I started reading Kafka’s ‘The Castle’ in June last year, on my birthday in fact, and only have managed to work my way through and finish reading it a couple of weeks ago. That’s quite a long time to take over a not particularly long, although some might say quite dense, book. It would sit quietly on my bedside table, untouched for days and sometimes weeks at a time, a persistent presence that, between work, coursework and half marathon training, I was either too busy or just too tired to deal with . Eventually, with seasonal festivities over, weather conditions limiting time spent running, and a major assignment having just been submitted, I sat down one evening picked up the book and decided I wouldn’t put it down again until I got to the end. Luckily, I found the story more and more engaging the closer I got to the end. Although, as you will know if you’ve read it yourself, there is no ‘proper’ ending as Kafka died before he finished writing it. It just stops.
The curious thing for me is just how better I felt the day after finishing that book. It was more than just the satisfaction of having finished something I started what seems like such a long time ago. It was as if my head had been stuck for all of that time, as if I had unknowingly also been trapped in the strange, snowy village of the story, and as if I was now out of it, seeing and thinking more clearly again. It was a striking enough feeling for me to want to write about it here, admittedly lacking some context that an anonymous reader may find useful in seeing it that way, maybe the full story is something I’ll write about another day.
For now though, I find that somehow I have more time as well as a clearer head, and there are things I want to share that I feel this blog would be a better place for than the other usual outlets. So, I suppose you could consider this a sort of prologue to the posts that will follow, provided I don’t end up losing my head again anytime soon!