It’s easy to live with someone who buoys you up; then it’s easy to buoy them up too. But it’s disconcerting when they fall into a terrible mood, into the mood that you’ve always thought of as your domain; when they say openly that for them, too, everything’s already ended, that nothing can really begin. Then you find yourself clambering to the other side of life, as it were, without support, wishing you could live for the both of you.
The Trial was different. It had a beginning, where the lightning of the indictment had to strike, and an end, where the sentence had to be carried out. Hence there was a framework in which a series of loosely connected scenes followed inexorably from the idea of the whole. Kafka worked only on the scene that most preoccupied him at the moment, sometimes in one notebook, sometimes in another. If no empty notebook was available for additional drafts, he turned around a used one and continued writing from the back. He wrote the beginning and the end of the novel first and possibly even simultaneously.
— Reiner Stach, Kafka: The Decisive Years (tr. Frisch)
It’s all right
Unless you’re either lonely or under attack.
That strange effortful
Repositioning of yourself. Laundry, shopping,
Hours, the telephone—unless misinformed—
Only ever ringing for you, if it ever does.
The night—yours to decide,
Among drink, or books, or lying there.
On your back, or curled up.
An embarrassment of poverty.
Get out of my head, I tell X, no not you, actually yes you, especially you, and all the others too. Get out and let me be. You and all the rest of them. It’s like being circled by eagles and vultures and who knows who’s an eagle and who a vulture. Everywhere I go I have to look up, everywhere I go there’s some stupid danger I have to look out for, I say, never can I be myself, how could I when I always have to look out for you and all the rest of you, guard myself against you, defend myself against you, attack you, get out of my head, I say.