An Author in Progress

This is where you'll find me trying to mould myself into a respectable writer - it may take sometime...
You'll find anything from a piece of experimental creative writing, some thoughts on my novel developments, to even the occasional literature-based academic paper.

Monday, 24 January 2011

Kafka, coffee, and a short story review.

Eeps it's been a while.

I've been totally caught up in essays and overdosing on coffee to keep me awake, but having just been buzzed by a Twitter buddy I'm reminded about why this undergraduate course I'm on is opening fun doors. Being on the editorial team for our university fiction magazine is bringing heaps of reading fun my way. I'm also reading Goethe, Camus and Kafka at the moment[Can anyone PLEASE! tell me there's more significance to Gregor's father imbedding an apple into his mutated body than Nabokov would argue], so it's been fun to break away from the philosophically absurd, existentialist mood I have been falling into to review a short story... Ah the irony.

The Nothingness by Draven Ames

A moment in time and only one afternoon creates the framework for this 'story of the month' (for online SNM Magazine), in which the protagonist, John's visit to his deceased father's house reveals horrors that go beyond the boundaries of family issues.

'This is the story of a girl named Imagination' … a really clever opening sentence that drew me to read on. Some very philosophical thoughts conveyed with, in places, some truly poetic dialogue. Before the end of this visceral horror short, I was completely reading metaphors alluding to notions about cultural disillusionment, oil controversy and the crumbling of the family unit. As for 'Meaning without substance' says the Nothingness to John, she certainly makes herself visible.

I'm really lucky to have read an earlier draft and was really enthused by Draven's keenness to take on feedback and his ability to really go with it. I do, however think that he can do more with this storyline. It's obvious his mind works in the novel framework for the depth of what he is trying to communicate through this short. I almost want him to get John to take Imagination's mad sister out of the attic with him and wreak her on the West! Maybe we could do with a little shake up.

Draven Ames is a published author from Oregon, USA, with a completed novel to his list of achievements. An ex-paratrooper and real family man, he's a young writer – in my opinion, with real potential. All the best of luck to him as he recommences education and refines his craft. I know there's even more quality to come.

If you get a chance pop by the SNM online magazine ( check this out. Draven really welcomes your comments and feedback.

Find him on Twitter as Draven_Ames or find his webpage at


  1. Thank you very much Sandra. Thank you for helping to shape this story during beta reads. I'm not sure I'd be doing much of a novel with this, but I could see it making an appearance in a story or two. At some point, all my stories will touch my first novel's world.

    How have studies been going? You work so hard, so I really appreciate the time and effort you put into this. Would you mind if I shared it?

    I want to check out this "Camus and Kafka" book. Will you be reviewing it? You write magnificent reviews.

    Draven Ames

  2. Hi Draven.

    It was my pleasure!

    As for Kafka and Camus. Albert Camus wrote some great works - the one I read was The Outsider. Beautiful, futile and existential. It's the story of a solitary young man, Meursault, who seems to separate himself from feeling in the standard way and - now quoting Camus - 'wihout any heroic pretentions, agrees to die for the truth'. I read a translation by Joseph Laredo. It's on my bookshelf for eternity.

    As for Franz Kafka, I started reading his short, short stories then Investigations of a Dog, which I defy anyone not to weep at.

    Kafka, also an Absurdist (one of the most relevant philosophical/art movements of the Twentieth century in my small opinion)is probably best known for Metamorphosis (written in 1915). The narrative follows a young man who wakes up one morning to find he cannot go to work because he has turned into a huge insect.
    There's a slow deteriorating rejection by his family, and of course the whole thing is a notion, so happy endings but a very stunning resolution. It wouldn't be faithful if there was.

    I really don't feel qualified to comment on these works but for the sole purpose of advocating them as essential reads - for anyone who is serious about the craft of writing and of being conscious.

    There, Sandra's bookish waffle over.

  3. urg... no happy endings!!!!!! I hate commenting.. it's uneditable. There is no happy ending for metamorphosis' Gregor.

  4. They both sound like books I need to get into. Right now, I'm pushing my way through Descartes again. Learning all the language and understanding it the way he intended can be daunting. Your reading and editing is very valuable. When you become an editor, I'll submit.

  5. Aah, Descartes... no wonder your head's pounding! Of course what he intended was for his contemporary audience. I think there's always room for new interpretation ;)