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It is a whirlwind in here

Every Stage Waits For Action On World Theatre Day

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The stage is as bare as my lady’s ass in his lordship’s bedchamber.

Rough-hewn in the most knockabout way, leaving splinters in the palace lawns of the imagination. There’s many a dip ‘twixt the trap and the lip.

It fares little better than hastily strewn boards covering parched ground, and barely enough elevation to keep the understanding masses at bay.

Were one fool enough to come from out the wings, and at centre front begin a soliloquy about the beauty of the wretched arena on which he stands, to fight the resulting and justified spontaneous combustion, there would not be found one drop of piss from any a thespian’s hose.

For who could allow this sacrilege to be spoken? Even the flag atop the pole knows that the magic is not yet arrived.

A stage without commercial trappings: without solid doors and thick drapes; uncluttered by pillars and arches, tables and chairs, windows and fireplaces; sans orchestra, sans balcony, sans pit.

A stage revealing all its secrets. Profound as emptiness.

A stage in wait.

For in this world writ small – as in the globe around – the audience has nothing to know, nothing to learn, until the actor makes an entrance, and prepares to fight past our eyes to do battle with those thoughts and fears which lurk in sheltered halls.

“What’s Hecuba to him?”

Why – nothing.

Merely a name on a page of script, a cue at which to turn his profile thus.

It is what Hecuba becomes to we who wait,

That turns the key upon the heavy gate.

DE

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20 Interesting Facts about Drama and Theatre

The play’s the thing so you better brush up on your Shaksberg because life is a cabaret.

Source: 20 Interesting Facts about Drama and Theatre

Kafka Uses The Internet To Prod Me Back To Work

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[Franz Kafka]

This is saying a lot for Kafka who, in truth, was not even much of a fan of the typewriter. But, he was a constant writer (even if he destroyed – it is estimated – 75% of what he wrote) and certainly expected any other author to be the same.

At any rate, coupled with a bit of travel, I had not written for ten days. It is possible that I have not gone that long a stretch for years. For the last couple of years I had been writing six days a week, rarely missing that amount. I think that in the last few months, writing an original novel and editing another on a daily basis did me in.

But, earlier this week, on the same day, I received the same article in an email and on Facebook. It was a short section of Kafka Diary entries. Real ones (I say this because I have written a novel where I fill in some *missing* Kafka diary entries). It was directed to writers, and commented about some aspects of writing. The one that leapt out at me was:

March 11  How time flies; another ten days and I have achieved nothing.It doesn’t come off. A page now and then is successful, but I can’t keep it up, the next day I’m powerless.

I generally think I can take a hint. And a hint given twice. And a hint from Kafka. And a hint given decades after he is dead, via a medium (pun intended) that Kafka would despise.

So – I took the hint.

A page a day since then.

And onward —>>>

DE

 

The Elephant Rhymes For God On World Poetry Day

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The elephant was contemplating his muse.
He was lying beside the river, trailing one of his big feet in the water.
He watched as the current rippled and sparkled past, and noted the occasional
leaping fish with bemusement.He looked across to the other shore with a sigh,
and then closed his eyes to more fully experience the race of the river against his toes.
After indulging himself in this manner for awhile, he flopped onto his back, so he could
look at the trees.
He traced their outline against the blue sky with his trunk, and followed
the curve of some branches overhanging the river with interest. He even smiled benignly as a family of monkeys clambered up one tree, leapt through the canopy of leaves, and

raced down another.

He suddenly slapped his forehead with his trunk, rolled over with such force that
he jostled a boulder with his flank, and began to emote.

The monkeys, in the trees,
“Cause a breeze, when they sneeze.”

“Pardon me?” said the boulder.

I nudged the boulder with my shoulder.
“It was older, and much colder.”

“Oh boy,” said God.

“I am a POET,” said the elephant.

“Oh boy, again,” said God.

It is a stone, which has grown,
“In a zone, all alone.”

“Would that I were – alone, and away from the voices.”

“I’m expressing myself,” said the elephant.

“That is a statement of truth,” said God, “which does not contain the whole truth.”

“It is a thrill, to have free will,
“That is until, others say `nil’.”

“To be fair,” God stifled a chuckle. “You seem to have grasped the concept of
rhyme – although your reach sometimes exceeds it.”

“But that’s what heaven’s for,” pointed out the elephant.

“You’ll get,” said God, “no Browning points from me.”

“That’s not my last, don’t be so fast,
“My muse to cast, into the past.”

“You’ve heard about too much of a good thing?” asked the boulder, giving a nudge of its own.

“Yes,” said the elephant.

“Well – this isn’t it.”
“You don’t like the way I make the words dance?”
“I’d rather sit this one out.”

In the misty morn, he sat forlorn;

“He wouldn’t adorn, the dance floor well-worn.”

“Oh boy,”said God.

“As you can see,” said the elephant. “I provide a lot of bon mot for each and
every occasion.”

“Such a threat is enough to make a boulder crumble,” said the boulder.

“The rock of ages, dissolved in stages,
“And proved the sages’, `noblesse obliges’.”

“Oy veh,” said God. “I’ve become a straight man for a stand-up elephant.”

“I could pack a hall,” said the elephant.

“You could pachyderm,” pointed out God.

It’s just a guess, I do confess,
“That more is less, in the wilderness.”

“This could go on forever,” said God.

“You’re the expert there,” pointed out the elephant.

“Then I think I’ll repair to the forest,” said the boulder.

“He stood, in the wood,
“Where he could, do most good.”

The boulder rumbled with a voice which filled the jungle.

Poems are made by fools like thee,
“But only I can make a tree.”
DE

The Mask Of Death Leads To Sundry Places

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My two gals, Alison Alexandra and her friend, Amanda, are on a sea voyage. A voyage via a freighter, and not a cruise ship. They stop in the ports where the freighter stops, and they take visits of the town if they so desire.

On one of their times on shore, they decide to visit a Police Museum. One of the exhibits is a Death Mask of a hanged murderer. They take great interest in this, noting the repose of the face.

This incident is based on an event in my own life. I melded parts of my experience into my characters afternoon visit during their day ashore. This had not been on my mind when I started this particular chapter.
I once taught a workshop on Supernatural writing. For my workshop I took advantage to take my students on a field trip to see the death mask of a historically known poet. The death mask was conveniently on view in a display case in a near-by building.

None of them had even heard of ‘death masks’, let alone seen one. I invited them to

incorporate the idea into their writing exercises. Some did, some did not.

However, it’s possible this visit to Death elicited the following story from one of my students.

My student and her husband had purchased a new house. Cleaning and renovations eventually took them to the back loft area, which was piled high with decades of accumulated detritus from a long life.

They cleared out beds, and boxes and newspaper piles, and magazines, and bundles of clothes, and on and on. Near the end of this process, my student noticed a “clump of something” on one of the wooden beams of the loft.

Getting ladder and flashlight, her husband climbed to see what it was.

It was the end of a number of knotted bed sheets.

DE

Fame Helps Tie The Rope For Suicide

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Fame and suicide.

Suicide and fame.

The two flirt, and  consummate their relationship often enough to make others take note.

If someone gets everything they hope for,

or want,

or expect,

 there is not much left to live for. 

Boredom ties the rope.

There are other factors, of course. We can never know another person well enough to tell how they think or feel. The majority of famous people do not remove themselves from this earth. Indeed, a large number of them  relish the attention. More than mere success sent Virginia Woolf walking into the River Ouse. Ernest Hemingway had personal demons aplenty.

These days, Fame stalks those who are famous.

Although a famous author does not attract the attention of a famous entertainer, or sports figure, or politician, an author’s fame spreads beyond the usual world of books and readings and tours.

Fame guarantees attention must be paid. The media makes Fame supersede the reason for the fame. Fame is the elephant in the room, always poised to turn rogue.

Creating is difficult enough.

Creating is time-consuming enough.

Creating is isolating enough.

Fame magnifies all these things, and sometimes ignites an unrelenting blaze.

DE

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Norway’s Trains and Fjords | National Geographic Expeditions

    • Journey across alpine peaks, emerald valleys, and sparkling rivers on five railway lines including the Flåm—one of the steepest normal-gauge railroads in the world.

http://www.nationalgeographicexpeditions.com/expeditions/oslobergen-norway-train-tour/detail?utm_source=NGdotcom-Adventure&utm_medium=Email&utm_content=20170309-Norway-Trains&utm_campaign=NGdotcom&utm_rd=68990#opi2353747359Source: Norway’s Trains and Fjords | National Geographic Expeditions

A Woman Takes Control ~ From “Kafka In The Castle”

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Franz and his sister, Ottla

16 December 1917

I think it possible the women conspire unbeknownst to themselves.

It was Ottla’s suggestion that I walk Fraulein G home after dinner. She stayed well into the evening. She was good company and we all enjoyed ourselves. We even read to each other – I selected some work by Max. He will get double pleasure from that, as he likes to entertain the young ladies himself.

She helped Ottla with the dishes, and some other clearing chores. Ottla then produced a bottle of schnapps – something I didn’t even know was in the house. I thought it possible Fraulein G had brought it (I’ve found she is capable of such a forward gesture) but I also noted it was the type which father prefers, so perhaps Ottla brought it from Prague. (And perhaps father will be recounting his stock with some confusion.)

Ottla encouraged the consumption of a couple of small glasses. I will not tell Max that the appreciation of his writings was enhanced accordingly.

As I walked Fraulein G home, I could not shake the feeling that something was expected of me. Something more than my company along the darkened road.

Was I to take her arm, or her hand, or even put my arm about her waist? I felt an element of encouragement for some such action, yet wondered where such a thing might lead.

Further, perhaps, than just the door of her house.

But, as the wind was lively, I chose to take her hand, and she then chose to walk closely by my side.

And the lips which murmured “Thank you” at her gate, and chose to brush my own, no longer called me “Herr Doktor”.

DE

(image)http://www.thecultureconcept.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/Frank-with-Ottla-his-favourite-sister.jpg

Hitler, Kafka, And Me

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I owe my life to Hitler, thanks to the Second World War, and my Canadian soldier father meeting my British War Bride mother.

I imagine it is too crass to say I have a soft spot for Hitler. I’ve studied his personal history, and know something of the man who was (admittedly) only a small part of the monster.

If he had been able to sell more of his paintings . . . who knows what might have happened?

And, I even managed to track down a connection between Hitler and Franz Kafka. This possible meeting  goaded me to write a stand-alone short story about Kafka, in addition to my novel about his missing diaries.  In the short story Kafka is implored to join the Austrian army in WW I so he can kill ” . . . the man who will kill your sisters.”)

In reality, before Hitler came to power, he lived in Munich. In the apartment building where Hitler lived, a cousin of Kafka’s was also a resident.  Nothing is known as to whether the monster met the cousin. Or if Franz visited his cousin. Or if Franz Kafka met Adolf Hitler.

But it would be interesting, a challenge – and even fun – to have these two men (virtual teetotallers and vegetarians both) meet in a coffee house. Or an Art Gallery.

Kafka saw monsters everywhere he looked. Why not give him a real one?

DE

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