Search

kafkaestblog

It is a whirlwind in here

Month

March 2016

Unfriended By Crazy Folk On Facebook

eb29121c44fd875c18e0f3a7adec2190

If something interests me, I’m curious to know more. I don’t have to like the topic or source. One does not understand things or people by sticking to their own world view. I fear boredom more than ideas.

So, it strikes me as somewhat odd when three different sources on Facebook cast me to the wolves over the same couple of weeks. Perhaps they were not as diverse as I thought – in their extreme outlook, at any rate.
The first is a renowned – and even revered – author of decades standing, successful to the point of having one novel turned into a famous movie. And, I think I can say, a beloved novel and movie. A feel good enterprise.
So, it came as a surprise (to me, at any rate) when he started posting comments and opinions just a fraction to the left of Donald Trump. Spiteful and hateful and not from ignorance. Swathes of the population of the earth were denigrated and retribution was heaped upon them. I queried (as did many others) these opinions, pointing out, at the very least, factual errors. He never made any response, but did disappear from my time line.
The second was a lady of apparent serene disposition, who posted a continuous array of well-done photographs of both the Vatican, and events that happened there. There was – admittedly – a current of what I thought of as priest porn. She had her favourites and commented about their good looks and regal bearing. She gave them both blessings and adulation. And a notable number of responders agreed with her. OK, thought I. Such a slant made the photos any less enjoyable.
But then, one day, she made (for the tenor of the site) an excessive comment about ungodly folk being consigned to hell and not back. I queried this. She responded, “What?” I clarified. No more photos for me.
And lastly – and more expected – with the unhinged and vitriolic comments issuing from the Conservative side in the US election, I started visiting a right wing site. Know your enemy, no matter how frightening. And I made comments to some of the more outlandish stories and opinions. I would get responses to my comments, but what really struck me odd was that 70% of those who replied to me, agreed with me.
But this state did not last long. To be fair – I did not get barred from this site. I can just no longer register comments.
DE
(image)https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/eb/29/12/eb29121c44fd875c18e0f3a7adec2190.jpg

Nature Raw In Web And Claw

016251705_30300
It is not often that I wait for a city bus and hope that it is late. But this is what happened a few days ago as I stood waiting for a 5:15 evening bus.
At about 5:12 I noticed a commotion in the sky. I was about three minutes from the harbour as the bird flies. Overhead, above some low-rise building,s was an eagle being chased by four crows. I have seen this before, and understand that the crow risks its life by swooping too close to the eagle. I assume the crow knows this also, and no doubt those swoops toward the large bird are some safe distance. However, an eagle is a fast bird of prey, and can move at speed. So, although from my angle, the dive bombing crows (and they each took their turns) appeared to be within a wing-length of the eagle, perhaps they did not.
However, the odd situation – which I have never seen before – was that above the circling and diving crows were three seagulls. And they were also taking their turns swooping down toward the eagle. It was a bit like an Aerial dogfight, with the black birds keeping a similar distance from the eagle, while the white birds would occasionally come down to the level of the crows and take a charge at the eagle. I have no idea if the crows and seagulls were coordinating their attacks, but they did not get into each others way. The eagle did little more than keep a steady and straight flight.
Of course, this time the bus was on time, and I didn’t want to wait an additional half hour. Generally, the smaller birds will eventually go their own way as long as they have chased the eagle from the area. I assume this is what happened. But what if I missed a more coordinated attack, with all birds in tandem against the eagle, and an explosion of feathers? Did the bird of prey end up praying?
DE
(image) http://www.dw.com/image/0,,16251705_303,00.jpg

Franz Kafka, Fun-Loving and Full Of Joy

41yvspy2fdl-_sx331_bo1204203200_

Here are links to two new reviews about a book that shows the other side of Kranz Kafka, where he participates in life with joy and excitement.

Is that Kafka? 99 Finds by Reiner Stach detail 99 facts about Kafka that he discovered in writing his three volume biography about him. They show that Kafka had his ordinary life ways, and a whimsy of more gentle proportions than much of his creative output.

What Color Were Kafka’s Eyes by Avi Steinberg in The New Yorker is detailed and entertaining. And in answer to his query, from the number of different sources answering this question, I’ll stick to Kafka’s passport description: “dark blue-grey”.

http://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/what-color-were-kafkas-eyes

99 Ways Of Looking At Kafka by Jeffrey Zuckerman in The New Republic is a well-rounded description of the book, examining one or two excerpts in detail. And I appreciate the illustrations.

https://newrepublic.com/article/131838/99-ways-looking-kafka

All things Kafka fascinate me, and though there might not be much new for one who has written a book about Kafka, I am still looking forward to reading this book.

Here is one of the “missing” diary entries I constructed for my Kafka In The Castle.

 

 

01 January 1917

              There was a cloud caught in

the branches of a tree today, outside my

parents home. Or so it appeared. I got up

from the cot and went to tell Ottla, but

she was clearing the kitchen, tending to

the dishes. So I was radical, unthinking –

driven by haste – and told the only one

not consumed by labour. I told my father.

“In the trees?” he asked. I propelled him

from his chair, thrusting the papers

aside. He followed me, and I could see the

surprise on his face. “Where?” he asked;

and I pointed out the window. “But I see

nothing.”  “Oh, you have to lie on the

cot.”  “On the cot?”  “And with your head

just so.” I pushed him onto it, and he

lay, looking sideways. “But you are

right,” he said. I thought because of the

holiday he might be humouring me, but then

I saw that his jaw hung open, and his face

was astonished. Does the boy never grow,

that he can feel so good to be vindicated

by his father?

DE

The Elephant Shares Sweet Poetry For #WorldPoetryDay

357

The monkeys, in the trees,

Cause a breeze, when they sneeze.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I nudged the boulder with my shoulder.

It was older, and much colder.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It is a stone, which has grown

In a zone, all alone.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It is a thrill, to have free will,

That is until, others say `nil’.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

That’s not my last, don’t be so fast,

My muse to cast, into the past.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The rock of ages, dissolved in stages,

And proved the sages’, `noblesse obliges’.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It’s just a guess, I do confess,

That more is less, in the wilderness.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Elephant [DE]

 

 

 

Finalist In International Flash Fiction Literary Contest

contest_microfiction-1

I am extremely pleased to announce my Flash Fiction was chosen as one of the 250 finalists, from the 35,609 stories from 149 countries, entered in the International IV Edition of the Flash Fiction Competition Museum of Words.

 

This is the story, found on page 208 of the Contest Winners Booklet:

Dale Estey
 

Canadá

The old rabbi moved on his bed.

The young man raced over.
«Yes, Rebbe?»
The old rabbi opened his eyes, showing the
cast of death that has almost consumed him.
«Ka…» he groaned.
The young man had been told the dying
rabbi would never regain his senses. He leaned closer.
«What do you want?»
The old rabbi struggled for breath.
The young man gazed at pallid features and clouded eyes.
« What can I do?» He put his ear over the gaping mouth.

«Ka… Ka…»

One last ragged breath, a hollow whisper.
«Kafka died for your sins.»
This is the Prologue from the Winners Booklet:

Prologue

After four Flash Fiction Competitions, from the Museum of Words organized by the César Egidose-Serrano Foundation, we can proudly say that the competition has had an undoubted effect internationally.In this year ́s edition we have received 35.609 story entries

from 149 countries.These figures prove an undoubted success of which

we feel genuinely satisfied. And not only for the number of participants or because the prize awarded is per word the highest in the world, but because the huge participation from almost the totality of all countries of our planet supposes also that we have reached the most remote corners in which to entrust the message of the César Egido Serrano Foundation that is none other than to spread the word as a tool to encourage coexistence between cultures, religions, ideologies … our aspiration is not an ingenuous fantasy.

We are aware, very aware, that we live in some potentially tragic times; one only has to view the media from day to day. Violence is a part of human nature, wars have been –and still are- a constant in the world since the beginning of humankind, in today ́s world the deadly power of technology multiplies the threat to the extent of making it a true possibility that the species could become extinct.This is a fact, we do not want to

mislead ourselves, but it is also true that people have the ability to use dialogue and with it, the power of words, so conflicts can be resolved in an effective way.Words solve problems without leaving glimmers of resentment or rancour.

An idea is not a fact, it is a desire, and by means drives it, grows, and expands. That is why our idea (utopian yes, but not ingenuous) are always linked to the contest so ideas as are spread to more people in more countries. Because if history has been rife with violent coflicts, it has also left evidence and clear examples of what we are saying is also possible. We should remember Gandhi or Mandela (leading figure of who we have dedicated this contest) who managed to prioritize dialogue and understanding and the use of words in violent times.

We will continue with eagerness, we know that if it was already a reality we would not be necessary.That is why we are here with these finalists as proof that projects like ours expand with unstoppable strength.

– César Egido Cerrano
The booklet is available here:
DE

Goose Lane Editions / The Elephant Talks To God / Short Stories

If not for Easter – when?

 

Source: Goose Lane Editions

Re-Writing The Bible For Fun But No Profit

80d910b1114d4d787e41aaec2a3e03b7

(Image)https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/80/d9/10/80d910b1114d4d787e41aaec2a3e03b7.jpg

Some time ago I had an odd request – a very odd request, come to think of it – to re-write a portion of the New Testament. It is Luke 7 36-50, where Jesus is Anointed by a Sinful Woman. I was asked to write it from the woman’s point of view.

I met the man who made the commission at a Starbucks (his suggestion). He is a successful business man and owns and runs a professional corporation. He gave me the verses he wanted done and asked if I thought I would be able to do so. I said yes. I have the ability and the project intrigued me.  It would hold my interest.

He was not garrulous or forthcoming, and I refrained from asking him why he wanted this done. However, I did query the direction he might want the story to take. He was vague about that, also. A woman’s point of view. A woman of the times. I felt I pressed that issue strongly enough, even if I did not get much answer.

We discussed price. I told him what I thought such a project was worth. I explained it as an issue of time expended (even I wasn’t sure how much effort it would be). He agreed to an hourly price.

The end result is that he did not pay me. He disliked the finished story. I include the work and our email exchange at the end of the adventure. I wish he would have been as detailed in telling me what he wanted before the fact, instead of after.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Luke 7: 36-50
Jesus Anointed by a Sinful Woman
36 Now one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, so he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table.
37 When a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume,
38 and as she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.
39 When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.”
40 Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.”
“Tell me, teacher,” he said.
 41 “Two men owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii,[d] and the other fifty. 42Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he canceled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”
 43 Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt canceled.”
“You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.
 44 Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair.
45 You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet.
46 You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet.
47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.”
 48 Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
 49 The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”
50 Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
I would like to see this story told form the sinner lady point of view.
****************************************
What I did.
The woman was a sinner. Everyone in the village knew this and everyone treated her accordingly. She would sleep with men for money, and thus was shunned. Except by those men who used her and paid her. But when they were done with her, they shunned her, too. Men are like that, selfish and deceitful. She has earned her money. They have earned her contempt.
The woman had reasons for being a sinner. Her parents were old when she was born and she was a chore to them. Not only a chore perhaps, but their affection was watered down. Their interest in her was always coloured with annoyance. She did not do what they wanted. She did not think as they thought. She had desires which had left them years before, so they did not think them important. And she was a girl – good only as bait for a man to marry. She was a burden.
However, she had a life to live. Her parents said she should thank them for her life. She said that instead she would blame them. She would look after herself if that was the way it had to be. She would use the tools that God gave her, just like a carpenter uses his tools to build. If there is no help from her parents; if her village looks down on her; if a man won’t marry her; well, she’ll set out on her own.
And she did.
It was not difficult to become a success at what she did. When with a man all she had to do was move her body and tell them lies. Praise them. Make those sounds they want to hear. Make then happy and she had a repeat customer. Keep the foolish secrets they seemed to insist telling her to herself. They trusted her as they used her. She used their stories for her own good. Learned where to purchase the best goods. Learned who to avoid. Make a bit of money on speculation. Even the cheapest grave digger when the time came for each of her parents. Be able to keep her parents house and even put some money away. What was a reputation compared to this?
It was from her clients that she first heard of Jesus. Yet another desert prophet full of crazy talk. The rabble seemed to love him. The Pharisees warned against him. He talked as if his words were the words of God. He seemed to give strange interpretations of the stories in the Bible. He seemed to think that more than just the rich were important. The men she was with laughed at that, but it was nervous laughter. There was something about this Jesus which troubled them, but also interested them. It was not usual that her client’s talk included references to God.
It was also from one of her clients – a Pharisee who liked to brag – that she learned Jesus was going to visit her village. The Pharisees were not happy with Jesus. They did not like what he was preaching. People are not equal. People need their leaders. Give people such ideas and they will be harder to control. So one of the Pharisees was going to invite Jesus to dine at his home.
The sinful woman decided she would attend the dinner. It was enough of a public event that she doubted she would be turned away. She wanted to hear what this Jesus had to say. See what he looked like. She knew about men and she was certain she could tell if he was to be trusted. And, men being men, she would bring him a gift. Nothing suggestive, just a jar of perfume to sooth him after his journey. She would present it to him if what she was hearing about him turned out to be true.
When she arrived at the house, and heard what Jesus had to say, she understood why the rich and powerful feared him. She knew the truth when men spoke it, because she heard it little enough. Jesus offered her comfort and asked for no favours in return.
She approached Jesus and kneeled at his feet, weeping. She was so affected by his compassion that her tears caused streaks through the dust on his feet. She wiped away at the tears with her hair, sobbing all the while. She then began to pour the perfume on his feet, rubbing the scented oils into his skin to relieve the ache of his walking.
Although the woman did not look up, she heard the condemnation coming from the Pharisee. She cowered lower beside Jesus’ feet and was prepared to be mocked and told to know her place. Forced from the house. Instead, Jesus remained seated and told a story. He asked who would love a moneylender more, one who had a huge debt cancelled, or one who had a small debt cancelled? The Pharisee replied that the one with the larger debt would have more love. Jesus agreed.
Then Jesus looked at the woman and smiled. He spoke to the Pharisee, and took the time to detail the actions of the woman since he arrived. He compared what the woman had done to the neglect of his host. She had paid attention to him, kissed his feet again and again, soothed him with perfumed oil after his walk, took the time to make him comfortable. The Pharisee had done nothing to put him at his ease. So if the woman was a sinner, then she deserved to have all of her sins forgiven, for she had done much for him. Her love was the greater, for she had overcome the greater sins, whereas the Pharisee, regardless of his fewer sins, had done nothing.
Jesus then forgave the sins of the woman, and told her to go in peace. And although this outraged the Pharisee and his guests, and made them question the authority of Jesus, the woman left the house cleansed.
Email Exchange (over ten days)
Hi, *****:
Let me know what you think of the story.
Dale
………………………
Did you receive the Bible story?
Dale
…………………………
I’m starting to wonder if I have the correct email address, though nothing is bumped back. Did you receive the story? I am wondering what your reaction is.
Dale
……………………………..
I’ll try this address and hope to get a response.
Dale
………………………………..
Hi Mr. Dale,
I expected the story to shed the light on the values and habits of Jewish community at the time of Jesus. I would elaborate on the social rejection to the sinners who does not conform with the social rules. I would not picture her as a community defiant person. I would highlight her struggle with her temptations & her religious and community values. I would illustrate how the teachings of jesus to invite the sinners to repent made a difference to her. I would imply how her humplness made the difference between her and Simon.
I do not think that the story delivered the massage that we discussed.

DE

Letter To Kafka About Life And Government

Franz_Kafka_Brief_an_den_Vater_

Dear F K:

Although it will give you no pleasure – well, ‘little’ pleasure – you are correct in all your observations.

Governments become the tools of the bureaucracies which run them. It doesn’t matter what type of Government, from the monarchy under which you lived, to the right wing horror of fascists which called themselves socialists, to the inept socialism pretending to be ‘for the people’. All three governments held their sway over the city where you spent your life.  All three oppressed the people they ruled. All three looked after themselves first.

Writers are either writers or they aren’t. The urge to write encircles one like a snake around its prey. Feed it and it won’t quite squeeze you to death. You can not ignore it – even at your peril. It is with you every hour of every day, ever inquisitive and (sadly) always looking for something better.

Love is a see-saw of extremes. Every high guarantees a low. Every low reaches for a high. Every high reaches for a high. When these hills and valleys are eventually levelled, they are still desired.

Sex is highly over rated. The thing of it is, even rated fairly ’tis a consummation devoutly to be had.  Yes – I know – you appreciate Shakespeare. On a par with Goethe, even if you can’t bring yourself to say the words.

People are just one damned thing after another. Of course, so many people have brought you blessings that you throw up you hands to ward off the snake. Sometimes loosening its grip.

There is no castle with walls thick enough to hide against the perils of being human.  Which is why you never tried. Except the grave, of course. Except the grave.

Yours,

D

The Ghost Of A Chance In The Supernatural Workshop

ghoststoriesana00jamegoog_0252

I do give writing workshops, though few and far between. I doubt I can be classed as a specialist in anything, I am more a ‘nuts and bolts’ instructor. However, I do write a lot of supernatural material, and I am adept at dialogue. Both are fun to play around with.

I was blessed at one Supernatural workshop to have every student both interested, and showing an accomplishment in writing. There is, of course, more chance of this when they are laying down the big bucks, but it is still appreciated.

One of the students took me aback during the course of the day. She had handled my bizarre and distracting writing exercise with aplomb, which is always positive. However, in more general discussions, she balked at my dictat that writers must write at regular times, preferably every day.  She did not have the time (with young children at home). She even stole time when a child bathed, by scribbling quickly while watching the child. Although there was time in the late evening, she refused to intrude on that. She watched TV and let her mind rest. I can readily accept that part, as that is what I also do. I doubt I could be creative past nine o’clock  even if it meant I would win the Booker.

In the afternoon, she surprised me by, quite frankly, looking ten years younger. She was relaxed and more engaging. I like to think she was reacting to being able to be somewhere where all she had to do was deal with writing. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

In the course of further general discussion, she tossed off the fact that, the previous year, she had “written a novel”. At first we thought she was in jest. However, she was taking a course from some ‘by mail’ organization, where they give exercises and critiqued work returned to them. The woman who had no time, had written a novel in a year (besting me by a year and a half). I know from her writing abilities it would not be a poor novel, and, if nothing else, it was a foundation to other writing.  I don’t even know if she’ll submit it to a publisher – it was a learning exercise.

Kudos to her, said I, and every student agreed.

DE

(image) https://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/j/james/mr/antiquary/plates/ghoststoriesana00jamegoog_0252.jpg

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑