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zt 不断改写的旅程/A Journey of Revisions
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发表时间:2010-09-09
更新时间:2010-09-09
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发信人: suyiren (素衣人), 信区: MedicalCareer
标 题: 不断改写的旅程zz
发信站: BBS 未名空间站 (Thu Sep 9 14:35:20 2010, 美东)

2008.12.08

不断改写的旅程

http://www.america.gov/st/educ-chinese/2008/December/20090422135532cmretrop0.9866907.html



玛吉·莱弗勒(Maggie Leffler)

选择一份职业不容易,选择两份职业就更难了。但对于本文作者玛吉·莱弗勒来说,兼
做小说家和医生看来是唯一正确的选择。

莱弗勒是一位家庭医生,在宾夕法尼亚州匹兹堡市行医。她的第一部小说《爱的诊断》
(The Diagnosis of Love)于2007年出版,第二部小说《再见表亲》(The Goodbye
Cousins)将于2009年6月出版。

我对上小学时学校举行的职业选择日仍记忆犹新。那时我九岁,梳着小辫。当我举手宣
布我要当医生和小说家时,大家都觉得难以置信,他们认为,与一个誓言进入金莺队(
Baltimore Orioles,巴尔的摩市的职业棒球队)的男孩相比,我的理想更加不着边际。

我的父母亲是医生,我的祖母是小说家。这使我从小时起就受到激励,决心既当医生,
又当小说家。后来,在父母去世后,我认识到自己有一天也将与世长辞,而这种认识使
我把医生和小说家联系在一起。我要借助医学知识来救助自己和亲人,同时我也想写点
东西留与后世。我希望在我还有机会时与人们接触。这是让我从医的最强有力的召唤,
可能也是促使我写作的最强烈的动机。

从我刚刚能够阅读时,我就喜欢把自己的话写到纸上,将自己经历的一件件小事编成故
事。我在上小学时便开始写作我称之为《五杰传》的小故事,这些故事的素材源于被我
理想化的家庭生活。在初中期间,我开始写受朱迪·布鲁姆(Judy Blume)启发的短篇小
说;上高中时,我写了一部电影剧本;从特拉华大学(University of Delaware)毕业的
那年,我完成了第一部未出版的长篇小说。迄今为止我在这一生中的各个时期似乎都在
写作。

另一方面,学医则是一个深思熟虑的决定。我面临两大障碍:自然科学和标准化考试。
前者──包括化学、物理和有机化学──对我不是那么容易。后者 ──包括医学院成
就测试(Medical College Achievement Tests) ──则令我恐慌,掌心出汗,在参加计
算机编程的资格考试几天前,我非常紧张,甚至连笔都握不住。尽管如此,我坚持不懈
,完成了规定的"筛选"课程和16个星期地狱般的暑期班,通过了医学院成就测试的审核
。在大学四年级的秋季,我向医学院提出了申请。

那年春天,在我身背背包周游奥地利期间,我用一家青年旅馆的投币电话打电话回家时
才知道,我所申请的27所医学院没有一所录取我。也许我在大学期间把精力太多地放在
美国文学上,也许在别人看来我不是学自然科学的材料。

我母亲设法将这些令人沮丧的事实编织成一个机会。她通过长途电话问:"现在你有机
会充份发挥你的想象力了。如果任凭你选择你想做什么呢?"我回答说:"我想写人们一
读再读的书。"但我心里想的却是:"我要当医生。"

我的第一份"正经工作"开始了:这就是在马里兰大学一个没有窗户、我暗暗称之为"地
窖"的实验室工作。我在首席研究员的指导下做一些技术性工作 ──用千分尺测量凝胶
分离的蛋白质的迁移距离,而在整个过程中我的感觉是我在衡量自己生命的每一分钟。
在没有事做的时候,如在等待试剂沸腾或定时器报时的时候,我就埋头写作。没过多久
,首席研究员就不再问我考医学院的事情,而只是问我小说进展如何,我把这看成是双
重的失败。毕竟,我给出版代理人发出的探询信函比我寄出的医学院申请信要多。没有
哪个代理人愿意读我的手稿,更不愿意给我做代理。看来我可能会把一生耗费于撰写没
有人要读的文字和从事没有人希望我涉足的职业。

六个月以后,在寒冷的一月,我乘飞机前往格林纳达,去敢于录取我的圣乔治大学(St.
George's University)就学,同样令人惊讶的是,我居然敢去这所海外大学。对我来
说,在发展中国家生活会有新奇的经历,但最重要的是,该校的录取证实我很聪明──
而这是我自从获得大学本科文凭以来一直怀疑的一点。在圣乔治大学,我产生了写一部
新书的念头,并得以在毕业前杀青。我在匹兹堡做家庭医生实习期间重写了这部小说,
在进入私人诊所行医后又再次重写。在我的儿子出生的那一年,这部名为《爱的诊断》
的小说得到出版。

多年来在医院工作的经历告诉我,写作和行医并非那么不同。每一天,我都能幸运地听
到病人随意讲述的故事,我对之进行筛选,从中汲取重要的内容。由于受到职业限制,
我不得不放弃那些我喜欢的细节,而择取那些对他们的病情真正重要的信息。我对有机
会私下编辑他们的叙事感到荣幸。

我走过的是一条不断改写的旅程──我的经历和我个人的期待都如此:我从未打算离开
美国去当医生,但这种安排确实为我提供了写作的素材。医生职业与写作一样,对构思
和创意的修改永无止境。每一天都必须作出选择:可以放弃哪些过时的思想;哪些应该
保留?在医学中需要不断改进某个难以把握的理想;同样,在写作中总要不断易稿。

儿时的愿望终于得以实现,但我仍在不断嬗变。

(完)
英文原版
http://www.america.gov/st/educ-english/2008/December/20081210132031cmretrop0.6498682.html

08 December 2008

A Journey of Revisions


The author at a bookstore signing (Katherine Brown)
The author appears at a book signing upon the release of her first book.

Maggie Leffler

Choosing a career is hard. Choosing two careers must be harder. But this
essayist writes that choosing to be both a novelist and a physician was the
only choice that seemed right.

Dr. Maggie Leffler is a physician, practicing family medicine in Pittsburgh,
Pennsylvania. Her first novel, The Diagnosis of Love, was published in 2007
. Her second novel, The Goodbye Cousins, will be released in June 2009.

I have a distinct memory of Career Day at my elementary school: the nine-
year-old, pig-tailed me raising a hand and volunteering that I wanted to be
a doctor and a writer. My dream was met with more disbelief than that of the
boy who hoped to play baseball for the Baltimore Orioles [a professional
team].

My mother and father were physicians, my grandmother was a novelist, and at
an early age I’d been inspired to do both. Later on, after the death of my
parents, I realized the two professions were linked by my own looming
mortality. I wanted to save myself and my loved ones by acquiring medical
knowledge, but I also wanted to write something that would live longer than
I would. In time, I just hoped to reach people while I had the chance. This
was the most powerful motivation calling me to medicine and is probably the
most powerful motivation that compels me to write.

From the time I learned to read, I loved to put my own words on paper,
forming my own small truths into a story. As an elementary school student, I
started writing with what I called “The Big Five” short stories, modeled
after a less-dysfunctional version of my family. In middle school, I moved
on to Judy Blume-inspired novellas; in high school, I wrote a screenplay;
and the year after I graduated from the University of Delaware, I finished
my first unpublished novel. I cannot remember a time in my life when I wasn
’t writing.
The cover of “Diagnosis of Love” (Bantam Dell)
After years of work, Leffler’s first novel was released in 2007 by Bantam
Dell.

Medicine, on the other hand, was a conscious decision that presented me with
two large obstacles: science and standardized tests. The former —
including chemistry, physics, and organic chemistry — did not come easily
to me. The latter — including Medical College Achievement Tests [MCATs] —
actually induced panic attacks and palm-sweating so profuse that, in the
days before computerized board exams, I found it hard to even hold a pencil.
Despite this, I pressed on through the required “weed-out” courses,
through 16 weeks of summer school hell, and through MCAT review classes. In
the fall of my senior year of college, I applied to medical school.

Backpacking through Austria that spring, I used a youth hostel pay phone to
call home, only to learn that I’d been rejected from the 27 medical schools
where I had applied. Maybe I’d focused too much on American literature
during college; maybe I hadn’t appeared scientific enough.

Somehow, my mother spun the grim facts into an opportunity: “Now is your
chance to really dream. What would you do if you could do anything?” she
asked over miles of telephone wire. “I want to write books that people will
read and re-read,” I said. I was really thinking, “I would be a doctor.”

It was time to get my first “serious job”: at the University of Maryland
doing bench work in a windowless lab that I secretly called “The Dungeon.”
Under the direction of my principal investigator, I performed lab
techniques — measuring the micrometers traveled by proteins separated by a
gel, all the while feeling as if I were measuring the minutes of my own life
. During the downtime, as we waited for reagents to boil or timers to go off
, I was busy writing. Soon, the principal investigator gave up asking me
about medical school and instead just asked about my novel, which I took as
a sign of double failure. After all, I’d sent out even more query letters
to literary agents than applications to medical school. None of the agents
were interested in reading my manuscript, much less representing me. It
seemed possible that I could spend my life writing words that no one would
read and pursuing a profession that no one wanted me to enter.

Six months later, on a cold January day, I got on a plane for the island of
Grenada to start at St. George’s University, an off-shore medical school
that dared to let me in, and — equally astonishing — that I had dared to
attend. Life in a developing world country was a time of discovery, the most
important one: that I was smart, something I’d been doubting in the months
since I received my undergraduate degree. At St. George’s, I got the idea
for a new book, which I finished before graduation. During my family
practice residency in Pittsburgh, I rewrote the novel — and then rewrote it
again once I got out in private practice. The year that my son was born,
The Diagnosis of Love, was picked up for publication.

These years in the hospital have taught me that writing and medicine are not
so very different. Every day, patients privilege me with rambling stories,
which I sift through for the important points, constrained by my job to
sacrifice the details I love for the ones that really matter to the story of
their condition. I’m honored to be the necessary ghost editor for their
histories.

It has been a journey of revisions — both in my own stories and in my
personal expectations: I never planned on leaving the country to become a
doctor, but it did give me something to write about. And in the medical
profession, as in writing, revisions of thought and ideas never end. Each
day, choices are made: What outdated concepts can I let go of; what can I
keep? Medicine is about refinement of an elusive ideal; in writing, there
is always another draft.

I have become what I wanted to be when I grew up, but I am still becoming.

来源:美国参考电子期刊-选择职业
http://www.america.gov/mgck/publications/ejournalusa/1208chi.html
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