Monthly Archives: October 2010

Dream 6

I dream that I’m drifting between wakefulness and sleep, which in fact I am. I tell myself off for not being able to sleep, try the yogic technique of visualising a spiral and thereby wake myself up.

Dream 5

I dream that I awake to find all the objects and fixtures in my room rearranged in the manner of various rooms I’ve lived in. I don’t know where I am. But this doesn’t disconcert me, in fact it’s almost reassuring, and nicer than waking up in my actual room. I go with the dream, prolonging it.

Dream 4

The open door to my bedroom and the archway to the bathroom stare at me like great black eyes. The light switches between them seem to harbour something sinister. I’m annoyed at myself for leaving the door open, it’s not like me. Was I that drunk? I reach out to close it and fall into the shower having somehow turned it on.

Spiritual decadence

The evolution was simple. When I was still happy, I wanted to be unhappy and drove myself, using all the means that my times and my tradition made available to me, into unhappiness, yet even so I always wanted to be able to go back. In short I was always unhappy, even with my happiness. The strange thing is that the whole act, if one performs it in a sufficiently systematic way, can become real. My spiritual decadence began with a childish game, however conscious I was of its childishness. For example, I would deliberately contract the muscles of my face, or I would walk down the Graben with my arms crossed behind my head. Annoyingly puerile games, but effective. (Something similar happened with the evolution of my writing, except that later the evolution of my writing came regrettably to a halt.) If unhappiness can be forcibly induced in this fashion, then one should be able to induce anything. However much subsequent developments seem to contradict me, and however much it conflicts in general with my nature to think this, I can’t by any means accept that the origins of my unhappiness were inwardly necessary, perhaps they had some necessity of their own, but not an inward one, they swarmed in me like flies and like flies could have easily been driven away.

— Kafka, Diaries (quoted in Calasso, K.)

Spiritual combat

It’s as if spiritual combat were taking place somewhere in a forest clearing. I enter the forest, find nothing and quickly, out of weakness, hurry back out; often, as I’m leaving the forest, I hear or think I hear the clanging of weapons from that battle. Perhaps the combatants are gazing through the forest darkness, looking for me, but I know so little about them, and that little is deceptive.

— Kafka, Diaries (quoted in Calasso, K.)

Dream 3

I sit up and look at the disused fireplace, lit up by a sunbeam. Is it morning or afternoon? Dust motes fill the room. Something crawls down the chimney and peeks its head out of the fireplace and I awake in a sweat.

Beckett in the nursing home

Many of Beckett’s friends were horrified to see how simply he was living and felt that he could and should enjoy more comfort and more luxury. By this time productions of his plays throughout the world had made him into a rich man and he could certainly have afforded the most expensive nursing home or private nursing care. Yet the room reflected the austerity with which he had always lived. And it was by no means sordid. He was comfortable there. He had no need for luxury, he protested. The staff were very kind, looking after his welfare and carrying his meals through to his room, because he found it too depressing to eat with the other old people.

— Knowlson, Damned to Fame