As 2010 ended, with five glorious hours reading Kafka’s diaries on a 777 from Singapore, so shall 2011 begin. My Kafka immersion will continue well into the month, slowly digesting the diaries with a parallel reading of the short stories. Inevitably my reading will flow into the letters and notebooks.
It is almost unbearable, exquisitely so, to inhabit Kafka’s world as he struggles to conceive of his stories.
My job is unbearable to me because it conflicts with my only desire and my only calling, which is literature. Since I am nothing but literature and can and want to be nothing else, my job will never take possession of me, it may, however shatter me completely, and this is by no means a remote possibility.
Is there another artist that could make such a claim: I am nothing but literature, and for the reader to understand, to agree wholeheartedly. In Kafka this is no empty, pompous boast. It is clear he feels this pressure with every sinew of his existence.