This prose-poem tries to place the diaries of Franz Kafka(1883 to 1924) in a personal perspective. Kafka was one of the most influential fiction writers of the early 20th century; a novelist and writer of short stories whose works came to be regarded as one of the major achievements of 20th century literature. The acknowledgement and fame he achieved came only after his death. His diaries were written between 1910 and 1923.-Ron Price with thanks to Wikipedia, 18 July 2010.

My diaries, Franz, began in 1984 with
their casual observations, their details
of daily life, philosophical reflections,
ideas, accounts of dreams, thoughts of
stories and prose-poems…but they will
not become the famous, quotable things
which your 14 years of efforts to provoke
your stalled creativity have become in the
century after your death. One would think,
Franz, that you were always depressed, sick,
isolated and friendless, but a diary only tells
some of life’s story, eh? I’ve got a diary that
goes back more than 25 years and it tells little
of my story—unless I include under the rubric
of diary what I have outlined above. You were
a man living at a crucial time in history, Franz,
at the start of a new, a Formative Age…a stage(1)
in history that was little known as the tempests
were just beginning in that century of light and
millions upon millions fell into a despair even
without your philosophical aptitude for endless
suffering, your various forms of mental illness.(2)

(1) From a Baha’i perspective of history
(2) According to the Italian journal Acta Otorhinolaryngol Italica, 2005 October, Vol. 25, No. 5, pp. 328–332, Kafka suffered form depression, delusions and had clear signs of self-destructive mania. He had a need to torment and humiliate himself, as well as a sense of immense guilt, personal emptiness and helplessness.

Ron Price
18 July 2010