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Month

October 2015

Interview Questions And Answers With Author

Dale Estey – The Elephant Talks to God

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What is your most recent book? Tell us a bit about it.

The Elephant Talks to God is a book of short stories where my Elephant takes his queries and comments directly to God. God not only listens (as God does to us all) but enters into conversation with the Elephant, answering his questions. The stories eventually ended because the Elephant began asking questions the author could not answer. This book is not typical of my novels, the first being a Fantasy set in World War Two and published on two continents, the second a Thriller leading to my first translated work.

Tell us about yourself.

I am from Atlantic Canada, where I have lived all my life. My mother was a British War Bride and my father came from United Empire Loyalist stock. The Estey ancestry goes back to medieval Italy and the House of D’Este. I am interested in, and directed by, all this heritage. I have been writing for over thirty years.

What inspired you to write this book?

My mother gave me an elephant figurine as part of a Christmas gift. While struggling for a subject for a short story, I looked around my room and stopped at the elephant. It was to be a one-off story. The Elephant (and God) had other ideas.

How did you choose the title?

I wanted the most straight-forward title of such a weighty character and subject matter.

How did you know you wanted to be a writer? How did you get started?

I had no interest in writing, books, reading or any of the arts until Grade Eleven. Within the space of a week (for no obvious reason – I say that God cuffed me on the back of the head) I started writing “funny” short articles. The first of them which I remember (and it may indeed be the first) was about a classroom pencil sharpener which chewed up my pencil. I would do one or two of these funny articles a month. They started to get published in the regional newspaper, The Daily Gleaner.

Do you have any writing rituals?

My writing rituals slide around and some disappear over the years. The bulk of my manuscripts are done long hand with a BIC black ink pen. I usually write in the morning. I use binders and write on alternate lines on both sides of the page. I do now write thriller/adventure books on the computer, for I find that medium enhances the speed of such stories.

How do you come up with the names for your characters?

When stuck for a character’s name, I go to a Gazetteer. Most of the time the character appears with name intact. I have three novel manuscripts where the central character has no name but just initials.

Did you learn anything from writing and publishing this book? What?

Every day I write I learn something about writing. The Elephant showed me I can sustain humour.

If you were doing it all over again, what would you do differently?

I know what I should have done differently, but I doubt I would do it. I would have concentrated more on the career aspect, promotion and name recognition. But that might mean I would have written one less novel. Not worth the trade-off.

What types of books do you like to read? Who are your favorite authors? Why?

I prefer reading books where all the elements (character, plot, description, philosophy) blend seamlessly. Writers whom I enjoy who accomplish this are John le Carré, Thomas Mann, Thomas Hardy, Mavis Gallant, Alan Bennett, Robert Hass, Alice Munro, Saul Bellow.

Are you working on your next book? What can you tell us about it?

I am working on a thriller centred around NATO. Internet chicanery is at the core of the intricate plot. One central character is a guard/attack dog named Louie. His name came from a real dog I heard being called to in a dog park. Louie is a Cane Corso.

What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?

*BEST* advice for a writer – write regularly. Work time into a schedule to make it possible to write a number of times a week – same time/same place if possible. Publishing venues are so broad these days that it is best to take a long time and study them all. Then chose an avenue that is comfortable (and understandable).

Who is the perfect reader for your book?

Perfection is over-rated. Enter my books and you won’t be disappointed.

Where can readers learn more about you and your book?

http://DaleEstey.com

Amazon.com

http://books.google.com/books/about/The_Elephant_Talks_to_God.html?id=Cj5sAAAACAAJ

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000411133160

http://twitter.com/#!/DaleEstey

Kafka Makes Demands After He Is Dead

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Much is made – again and again – about Kafka’s famous request to his friend, Max Brod, that all his manuscripts be burned unread. That included all his fiction, all his letters, and all his diaries.  Consigned to the flames and removed from the earth.

Had this been done, most of the work for which Kafka is famous would never be known, for little was published during his life. His skewed yet realistic outlook on life, now famously known as Kafkaesque, would not be classed in every dictionary. A touchstone, known the world over, would have been lost. Kafka might, at best, been remembered as the man who wrote about the bug.

I will point out that Brod gets a bum rap about defying Kafka’s direction to burn all his manuscripts. Yes, Kafka did indeed make this request of Brod. He apparently made it a few times, both verbally and…

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People of the World / Punishment of Puns

kafkaestblog

spuning out of control

When In Rome

There was an Abyssinian (I made her),

an Albanian,

a Bolshevik,

a Bratislavian (he was worst),

a Brazilian,

a Canadian,

a cannibal (uh-oh),

a Colombian (smoking),

a cynic (she didn’t believe the Canadian),

a Dominican,

a Druid (he prayed for the Dominican),

a Druze,

an Etonian,

an Estonian,

a fool (ha ha),

a Frieslandian

a Gazaian (she stripped),

a graduate (he smoked),

a Haligonian,

a Helgolandian (he was gone),

an Israeli,

an Iranian,

an Iraqi {they three went into a bar},

a Jamaican,

a Japanese,

a Kazakhstanian,

a Kurd,

a Lithuanian,

a lush (one in every crowd),

a Mongolian,

a monster (them’s the odds),

a Nederlander,

a Norwegian,

an Olympian (I liked her),

an opportunist (coulda been me),

a Pole (he vaulted over the rest – *joke*),

Québécoise (I’ll never forget her),

a Russian (great dancer – he had the steps),

a…

View original post 62 more words

Lock Up Your Sailors – Daughters On The Loose In Town

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I http://www.searlecanada.org/volturno/images/sailorWW1postcard2.jpg

Sailors from ten or more countries were in Halifax a few years ago, to participate in a fleet review for the Canadian Navy’s 100th Anniversary. HM Queen Elizabeth took the review from a Frigate plying the harbour.

As I walked myself up the hill from the harbor, I fell into step behind a couple. They were in their late teens or early twenties.  As we ascended, a Military bus descended. Because this happened in real-time, I can not be certain of what exactly occurred, though the gist is certainly true.

The young lady shouted something at the bus. It, in truth, did not sound derogatory but, shall we say, encouraging. When the incident was over, I noted she wore a T-shirt which proclaimed, over her ample bosom, NAVY. It is possible this is what she shouted. It is also possible she shouted BABY. There was an “AY” at the end of the word. And – yes – although this is Canada, she did not just shout “EH?”

As the bus passed me, and thus was nearly past the couple, an American sailor in his whites put his head out a window and shouted “I’ll be your Daddy!” The bus was not moving quickly, and the male of the couple in front of me took umbrage. He started toward the bus.

He yelled.

“What?”

“Excuse me”.

“What did you say?”

The sailor was still looking from the window. There was a lot of laughter from the rest of the bus. The male stepped from the sidewalk and started toward the bus.

The ample female in her NAVY T-shirt grabbed his hand and pulled him back.

I thought this a wise decision.

We all continued on our way.

DE

Google Slut Rides The Links

Today’s  Google doodle informs me it is Teacher’s Day, 2015. Fittingly, it is also the day that, via  Groucho Marx’s mustache, I accept the fact I’m a Google slut.

A character in the screenplay I’m writing referred to his mustache, and said it was taped on. This is a long-ago nugget of information that I thought I knew. However, best to make sure, and that’s what Google can so often allow. It turns out Groucho used grease paint in the movies. He indeed had his own mustache for the TV shows. And perhaps, if I had kept following link after link, I would have found some reference to black tape once used.

It was all relatively moot anyway, because the character uttering the comment is not the sharpest knife in the drawer, and could make such a mistake. However, unless announced on high like Mrs. Malaprop’s comments in Sheridan’s “The Rivals”, the doubt probably falls upon the author.

But, just as I this minute used Google to confirm the information about Mrs. Malaprop (I would have spelled Sheridan’s name incorrectly), so, as with Groucho’s mustache, I find myself a willing slave to Google.

Last week I was reading an online Atlantic Monthly article about how our minds are altering with this great influx of information. Our attention spans are becoming fragmented. I have not yet finished reading this article because I moved on to other things. I cut-and-pasted it and emailed it to myself for later consumption. I do this more and more often. For instance, I eventually read Doris Lessing’s Nobel Prize speech just last month.

So, does Google bless me as it ruins me? Does it offer me the wealth of the ages yet diminish my own innate abilities? I know I’m not going to rein in my use.

By the way, I just Googled “Google Slut”.  According to Urban Dictionary, it is  “A person who is on the computer so much that it is like they are f***ing it”.

Well, asterisk them, say I

DE

Social Media Casualty – Facebook Friend Falls To The Wayside – With Apology

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I http://www.popsugar.com/files/ons1/192/1922507/26_2009/2209634f9834fc87_facebook_friend.png

I glean some interesting information from Facebook, and do get some *news* from people I might not otherwise get. I troll Facebook  and imagine I average a total of 20-50 minutes on it in the course of a day. I do ween myself from looking at it in the morning, as it indeed can be a distraction. I tend to its email notifications in batches.

There has been some debate by writers as to whether Facebook does much by way of professional promotion, whether through a FB ‘Page’ or a regular FB thread. As far as I can see it had done little for me professionally, and I do not have a FB ‘Page’. I don’t plan to start.

I get stories from some of my esoteric sources, ranging from The Papal Swiss Guard to a Russian News Feed. I get photos from European countries, the British Monarchy and an historic Railway in the US. Harry’s Bar&Grill in Venice entertains me. Leonard Cohen casts me wit. Some posters tap into their own esoteric feeds and I glean from them. I get far too many pictures of cats (and I revel in cats).  From my end I post literary news and recipes. And muchness about Kafka.

I recently got an apologetic message from a FB friend saying that he could no longer take the time to remain my friend and peruse my postings. He said there were too many of them. I find it a kind gesture to tell me this. I find it odd that he feels badly about no longer wading through recipes and Kafka. I am perplexed why he just does not zip past postings which hold no interest. I know I do.

I responded to say I was sorry that he was sorry. He replied to say how sorry he was, and that he feels sorry about upsetting anyone even if they are not upset. I replied ‘no harm done’. His final reply was: “I have never known, with your posts, if you have ever wanted a reply!”

This still takes me aback. I reply to messages. The FB device has an automatic avenue to make a comment if one wishes. It seems to me it is up to the viewer whether they want to comment or not. I’m interested in comments but – no – I can’t say I expect or *want* a reply.

He is now gone but, as I say, went about it as nicely as a person can.

DE

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