“Blame it on Kafka”, I’d shout whenever I’d come to my senses and whenever someone at school would try to play as a child which I was not a child I wasn’t a child. I wasn’t. No, not a child.
No. When your are given Kafka’s Complete Works at age 12 to read – and begin at the beginning, when was that? That is when it all started.
Let’s say it all started when Gregor Samsa wakes up from bad dreams and realizes , well…no point here. No point. I realized quite simply that I could also wake up as an insect the next morning. Even worse. I could be arrested without a reason, be tried without having committed a crime. I could have the gates to the Castle shut in my face, the forbidden gates made just for me, shut onto my shut eyes. Shut right as I got there to enter with my frowned forehead.
Worse! I could be tortured by a machine in a penal colony. A torturing device that would inscribe in my skin (with the help of a intricate clockwork of needles), every little misdemeanor or every time I cheated or every parking violation, every time I ran away with a slice of unpaid pizza in my hand as a teenager, no, no, TOO MUCH!!! Too much!
Yes, blame it on Kafka.
Or blame it on Emile Zola. Or on Marx. Or on Borges. Or on Joyce.
No, Joyce doesn’t come into my life until much much MUCH later.
Before Joyce, there is what I call the “German Parade”: my father would parade Heinrich Heine, Schiller, Goethe and Goethe and more Goethe – Yes, you heard me! Goethe!
The father and the mother of modernity and / or modernism: Goethe. The Goethe of Werther, the ultra romantic, the Goethe of Faust (meFist, meFaust, same thing, both creatures, one creatures reduced to “ONE-FIST”), the Goethe-the-Mayor-of-Weimar and the Goethe-of-the Einbahnstrasse – the one way system. The one way system which lead to city blocks, square city urban planning and all because he looked out of the window in Parma, Italy and looked at the confusion and, having written about the pact with eternity and destroying the past (something I share profoundly and Kafka does too), he could simply BUILD the future, rebuild the future into a more organized manner, less chaotic and more organized.
But WAIT. Organization may lead to Orwell. Organization may lead to control. Organization may lead to Huxley so…..what? What then? Cameras everywhere? 1984? No, surely not.
That isn’t what Goethe had in mind….or is it?
Was there a Hitler in Goethe’s Weimar Republic’s future? Hey, wait a second. What are you insinuating? What am I insinuating?
Yes, Gregor woke up slowly
I wouldn’t. I always jump out of bed in a quick move. Only to make sure I haven’t turned into a bug yet.
But I’m pretty damn close.
December 14, 2012