my war with kafka continues

I feel more so than with any other topic, I get inspired the most by cockroaches. I am not amused by this, I do not like this. I do not like cockroaches, if anything, I find them repulsive and disgusting. After you’ve had a cockroach scurry over your 20-something-year-old genitalia, you’d feel the same. Granted, many people feel the same just looking at them without the invasive experience so I think y’all can see where I’m coming from. I did not happen to see a cockroach at my job today; however, I am worried that writing this will manifest something to appear out of the bathroom and terrorize me. So far, so good. Although I am wary.

I know Franz Kafka is dead, and I’m aware that this is a one-sided war. His being dead or alive also doesn’t really matter because no matter his current situation in life (or lack thereof), he wouldn’t have any idea who I am regardless. In all instances, the war would always be one-sided. I do hate Frasier, and to a lesser extent, Cheers, for creating Frasier, but I do not hate Kafka. I have read Kafka, although I’m not sure if I ever read The Metamorphosis. I think in order to appear cool (to who? I’m not sure. Myself?), I pointedly chose to read The Trial instead of his most famous work. Although, I’m pretty sure all his works are pretty famous because he didn’t have more than a handful. Or he did and I’m just ignorant. That’s not the point. I chose one of his highly regarded but not taught in AP English courses in high school because I didn’t want to conform. It had such a profound impact on me that I’m entirely unaware if I ever finished the book or not. Way to go, Franz. I digress, again, the point is that I haven’t read The Metamorphosis. I know it involves a dude turning into a bug, I don’t think the bug is ever stated, but it’s a cockroach. Or that’s the aptest comparison. I watched The Fly with Jeff Goldblum, that was a good enough compromise for me. Even though he turns into a fly; cockroaches have wings too.

I digress again. I’ve already forgotten my point. Was there a point? I think it was just to say cockroaches are terrible, and thus, Kafka is on my shit list because he wrote a book about a man/roach hybrid? Listen, wars are started for far more stupid reasons. Look at Putin and Ukraine, amirite? Oh lordy, I’m not going to delve into politics here. Team Ukraine though. Anyway, the point. As a self-avowed feminist, I must shout out women writers because they need more empowerment than men do, that’s for sure. Being married to a Brazilian woman, I like to try to engross myself in some Brazilian culture. I reckon there are many ways to do this, and me choosing to delve deep into the workings of a renowned author of lyrical, introspective stylings that is surely praised but also a divisive figure in storytelling.  I went to a stand-up set by Chris Gethard last night, and I decided to throw a book into my hoodie’s front pocket because it was a long trip on the train. Sure, I was with my wife, but we live together, and we’ve already said what we have to say. I had a copy of The Passion According to G.H. atop my bedside table so I threw it in because it was small. During my underground commute, I read 45 pages and well, felt sufficiently insane. Clarice’s style is that in those first forty pages, the narrator, G.H., did about one action that was sitting at her breakfast table and then moving into the room of her recently fired maid. So, the actual plot advanced quite ploddingly, but there were pages and pages of her internal thoughts and thoughts racing through her mind.

After discussing some of this with my partner, I could see that she was just wishing for me to shut up, so I’m writing it here instead. I do not blame her because I was rambling incoherently, like the prose in the novel. Is this all going to come back and tie back in with Kafka and penile cockroach invaders? You betcha. Patience. I’m not even at 800 words yet. It feels both deeply intimate and shameful, like guilt-inducing, like you’re accessing something you shouldn’t be able to see, hear, feel, should I name more senses? I described it as drilling a hole into someone’s brain and just putting a telescope in there to see how it all works. Like, we all have internal thoughts and internal monologues, but no one has access to those images, feelings, whatever except us. It’s the only space where we have complete and total privacy. Except her writing is just like her non-stop spewing of those thoughts at you. Is it beautiful? Sometimes. Is it incoherent? Also, sometimes. Does it make me think I’m stupid for thinking it’s sometimes incoherent and if I was smarter, I’d understand it more? All the time.

I might write further about Clarice Lispector and all that jazz at some point, but I’ve really run away from the topic at hand. COCKROACHES. KAFKA. WAR. Okay, okay, so as I said, I was reading, I’m just trying to comprehend the narrator’s internal dialogue, and then actual, exterior plot development happens. The narrator opens a drawer in an old dresser and spots a cockroach. The woman, she goes gray, she grays like the hair of the elderly. She is in duress, she’s in distress, she’s D wording everything that can possibly be. And I’m thinking, I got her. I got my lieutenant for this battle. I don’t want to promote her to a high position of power for the whole war because I don’t know how she’ll fare (and she’s also dead), but I want to give her some power to show her stuff. I’m happy to have found an author that doesn’t write a whole story about transforming into a cockroach, but a story about the inexplicable fear that the sight of one erupts into the heart. Sadly, doing my rigorous research for this post, I might’ve spoiled something for myself on the Wikipedia page that will get Clarice dishonorably discharged from my army, but I’m willing to see it within context before I go that far.

Anyway, I probably could’ve written this much more succinctly in honor to curry the favor of George Saunders (who is alive and living in the same state) but I am not a suck-up. I do not simp for living authors. I just belittle the name of dead authors and create fictitious feuds with them. I’m wrapping up both because I’m nearly at 1200 words and also because I truly forgot what I was going for, so I don’t want to write another thousand while I try to figure it out. I’ll be more structured next time, I promise. (My fingers were crossed.) So it goes.


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