Wise words from Franz Kafka

“It is not necessary that you leave the house. Remain at your table and listen. Do not even listen, only wait. Do not even wait, be wholly still and alone. The world will present itself to you for its unmasking, it can do no other, in ecstasy it will writhe at your feet.”

“I do not read advertisements. I would spend all of my time wanting things.”

“By believing passionately in something that still does not exist, we create it. The nonexistent is whatever we have not sufficiently desired.”



Filed under Ideas, Inspiration, Poetry, Writing

6 responses to “Wise words from Franz Kafka

  1. Wise words, I think. Not that I follow the ‘waiting’ bit too often. For me, too often deadlines tend to be the mother of inspiration…

  2. I completely agree – especially when you’ve got 2 kids. I think the luxury of waiting for ‘it to unfold’ refers, perhaps, to his writing. Either that, or he has Sky+.

  3. A few years back I went to Prague and saw Kafka’s house – a tiny cottage in the precincts of the castle, on a narrow street and crushed up against other cottages. When he says ‘remain at your table and listen’, he could probably have heard the people next door breathing, let alone having a conversation! I guess that could be inspirational – depending on what they were doing or saying – though I suspect most of his ideas weren’t drawn from that source…

  4. If I remember rightly, there’s a lot of biographical work on Kafka that suggests much of his literary work was informed by his ‘day job’.

    The place I was thinking of, 22 Zlata Ulicka (=Golden Lane) was actually his sister’s house though he apparently stayed there often and did much of his writing there. There’s a pic of it at http://www.prague.net/gallery/golden-lane/pic2.php that illustrates what I meant about the cramped scale of the place – no doubt Wikipedia etc. would give you a great deal more detail.

    On the other hand, given what we know of Kafka’s personality, what exactly he heard when he sat still and listened could well have been drawn straight from his imagination, whatever noise and bustle surrounded him…

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