Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Not Thought of the Day, Thought of the Month or Thought of the Long Weekend. Just Thought. Thought of the Day always makes it seem like you should think about it today and then think about something else tomorrow.

One of my college professors always said that if something is worth reading it's worth reading twice. I feel the same way about thoughts.

And I have been re-reading things lately. My most recent re-reading thing is a collection of Kafka's short fiction, including "The Metamorphosis" and "In the Penal Colony". Included in the collection are some other works, themselves anthologies, that contain brief, often very brief, stand-alone pieces. Here's one in its entirety from the collection "A Country Doctor" (the title piece of which is a hair-raiser, by the way, if you haven't read it).

The Next Village

My grandfather used to say: "Life is astoundingly short. To me, looking back over it, life seems so foreshortened that I scarcely understand, for instance, how a young man can decide to ride over to the next village without being afraid that - not to mention accidents - even the span of a normal happy life may fall far short of the time needed for such a journey."

So much to see. So much to read. So much to learn. So much to do. So much to feel. So much to think about. Don't even tell me you're bored. I'll slap you.


Kizz said...

Oh hell yes.

Should I read some Kafka? I never have. Where should I start?

Mrs. Chili said...

I agree. Oh, hell yes!

I can barely keep up with it all, but I'm doing my best. Trying to cram as much in while still taking time to, you know, BREATHE can be a challenge, but that's what I agreed to when I signed up for this trip...

MAB said...

After not reading Kafka for many years, I had forgotten just how brilliant he was. That's part of the re-reading thing. But not only do you forget what you read so long ago, but it may speak to you differently at 40 than it did at 20.

Kizz, the short fiction is probably the best place to start. The volume I linked to has all of it in one place (I think; it has a different cover than mine but it seems to have the same content). Or I'll loan you mine when I'm done.

Start with "The Metamorphosis", which is iconic. It's not so much scary as it is mordant but it's also kinda funny in places. It's hard not to be when your main character turns into a bug in the first sentence.

"In the Penal Colony" is scary. Read that next.

Then go on to the other short bits in the "A Country Doctor" and "A Hunger Artist" collections.

Then, of course, "The Trial" awaits, which is what people are talking about when they say "My experience at the DMV was Kafkaesque."

Chili, breathing is very important. You can't smell the roses (or the aloo matar gobi) if you're not breathing.