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It is a whirlwind in here

Author

Dale Estey

I owe my life to Hitler, though I never met the man. My father was paid to stop Hitler, so there is no conflict of interest. I was given a thunk on the back o' the head by God when I was fifteen, and within a week began to write. I haven't stopped. My first novel was accepted 'over the transom'. My first editor/author luncheon in New York included a naked man with roller skates at the next table. For the sake of research I have lain on Kafka's grave, but I did not weep. I wish upon my own gravestone the phrase "Thank God He Didn't Die A Virgin". There is truth in every truth - so watch out. My published novels include the popular fantasy A Lost Tale and the thriller The Bonner Deception. I also have two editions of humorous and spiritual short stories, The Elephant Talks to God, which are appreciated by both young and old. My manuscripts range from stories about unicorns and druids in the 'Passing Through Trilogy' to the 9/11 destruction of New York. I have filled in the missing diaries of Franz Kafka; recounted the first person dementia of a serial killer; explored the outrageous lifestyle of the famous; and listened in while an elephant and God converse. I currently switch my attention between the saga of a family of onion farmers, from Fourth century Italy to the present day, and a contemporary NATO thriller. I live in Canada and make Nova Scotia my home. I prefer to travel by train, but embrace the computer age with passion. I am always on the hunt for unique onion recipes.

Valentine’s Day And Kafka And Love

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(Kafka and his fiancée, Felice)

Contrary to popular belief, Kafka had a very full love life. He was rarely without a lady friend during any part of his life. When one left, another soon took her place.

This is a part of a letter he wrote to Felice, the woman he was engaged to – twice. I think it fair to say that she was long-suffering. I would think that the sentiments Kafka expresses might have given her second thoughts. Perhaps that is partly why there were two engagements.

Think what one will about Kafka’s romantic abilities, he was a chick magnet. Right to the end. After his funeral his last lover had to be restrained from leaping into his grave to be with him.

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11 November, 1912

Fräulein Felice!

I am now going to ask you a favor which sounds quite crazy, and which I should regard as such, were I the one to receive the letter. It is also the very greatest test that even the kindest person could be put to. Well, this is it:

Write to me only once a week, so that your letter arrives on Sunday — for I cannot endure your daily letters, I am incapable of enduring them. For instance, I answer one of your letters, then lie in bed in apparent calm, but my heart beats through my entire body and is conscious only of you. I belong to you; there is really no other way of expressing it, and that is not strong enough. But for this very reason I don’t want to know what you are wearing; it confuses me so much that I cannot deal with life; and that’s why I don’t want to know that you are fond of me. If I did, how could I, fool that I am, go on sitting in my office, or here at home, instead of leaping onto a train with my eyes shut and opening them only when I am with you?  … Franz

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While in the first year of his ‘love-of-a-lifetime’ affair with Felice Bauer,  he met “The Swiss Girl”. In his diaries she was only referred to as W. or G. W. They were together for ten days in a spa on Lake Garda.

She was a Christian. He was thirty, and she was eighteen. However the relationship (apparently sexually consummated) made a great impression on him for the rest of his life.

Research over the years  finally revealed who she is, and Google search even provides photos. Her name is Gerti Wastner.However, very little else (as far as I can find) is known about her.

Where did her life lead after an encounter with Kafka?

Here are some of Kafka’s actual diary entries about the incident.

 

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20 October 1913

I would gladly write fairy tales (why do I hate the word so?) that could please W. and that she might sometimes keep under  the table at meals, read between courses, and blush f

22 October 1913.

Too late. The sweetness of sorrow and of love. To be smiled at by her in the boat. That was most beautiful of all. Always only the desire to die and the not-yet-yielding; this alone is love.

Translated by Joseph Kresh

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And in the spirit of Valentine’s Day and Kafka, I’ll add a bit from my Kafka In The Castle

27 February 1917

A letter from F. I am beginning to think that we do not really see the people in front of us. F. has changed from a vibrant companion to a banal drudge. But, of course, she has not really changed. She is neither of these things, but rather a combination. She is a person living through her life, and what I see reflected are my wants and fears. I want F. to share my tiny house, but I am ever fearful she might say yes.

04 June 1917

Sometimes – with F – a kiss could make me feel I was becoming part of her. And she into me. I retreated.

05 June 1917

Had I not retreated, I would have given up myself. This is what is expected from love. My thoughts and emotions would be continually extracted. I have no way to replenish them, so I would eventually be hollowed out. And I would collapse.

05 July 1917

I will meet Felice – it is what she wants. It is what must be done. She is coming to Prague, and will no doubt fit in perfectly. My parents approve of her – more, I suspect, than they approve of me. She’ll be insulted by this tiny house – it will be found wanting and crude. Some of those annoying qualities she hints about me.

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Winter In Canada With Bear And Dog And Snow

After a late winter snow storm, Grosvenor Park, North Bethesda, MD, USA.

I post this winter tale  when the snow decides to storm and the wind shakes the trees and there in nary a bird to see. It happened a few years ago, and hints at the rougher side of Nature, which is so often just around the corner in Canada.

Some years in the past, I looked after a dog whilst her owners went out of town.

Tibbit is a big, friendly dawg who likes inspecting piles of leaves. She has a long lead which her benevolent human allows to go as far as possible. She knows (better than her accompanying human) that there are treats at the end of each walk.

On Saturday I didn’t get Tibbit out until after dark. We skirted the university (where her masters work) and went up a street bordering the campus. We both liked the Christmas lights. Near the top of the street we met an inebriated gentleman warning us of a bear in the surrounding woods.

“Flush him out,” said he, “And I’ll get my 3 aught 3.”

“Get the rifle first,” I replied, and we went our respective ways.

Now Tibbit and I doubted the veracity of the gentleman, so when we came to a trail through the woods, we took it. I will admit I did peer more intently into the gloom than usual, but one trail led to a larger trail which led back to the university. We advanced without incident.

On Sunday I again walked Tibbit toward the university, though from a different direction. It was a crisp, clear day and she gamboled (as much as the leash allowed ) through the new fallen snow. Sunshine gleamed. This time we were on the other side of the campus, but our walk eventually led to a position about half a mile away from where we were the previous evening.

We followed another trail into the woods and admired the sun through the fir trees. The path was wide and sloped. It came to turn some distance away which would lead us even closer to where we were the day before.

At the top of the slope Tibbit stopped dead in her tracks. She stared and stared. She glanced briefly into the woods but mainly kept staring along the trail. I saw nothing nor heard anything (and I was intent upon both).

Tibbit did not move and made not a sound. She just kept staring.

After a solid two minutes of this I started to backtrack and she made no complaint.

You betcha she got her dog treats.

(image)buckscountyandbeyond.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Winter-Storm-1-26-15-1024×770.jpg

Is There A Warehouse In Hell For Telemarketers?

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Here we go again. Almost the same scenario this morning, although the speaker was a female. Same cover-tossing on my part, same worry. that something was wrong. My response was so abrupt, however, that I was the party hung-up upon. At least these incidents have been reduced.

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The phone rang too early for decent folk this morning, but that can mean there is a problem, so I tossed off the covers and answered.

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

Hello?

[jumbled static, tweeps, gurgle, hollow and distant voices]

Hello?

Heelooo. Heelooo.

Hello?

Heelooo. Eeeestay. Is there Eeeestay?

What do you want?

Eeeestay [static and hollow voices in the distance] Eeeestay, danger to your computer. I can save.

You are lying through your teeth. You know nothing about my computer.

Wha… Eeeestay. I can save your computer.

You are lying through your teeth.

Idiot! [abrupt hangup]

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All of which put me in mind of a blog  I wrote a couple of years ago of a conversation I had with – possibly – this fellow’s brother

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I have a degree of sympathy for telemarketers. I spent a couple of months training to work in a call centre.  I was mainly to deal with customer complaints. It was the least offensive such job I could find. But I could just not remember all the stages I was supposed to go through, or keep track of all the various information tabs on my screen. I did not make it through ‘training’.

My modicum of sympathy, and not being totally sure when I first answered that it was a marketing call, made me embark on the following conversation. No, it is not verbatim (I didn’t record it for quality control). And it is condensed. I admit, a certain fascination of just experiencing it, kept me on the line.

To anyone else without a writer’s perversion, do as I say and don’t do as I do.

Hang up.

Telemarketer: “Hello.”

Me: “Hello.”

[long pause]

T: “Hello there.”

M: “Hello.” [another long pause] “Hello. How can I help you?”

T: “Help me?”

M: “Yes. What do you want?”

T: “Are you the Lord?”

M: “The Lord?”

T: “That you can help me.”

M: “Good Lord. What do you want?”

T: “I have the Lord. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.”

M: “You make your Lord annoyed.”

T: “Ha ha ha ha ha lo lo lo lo lo lo moo moo moo.”

M: “You’re speechless.”

T: Moo moo moo moo maa maa maa.”

M: “You sound drunk.”

T: “I’ll put my dick on your ass.”

M: “What?”

T: “And show it to your wife.”

M: “It would give her a laugh.”

T: “And I’ll do your dog.”

M: “That’s fine. My dog bites.”

T: “Your wife will have a big smile.”

M: “What about my dog?”

T: “Lick a dick.”

[At this point I begin to feel I am as bad as him. I stop.]

T: “Here is dick. Moo moo moo moo. Hello. Where’s the wife?”

[Silence]

T: “Hello Hello. Got my dick out.”

[Silence – though I still wonder where this might go. Then he starts talking to a voice I can’t hear.]

T: “Sorry, Sir.”

T: “It’s a real call.”

T: “The number is … [my correct phone number]

T: “He is [the wrong name]

T: “I am calling [correct city].”

T: “He lives at

.”

T: “It is in [correct country]“.

T: “I understand, Sir.”

T: “It is time.”

T: “No, Sir. You don’t have trouble.”

T: “Yes, Sir. I can do that.”

T: “I’ll phone back in fifteen minutes.”

[There are no further phone calls.]

(image)http://www.toptenz.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/robot-telemarketer.jpg

Spring Onions and Gruyere Pizza

via Spring Onions and Gruyere Pizza

Spring Onions and Gruyere Pizza

Spring onions are in season from late spring and early summer! The Gruyere imparts a nutty flavor on the homemade dough for a simple meal.

Source: Spring Onions and Gruyere Pizza

You’re In The Army Now

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Bus rides do give one time to observe people – particularly a bus trip longer than one might want to take.

So, I had time on my hands to observe the fellow across the aisle. I’ll take a guess at early thirties, well-dressed, though well-dressed for travel on a bus. He had a fashionable pea coat, tailored jeans, and rugged dressy boots or dressy rugged boots. He was of slender but muscular build, with short hair and a chiseled face.  The man exuded military.

He had a neatly appointed carry bag for his food stuffs. It seemed each compartment had its own designation. There was one for sandwiches, one for granola bars, one for fruit. There was even a compartment for a slender, space age-looking thermos. I am not certain what it might have held.

When he used his iPhone, though I was too far away to actually read anything, I noted  the cycle of images he went through.  There was a deep red shield with a crest and wings; a large silver image of vertical slashing lightning bolts; and a photo of an almost-smiling attractive brunette. Whatever messages he sent seemed to consist of only a couple of lines of text, all done with his thumb.

About half way through the trip he took a book from another case. It was large enough to read the title across the aisle. It was “Merry Hell: The Story of the 25th Battalion (Nova Scotia Regiment), Canadian Expeditionary Force, 1914-1919” .

No, I wasn’t able to read all that from across the aisle, but a book search of key words led me to it a few minutes ago. And a fitting tale, think I, for a military chap.

When the bus reached its destination, he kindly indicated that I could precede him to disembark. For which I thanked him. And, as I waited to get my luggage, I saw him embraced – fulsomely – by the attractive brunette on his iPhone. A smiling brunette. An embrace he, as-fulsomely, returned.

 

 

Kafka Greets February, The Shortest Month Of The Year

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In Kafka In The Castle, I fill in the ‘missing’ diary entries from Kafka’s real diary. He either did not fill in these days himself, or he destroyed them. There are some estimates that Kafka destroyed 70% – 80% of everything he wrote.

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01 February 1917

A particularly tedious day at the office, which stretched like a bridge over an abyss.

Perhaps to mock yesterday’s comments – the month so short and the day so long.

I am sometimes afraid of the white, and sometimes of the black, but my deepest horror is for the destroying grey of life.

When it is grey and senseless, it starves your feelings of oxygen, and then you really and truly die.

It is said that Jesus raised the dead (though I never understood why), and our own Prague rabbi created the Golem to help out in this world.

All I can do is scratch ink upon the page.

Talking And Reading About The Elephant And God

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Tracked down to my own apartment, I give a sample reading from my book of short stories, “The Elephant Talks To God”. And I explain the genesis of the book. Gotta say, it might have been more entertaining to emote some of the Elephant’s poetry.

http://www.authorsaloud.com/prose/estey.html

The book:

From The Elephant Talks To God:

The elephant was a curious pachyderm, and followed his persistent quest with a guileless intensity.

“More lucky than smart,” said some of the other elephants, as he blundered his way toward another piece of knowledge. They nodded their heads in his direction with the heavy weight of caution, and warned their small ones that too much thought would make them strange.

“An elephant wades in water,” they would sagely say, “only if the mud hole is wide enough.”

And the little ones would watch him, as they stood between the legs of their parents, and wish that they could follow.

Beef and Stout Stew Over Mashed Potatoes

 

  • 1 medium-large onion, chopped
  • 2 large cloves chopped garlic
  • 5 carrots, chopped in medium chunks
  • 1 pound cremini or white button mushrooms
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 1 12-oz bottle of dark stout (such as Guinness)
  • [and other stuff]

via Beef and Stout Stew Over Mashed Potatoes

 

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