Faced with a list of tiresome chores and no writing mojo to be found anywhere, I decided to indulge in a little private time this morning. I did something we all do, but rarely admit to.
I Googled myself.
The first page was pretty much what I expected. My blogs shannonmeyerkort.com and Relentless came up, as did my profile on WeekendNotes. There was my LinkedIn profile, gathering cobwebs and dust, various reviews and old academic papers, plus lots of mentions of my Brutal Truth About the Third Child.
I was chuffed to see my Master thesis get a mention on Google Books. Zero reviews and zero stars… probably because the only copy is sitting on a shelf somewhere gathering dust.
I had really begun to enjoy myself. No nude photos. No websites dedicated to destroying me. No embarrassing Facebook shots that someone else had posted.
But then a site came up that I didn’t recognise, and I got a little squeezy sensation in my stomach. Had someone stolen my words or had they written someone awful about me?
This is precisely why they say don’t Google yourself. Sometimes it’s better not to know what others are writing about you.
But I had to find out. Besides, it was in Italian.
There was a picture of me and my family (a picture they don’t have permission to use, but we’ll ignore that) and my name. I could guess at a few of the words: ironia, testimonianza, blogger Americana.
Uh, hang on.
I went back and hit the Google translate button for the page. Then, in a fabulous mash of Italian and English, appeared an article that was designed to look like I had been interviewed, but really was just a bit of a cut and paste of my Brutal Truth article.
The translations are even better than my original article: “You can doze and sleep all day and as a priestess stroll touching your belly waiting for a football.”
Some of it is pretty funny because it still makes sense:
“Are you happy of nausea and vomiting because it means you can have five minutes to get you in the bathroom?”
And other parts are completely mystifying:
“Rilavi reluctantly the vestititi used with a normal detergent, throw some broken play, refreshments sheets cradle. Your son has already managed to dismantle all sure that you put in the house and survived, so it is not necessary to reposition the newcomer.”
I liked how the Italians automatically assumed I had sons.
The French version of my ‘Letter of Apology to my Middle Child’ described it as “a mother issu[ing] an apology letter to his middle child”. And I thought I had difficulty with French pronouns.
“Shannon notes that this has forged the character of its small second. She teases threats, disputes, compromises. All you seem to want, and that is so hard to give is my complete attention. It’s hard because I have three children, a house to manage and my writing.”
I particularly liked being referred to as an ‘its’. Thanks French people.
The Portuguese translation of The Brutal Truth was possibly my favourite, especially how they introduced me:
“Shannon Meyerkort is a writer, blogger and mother of three girls under seven years. His love for writing is not simple, because it implies that you are sitting to do so.”
I love how they aren’t beholden to gender assumptions about mothers being women. How refreshing.
The translation seems to make things worse than they really are:
“It seems that is six months pregnant by the time we hit the second quarter. Sit persecuted and cries a lot.”
And then go a little hard-core with the language:
“People who have just given birth, begin to upset her with all the talk bullshit about babies.”
Then they go hard-core with the parenting:
“Push your child out of the crib, take them cuddly and dispose of them in a weekend.”
That’s a bit rough, even for me.
I haven’t yet ploughed deeper into the world of Google to see if the Chinese have their own translations of The Brutal Truth, but if it’s ever found, please let me know.