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Battle Of Britain Day And My Father’s War

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Battle of Britain Day is 15 September. On that day in 1940, the German Air Force accepted that they could not sustain an air invasion of Britain. They ceased their daytime attacks, and resorted to only attacking at night.
 
 
I just realized today that my father, a soldier in the Canadian Army (whose prime military involvement in the Second World War was the invasion of Sicily and Italy), actually had greater personal hardship from events dealing with the air invasion of Britain, than the acute danger he faced during his land invasion.
 
 
The first thing that comes to mind is that he hated the confinement of bomb shelters, and would not use them. He would wander the streets and watch the air action. He saw bombs explode, and planes (of both sides) get shot down. He recounted one experience of seeing a German pilot parachuting to the ground, after bailing from his plane. A very young soldier aimed his rifle at the descending airman and was ready to shoot. An officer knocked his rifle aside. The soldier started to cry, yelling “They bring me over here, and they train me, but they won’t let me kill a damn German.”
 
 
On one occasion, my father went on leave with a group of soldiers, including his three best buddies. They were always together. However, my father also spent time with my mother (she was a British girl, and became his War Bride). As a result, my father did not return on the same truck that his buddies did, but spent as much time on leave as he could with my mother. When he did return to his barracks, he was greeted by shock and disbelief. The truck he was supposed to return in had been struck by a direct hit from a German bomber. It had just been assumed that one of the mangled corpses was his.
 
 
And the third thing, which I believe he only mentioned once, concerned an incident that happened near one of his British postings. His company was often moved and placed elsewhere during the three years he was in Britain. They would stay in each place a few months, and make friends with the local people. Near one of these postings there was a Boy’s School, mainly of younger teenagers. The boys were interested (indeed, fascinated) by the Canadian soldiers, and spent time with them. One day the school was bombed, and the soldiers were first into the ruined building. My father was eventually to see things more horrible than this slaughter, but I feel it affected him the worst.

Kafka Ponders Friday 13th And The Love Of A Good Woman

 

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In my novel, Kafka In The Castle, I fill in the missing entries of his actual diaries.  There are many days to fill, as he either did not write during these days, or he destroyed the record.

Kafka did have occasion to ponder Friday 13th. The date was connected to “The Swiss Girl”, whom he met at a resort.  She was eighteen and he was thirty-four. It is unclear how intimate their relationship became.

Twice, I give him a brief recognition of Friday 13th. In reality, The Swiss Girl haunted him (pleasantly) all his life.

**************************************

13 April 1917

I almost wrote down the year as 1913. That was the year I met the Swiss girl. And I remember her joking about, and how we had missed it by just a day. She was superstitious – Christians seem to be. I wonder what precautions she is taking today. It will be three years and seven months since I saw her. Yet some of the things we did could have happened last week. I think that memory must be made of rubber.  You can sometimes pull it toward yourself – and sometimes it snaps away like a shot. Causing as much pain.

13 July 1917

Friday the 13th again. What better time to think of the Swiss girl, than with F. I don’t know if such memories help sustain me, or if they revel how intolerable the future can sometimes be. I can not imagine the Swiss girl’s face across the table from me, nor her voice singing one of her quiet songs. If I must be trapped, then why can’t I be trapped in the past?

[The Swiss Girl ~ Gerti Wasner] p8.storage.canalblog.com/89/52/207513/106933578_o.gif

Ziva Returns To The Cover Of TV Guide

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I was one with thousands of my fellow NCIS viewers at the end of last season, when the total surprise in the last minute of the show unfolded. My jaw did indeed fall open and I did indeed literally say “Wow – no way!” and I then added the yell “Ziva!”

I gotta say, I’m actually pleased that I did not see this coming.

 
I’m glad my entertainment, at the end of its 16th season, is still figuratively ‘knocks my socks off’. And it did so after an episode that was already suitably bizarre, in both plot and characterisation. This show ain’t rolling over for no one…


NCIS is television of a different ilk, but it still manages to keep its followers where they should be – on the edge of their seats.
 
It appears Ziva’s return will not be a ‘one-off’. I don’t know what arc they’ll put Ziva through, but I hope it takes many episodes Whatever transpires, I will be of good cheer.
 
Shalom aleichem, Ziver!

Margaret Atwood Travels Further Than Ever – Blessed Be!

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I have noted some folk looking at this post from a couple of years ago. I had put it up because of the success of the television series, A Handmaid’s Tale.

Now, Ms. Atwood has produced a new novel, The Testaments, [which, by the way, has a brilliant front and back cover] with an international launch from London, England. I can humbly state that my part in her literary life remains the same.

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

It was not my intent to piss off Margaret Atwood.

The opposite, in fact. I wanted her to know she was an inspiration.

She was giving a reading at the University of New Brunswick in my student days. I attended, but there was quite the gathering and she was whisked away at the end. However, I overheard there was a ‘gathering’ in her honour. Invitation only, of course. Academia and literati.

I crashed the party (that was the term used by the professor who clapped his sturdy hand upon my shoulder but – happily – did not thrust me into the night).

But Ms. Atwood was kept deep in many a learned conversation and I had no opportunity to converse. I did, however, overhear where she would be spending next afternoon – the historic University Observatory.

Next day I knocked upon the Observatory door.

It was not a cheerful Margaret Atwood who answered, and answered with alacrity.

She asked my name.

She asked my business.

And she asked how the hell I knew where she was. She had stolen the day to do some writing. Some ‘real’ writing, in this window-of-opportunity grudgingly offered on the book tour.

At least I was there to praise Atwood and not to bury her with some essay question.

Nor had I a manuscript to hand to her.

I might not have garnered a smile, but her curt thank you was reward enough.

For me, at least.

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1976write: 10 Curious Workplaces of Famous Writers

via 1976write: 10 Curious Workplaces of Famous Writers

1976write: 10 Curious Workplaces of Famous Writers

As long as one did not nod off for too long.

10. Dame Edith Sitwell would start her day’s writing lying in a coffin.

Source: 1976write: 10 Curious Workplaces of Famous Writers

Hurricane Dorian Approaches, And it’s Déjà Vu

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When I last waited for a hurricane, it was a number of years ago. Then – as now, while I await Dorian – I could sense nothing in the air as the storm churned and crashed and destroyed up the Atlantic coast in my general direction. The skies have been clear and cloudless and pristine. The ocean is calm. The weather invites to sit out on lawn chairs.
I found I wrote about the experience at the time, including an odd exchange with a fellow working at the port, waiting for the hurricane (Arthur) to see what it would do to his work. maybe that fellow is wondering the same thing today, and stacking those containers to keep them on the dock.
As of 16:00 AST, the sky is nearly total cloud and the wind is up.
***************

The hurricane is coming tomorrow. I have found that when I try to experience a hurricane when it is actually upon us, I don’t get to see very much. Wind and rain, fog and cloud. Often you can’t see across the street.

So I went down to the harbour today. Hours before the storm, though reports indicated there would be waves. It certainly was cloudy. There are new docks at the Container terminal, and one can go out (or so it looks) almost a third of the way into the harbour. On a cement walkway which is fenced off from the terminal itself.

Had I not known a hurricane was coming, I would have noticed little change. The white caps which are always present at one of the points of the shore were longer and higher. There was a lot of stirred-up vegetation in the water, and a noticeable number of jelly fish. In an hour I saw but two sea birds, one cormorant and one seagull. One ship went out and one ship came in. There was no excessive wind, and though the clouds roiled more than usual, not by much.

As I stood standing, one of the huge trucks which move the containers came to a roaring stop behind me. I though this odd as there were no container ships at berth. The driver apparently wanted to talk.

“Are you going to jump?”

I assured him I was not.

“Well – the only people I see standing here are fishing.”

He was on a break and had time to kill. All the while listening closely to the two-way radio which exploded information from his cab, he nattered away. There had been higher and numerous white caps two hours earlier, but they had calmed. The small container ship I had seen leaving (and I wondered where it might be headed, for it was obviously a coastal vessel) was going to the islands of St-Pierre et Miquelon, a small group of islands in the North Atlantic Ocean, south of Newfoundland and LabradorHe wished the boat well. So did I.

He talked some more (commenting, for instance, about the terrific view from the cab of the gigantic cranes). But he now had to leave.

“I have to change the fours and threes into twos.”

“Pardon me?” asked I.

“For the storm tomorrow. Where we have containers on the dock stacked three and four high, we have to level all the stacks off to two high. Don’t want the wind knocking them over.”

I couldn’t tell which ship had left port, but I did note the one which scurried in. It was a Research Vessel, the Western Patriot. And damned happy (I would guess) to have made it to port.

[Image] https://static.nationalgeographic.co.uk/files/styles/desktop/public/hurricane-dorian.jpg

QWERTY of the World – Unite (do Not Untie)

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When In Rome!

There was:

an Abyssinian (I made her),

an Albanian,

a Bolshevik,

a Brataslzvian (he was worst),

a Brazilian,

a Canadian,

a Cannibal (uh-oh),

a Colombian (smoking hot),

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

a Dominican,

a Druid (he prayed for the Dominican),

a Druze,

an Eatonian,

an Estonian,

a Fool (ha ha),

a Freizen,

a Gazian,

a Graduate,

a Haligonian,

a Helgolandian (he was and gone),

an Israeli,

an Iranian,

an Iraqi (they three went into a bar),

a Jamaican,

a Japanese,

a Kazistanian,

a Kurd,

a Lithuanian,

a Lush (one in every crowd),

a Mongolian,

a Monster (them is the odds),

a Nederlander,

a Norwegian,

an Olympian (he was game),

an Opportunist (coulda been me),

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

a Québécoise (I’ll never forget her / Je me souviens),

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

a Scandinavian,

a Southerner (I melt when she says ‘Y’all) ,

a Stevedore,

a Transvalanian (out for blood),

an Ukrainian,

an Unitarian,

a Vulcan (he was eerie),

a Waalloon,

a Wisenheimer,

an Xanaduian (and on her dulcimer she played),

an Xaverian (he shot daggers at the Dominican),

a Yugoslavian

and

a Zarahthustain (thus he spoke a lot)

The Canadian won the first game.

 

[Image] https://droidbox.co.uk/media/catalog/product/cache/1/image/9df78eab33525d08d6e5fb8d27136e95/1/a/1a_2.png

Rejection Takes Many Forms – And Comes At Any Time

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I glean many sources after information of which agents and which editors have purchased recent books that are similar to one of my manuscripts.
When I find someone I think will be compatible to my work, I research them. Then, if I think they would have a reasonable interest in my manuscript (and there can be a variety of reasons) I’ll send a query letter.
I prefer to go through this process of finding names a number of times in a row, instead of finding a compatible person, then immediately sending a query. So, when I find a person I plan to contact, I send this information to myself in an email. It can be weeks before I actually send a query to an agent or editor, and then it can be two or more months before I hear a reply.
I came across information that John le Carré has a new book coming out the end of this year. I adore John le Carré. This announcement unusually named both his agent and editor. I sent both to myself, and eventually wrote queries.
Recently I had a rejection for my NATO Thriller. It was a refusal sent through the portal of an agency (which happens more and more). Since it was not an actual response by the agent, I had to go to my Sent file to see who I had sent the query to.
Uh-huh – it was the same agent as John le Carré. So, I actually got rejected before I sent the query.
Well – anyway – that’s how writers think.

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