coverage so far. I was bewildered at first with little confidence in my ability to write a whole book. So I began little by little writing one module at a time. I soon had the basic skeleton and framework for my book. The book went on to sell two million copies and was translated into 12 languages. In the following years I wrote three more best-sellers and last year published an autobiography.


10 Being a writer had been far from my expectations; being crowned a best-selling author was almost unimaginable. How had it happened? I often found myself thinking about it marveling at the inconsistency of my success and earlier failure. My thoughts always came back to the nucleus at the center of it all that letter to The New York Times.


11 The clearest explanation is that I had found a subject I felt so strongly about that the writing was a natural consequence of that passion. I felt the same kind of passion when I began writing about firefighters and later a serial story about my mother. Whatever the subjects they are always meaningful and timely because they represent the great values of human life  decency honesty and fairness  subjects that burn within me as I write.


12 Over the years all five of my children have come to me periodically with one dilemma or another. Should I go out for soccer or basketball? Should I take a job with this company or that one?


13 My answer is always the same: Think about your feelings deep down in your bones. Measure the heat of the fire there for that is the passion that will flow through every particle of your being. Always find that passion. And if you lose it retrieve it and start again. Your education and your experience will guide you toward making a right decision but your passion will always enable you to make a difference in whatever you do.


14 That's what I learned the day I stood up for Ireland's greatest poet.

我人生的转折点


我那时还不到30岁,是纽约市的一名消防员,我工作的消防站总是不断有求助电话进来。偶尔在我们不忙的时候,我会打打无绳电话,或是到办公室,看看格雷队长订的《纽约时报》周日版。一天下午晚些时候,当我最后读到书评栏时,我开始血液沸腾。一篇文章提出了一个在我看来带有侮辱性的观点:它说诺贝尔奖获得者威廉·巴特勒·叶芝,即点亮爱尔兰文学复兴之光的人,已经超越了其爱尔兰身份,是一名世界性的诗人。我突然感到愤怒,内心深处一种激情也被激发起来。


很少有什么事情比我是爱尔兰后裔更让我感到骄傲的了。我的祖先是信仰天主教的爱尔兰人,他们做过农夫、渔民和蓝领工人,但是他们所有人都热爱文学。从我的家族登上埃利斯岛、面临被驱逐的威胁那一刻起,我们就一直在反抗对爱尔兰移民的歧视。自从我第一次拿起叶芝的诗集开始,他就一直是我最喜欢的作家。他创作的诗中有着深深的爱尔兰情怀。实际上,他的一生都在赞颂祖国。所以,不管是从心理的、社会的还是文学的角度,认为爱尔兰的身份是能够超越的,都是一种侮辱。我感觉自己继承的身份就像是成了法庭上的被告,我别无选择,只能保护它并谴责这样一种过时的偏见。


我焦躁不安,全身颤动,于是抓起了一张干净的纸,那张纸的顶部印有纽约市消防局的标志。我开始给《周日书评》栏目的编辑写信,表达我的愤怒。我把叶芝描述为他本来的样子,即无论从行为还是从作品来看,他都是地地道道的爱尔兰作家。


我不知道为什么我觉得自己必须捍卫这位世界上最伟大的诗人(至少是仅次于荷马和莎士比亚的诗人),使其免于被“起诉”,或者为什么我要撰文捍卫爱尔兰文学。我只知道我必须写那封信,就像牧师必须祷告,或者音乐家必须演奏乐器一样。


在那个时刻之前,我没有写过多少有价值的东西——只有几首诗和几篇短故事而已。但是就像是一名刚刚起步的艺术家渴望看到他的作品焕发生命,被拍成迪斯尼动画片一样,我明白一个人画得越多,或写得越多,最后他的作品就越好。所以,我采取了一种实际的策略,对待写作就像给汽车打蜡一样,我既细致认真又反复操练。我经常写,以提高自己的写作技能。我也试着把文稿寄给多家杂志社和书评专刊,但是没有人愿意发表我的作品。


所以,当《纽约时报》发表了我的评论,我欣喜若狂。我想编辑决定发表它,可能是因为他首先被我所用的信纸的正式性吸引了。其次,一名中心城区的消防员竟能使用文雅的语言或许也让他感到新奇。但是,我宁愿认为编辑默默地认同了我的观点。


我收到了大概20封来自大学教授的表达同感或祝贺的信。我把它们订在了主管的桌子旁边。这些信让我快乐,让我激动不已,因为我想到,我不仅作品得以发表,而且我还是个观点制造者。突然间,我被称为拥有重要观点的人。


出乎意料的是,我还收到了《真实》杂志和《纽约客》的来信,要求采访我。正是后者激发了我的事业——它刊登的题为《消防员史密斯》的文章使一家大型出版公司向我约稿,要我写一本关于自己人生的书。


我一直认为消防员的工作是个值得一写的题材,但是到目前为止却很少被写过。起初我很困惑,对于自己是否有能力写一本完整的书没有多少信心。所以,我开始一点一点地写,一次写一部分。很快,我对整本书有了基本的结构和框架。这本书最终卖出200万册,并被译成12种语言。在接下来的几年中,我又写了3本畅销书,去年还出版了一本自传。


成为一名作家远远超出了我的预料。被冠以畅销书作者的称号更是几乎难以想象的。这一切都是如何发生的呢?我发现自己经常思考这个问题,惊叹于自己的成功和早期失败之间的反差。我的思绪总是会归结于其中最核心的部分——那封写给《纽约时报》的信。


最清楚的解释就是,我发现了一个让我有强烈感触的题材,因此,写作就成为这种激情很自然的结果了。在我写关于消防员以及后来写关于我母亲的系列故事时,我都怀有同样的激情。不管题材是什么,它们总是有意义并且合时宜的,因为它们代表了人类生活中伟大的价值观——得体、诚实和公正。在我写作时,这些题材在我心中炙热如火。


多年来,我的五个孩子会时不时地来问我一个又一个让他们进退两难的问题:我应该踢足球还是打篮球?我是到这家公司工作还是到那家?


我的回答一直是相同的:想想你骨子深处的情感。估量一下那些情感的热度,因为那就是流淌于你身体每一部分的激情。任何时候都要找到那种激情。如果你失去了它,就要重新搜寻到它,然后再重新开始。你接受的教育和你的经验会引导你作出正确的决定,但是你的激情总是会使你在做任何事情时都成就非凡。


这就是那天我挺身而出为爱尔兰最伟大的诗人辩护时所学到的东西。