Gregor Samsa was Never in The Beatles

by - Wednesday, August 30, 2017

As found in Volume 2, Issue 1

Gregor Samsa was Never in The Beatles by J. J. Steinfeld

All Roland did was mention to the eleven others in the room that he hadn’t accomplished everything he had wanted in his life. He is fairly certain there was no self-pity or despair in his voice when he said that, but the young man sitting next to him at the weekend creative-writing workshop retreat, a half-century younger than him, Roland estimates, barely out of university, he looks at Roland and his eyes reflect something even worse than self-pity or despair. Why had he gone to this retreat, Roland thinks. Impulsiveness, idiocy, foolishness, silliness, he’s willing to say, hurrying through a frayed thesaurus of self-doubt. Since his retirement five years ago Roland has attempted to write about his life, but with little success. Each writing workshop makes him feel more inadequate, even less the writer, yet he continues to go, as if it is part of his punishment for having been a less than successful husband and father. The writing workshops don’t even help ease his loneliness. Wasn’t that why he really goes? Five years retired, ten years divorced.

“Retired from what?” the instructor had asked earlier, and Roland said from jobs he despised. “Write about that,” she ordered, giving Roland a new job that he couldn’t embrace.


J. J. Steinfeld Fiction writer, poet, and playwright J. J. Steinfeld lives on Prince Edward Island, where he is patiently waiting for Godot’s arrival and a phone call from Kafka. While waiting, he has published eighteen books, including Should the Word Hell Be Capitalized? (Stories, Gaspereau Press), Anton Chekhov Was Never in Charlottetown (Stories, Gaspereau Press), Would You Hide Me? (Stories, Gaspereau Press), Misshapenness (Poetry, Ekstasis Editions), Identity Dreams and Memory Sounds (Poetry, Ekstasis Editions), Madhouses in Heaven, Castles in Hell (Stories, Ekstasis Editions), An Unauthorized Biography of Being (Stories, Ekstasis Editions), and Absurdity, Woe Is Me, Glory Be (Poetry, Guernica Editions).

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