Personal Update

January 10, 2020

As regular site visitors can see, not much has been going on here recently:) In fact, my priorities have changed a lot over the past 1.5-2 years. Languages remain relevant, but in a different way. Here's what's been going on with me.

I've been focusing on creative pursuits. This is the big one. I am writing a work of literature in Russian, which you can check out and subscribe to on my Patreon page. This is an old project that I finally resumed in earnest in early 2018. I currently spend an average of two hours a day working on my book, which is a psychological adventure novel based on one of the biggest adventures of my life—hiking the Pacific Crest Trail in 2009. Each chapter is a kind of self-sufficient story of its own. If things go well I expect to finish by the end of 2021. It's an enormous undertaking.

Music. I've also made a breakthrough in guitar, which I've played on and off since I was 16. In 2019 I settled on an instrument, genre, and gear, acquired everything, and began exploring what I could do in the area of music-improvised-on-the-spot. Here is the first video I recently posted. I currently play an average of close to two hours a day and expect to begin performing regularly in 2020.

Relationship changes. Perhaps surprisingly, I live in Georgia, yet my Georgian has not improved noticeably over the past two years. If anything, it's gotten worse. My Georgian girlfriend and I broke up, and with my focus on creative pursuits and largely Russian-speaking social milieu, Georgian has fallen by the wayside. I never force languages, so I'll wait until life presents clear opportunities and motivation to real master Georgian rather than try to achieve this in the absence of both.

Other languages have become irrelevant, notable Polish, German, and Spanish. French and Slovak have been entirely abandoned for now, and I rarely attend language exchange clubs other than the quarterly Multilingual Get-togethers I organize myself. I also haven't attended more polyglot gatherings and conferences.

I've had my first interpreting jobs using Ukrainian. Interpreting skills easily transfer from one language to another, and I had two gigs with Ukrainian in 2019 where I surprised myself with my own performance. My understanding of the language, however, is not nearly as nuanced as with Russian, and if interpretation is needed from English, I can currently only interpret into Russian, which is typically not an issue for Ukrainians.

My creative output is now almost entirely in Russian. Many years ago I lived in Ukraine and mostly wrote in English on a number of subjects. There was demand for it and I felt that's what I could do best in that position. In 2007 I began my first website entirely in Russian, which was somewhat scary at first. Now my output is about 90% Russian, including my book, Telegram channel, podcast, hiking website, and events I lead. I can't really explain why except by countering with the question, "Why not?"

Conference interpreting. I continue to be active as an interpreter and am cautiously optimistic about my short-term prospects in this field. However, in the long term I expect our profession to die out or be transformed through technology. I recently created a personal website about my interpreting services in order to help drum up more business. The site will be linked to in all business correspondence, etc.

Spiritual pursuits. I've gone quite deep into meditation and non-duality, which is a continuation of the inquiry into the nature of reality which I began when I was 23. To me this feels like a return to my foundations. Together with all the focus on writing and music—also lifelong pursuits—as well as Contact Improvisation, hiking, and general health, it would seem that things are falling into place in every area allowing me to enjoy every aspect of life that is important to me. This could also be interpreted as a process of preparation for the second half of life with its focus on meaning and balance over achievement. Or something like that:)

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(c) 2016-2018 Richard DeLong.