“I have now, and have had since this afternoon, a great yearning to write all my anxiety entirely out of me, write it into the depths of the paper just as it comes out of the depths of me, or write it down in such a way that I could draw what I had written into me completely.”
— Franz Kafka
Whenever something is bothering me, and I am overcome with running thoughts, the best way to relieve that anxiety is to write my thoughts down. Afterwards, I almost always feel better and the running thoughts subside. Simply writing about my fears and worries helps in easing them. Why is that?
Work for Idle Hands was originally written in 2016 as a 9,000-word short story. At that time I was still pursuing screenwriting in tandem with prose writing, so I decided to adapt the story into a screenplay. But after unsuccessfully trying to pitch the screenplay to agents and producers, I decided to re-adapt it back into prose form, but longer since I had expanded the original short story when adapting it into movie form. This final version is a sort of amalgam of the short story and screenplay, which I expanded upon further. The final word count is triple the length of the original short story, at almost 30,000 words. I think this novella version is the best of the three. The novella may be my favorite form for a story. It is the perfect length to tell a full story and develop characters without getting bogged down by side-plots.
“The Hunger Artist” is one of Franz Kafka’s most well-known short stories. It’s about a man who is a hunger artist—that is, he sits in a cage and fasts for upwards of forty days as crowds walk by to watch and admire his feat. The story is often viewed as an allegory, though interpretations vary. In my opinion, Kafka’s story of the hunger artist is a metaphor for Kafka’s own life as a “starving artist.”
The Metamorphosis is a novella about Gregor Samsa, a traveling salesman who wakes up one day to find himself transforming into a giant insect. As his transformation progresses, Gregor locks himself in his room, quits his job, and isolates himself from his family and the rest of society. Gregor’s parents and sister are repulsed as he becomes less and less human and more and more insect-like, until finally in the end…
Based on Franz Kafka’s diaries and letters, scholars agree that the author suffered from depression and social anxiety throughout his life. The Metamorphosis could therefore be interpreted as Kafka’s way of writing about his mental state. With that in mind, could the “metamorphosis” in The Metamorphosis be a metaphor for someone developing social anxiety? (Talk about meta…)Continue reading →