I have been busy out of my mind with work lately. It’s the end of the term, which always leaves me feeling overwhelmed and tired. So, I have had no time blog. However, I thought I would do a quickie on one of my favorite authors… Franz Kafka.
Why Kafka? Well, he has been on my mind a lot lately since I recommended him to a student for the final paper in my World Authors class. I love, love, love all that is existential, especially when it is offbeat and a little dark. I once argued with another teacher that Hamlet is existential… yes I know that Shakespeare had no idea what existentialism is because Sartre wasn’t even born yet. However, Hamlet is existential. To be, or not to be... existential! Have you ever watched the movie Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead? Existential! If you haven’t seen it, you must.
*Ponders why all of her conversations move to Shakespeare*
He’s the man… what can I say?
Erm, yes, we were talking about Kafka. I suggested that my student read The Metamorphosis. Who doesn’t love a story about a man that turns into something akin to a cockroach? It’s great stuff! When I taught this story (novella) to my highschool students, I let them draw pictures of Gregor Samsa, the bug, crawling around his living quarters. They were stoked! Not quite the visual anyone wants, but it’s a fantastic story. Of course the bug is merely Kafka’s idea of symbolism, thank God. If you haven’t read The Metamorphosis, you must! You simply must! Some of Kafka’s other stories include In the Penal Colony, The Hunger Artist, The Judgement, A Country Doctor, etc. Terrific stuff!
The most important reason that I am bringing up Kafka is that he had no confidence in his own writing. In fact, he wanted his manuscripts to be destroyed upon his death (he died from tuberculosis). Luckily, his friend didn’t listen, and he published them anyway. One of those manuscripts was Kafka’s magnum opus, The Trial.
Well, fellow writers… what can we learn from this? Not to give up? Not to trust our manuscripts to friends with intent to publish our work when we croak? Not to argue with Litgirl about Hamlet?