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Women In Hardhats Are Sexy – Yes, You Can Thank Franz Kafka

On the bus this evening ,a young lady in a “Security” uniform got on. She was also wearing a hardhat – a snazzy grey hardhat,

This took me back to the days (and many things take me back to the days) when I knew a couple who worked in the movie trade. He was a cameraman and she was an editor – though each knew the others job pretty well.

They were dealing with a scene where a construction company was renovating an old building. It was being shot on location beside a real old building (a railway station) that had fallen into great disrepair. There were big machines, piles of dirt, construction supplies and construction ‘workers’.

The scene focused on two women who were (if I remember) partners in the construction firm. They were on site to direct the operation. A whole scene had been shot, showing the work in progress and various conversations between the two actresses.

But then everything was hauled to a stop.

One of the “producers” (that is, someone who was supplying the money) had an idea. Which is never good from folk who are not expected to have any ‘creative’ say. They are there to count the dollars and cents.

However, this fellow wanted the whole scene (a morning’s work with actors and machines and crew) re-shot. He wanted the two actresses to wear hardhats. He liked to see women in hardhats,

Well, Buddy was helping pay the bills, and everyone would just get paid twice for doing the scene again. And maybe the different lighting would not be noticed.

So, hardhats were found and the whole thing was shot again.

And – yes – we can thank Franz Kafka for this, because he invented the hardhat through his work with the “Workers’ Accident Insurance Institute for the Kingdom of Bohemia.”

And, decades later, I have used this dilapidated railway station as a setting for one of the chapters in my current novel – though there are no hardhats.

Death Mask And The Creative Spirit

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My two gals, Alison Alexandra and her friend, Amanda, went 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.

Rules For Writing + One Non-Rule Rule

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1: Write regularly. Daily might be extreme, but try to be extreme.
2: When in doubt / take it out.
3: At the end of your writing day, do not complete the action/description/dialogue – but know what it is. Start with this known at your next writing time. 90% of the time you will slide right back into the work.

4: Eschew, Ignore and Abandon All Hope Ye Who Enter Here, the notion that there are no rules. There are rules to everything. Artistic Creation demands rules.

5: Follow your characters.
6: Follow your characters.
7: Follow your characters.

 

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