Keeping a diary

Franz Kafka's journal

Summer is on the way, and there's no doubt about it. A blazing bright summer sun and warm air tossing in and around the garbage and the blossoms. There's a parade passing by my window: I can see lollypops, flip-flops and lobster skin, but not even the sight of sunburn can spoil my day. There's too much to enjoy: the sound of ice-cream vans, children playing and couples arguing. Ah yes, summer is on the way, and there's no doubt about it.

I've been sitting at my window for the better part of the morning, drinking hot coffee and reading Kafka. As a younger man - such a great phrase, that, but don't get me wrong: I'm still young, and like to think I'm getting younger everyday - but I'm not - I connected with Kafka's writing in a very direct way. His journals alone were a treasure trove of familiar identifications, they were my notes from the underground, a tirade against the troubles and difficulties of modern life. They were a kind of teenage hormone therapy.

It feels different to be reading them now, in a light and optimistic frame of mind; each passage seems filled with cynicism and self-loathing, the soul of a man treading water through the twentieth century. Having said that, there was one wonderful little passage that stood out:

'One advantage in keeping a diary is that you become aware with reassuring clarity of the changes which you constantly suffer and which in a general way are naturally believed, surmised, and admitted by you, but which you'll unconsciously deny when it comes to the point of gaining hope or peace from such an admission. In the diary you find proof that in situations which today would seem unbearable, you lived, looked around and wrote down observations, that this right hand moved then as it does today, when we may be wiser because we are able to look back upon our former condition, and for that very reason have got to admit the courage of our earlier striving in which we persisted even in sheer ignorance.'
I think I'll leave it at that for today.