23 November 1912
Dearest, oh, God, how I love you! It is very late at night; I have put aside my little story, on which I really haven’t worked all these last two evenings, and which is quietly developing into a much bigger story. How could I give it to you to read, even if it were finished? It is rather illegible, and even if that weren’t an obstacle –up to now I certainly haven’t spoiled you with beautiful writing –I don’t want to send you anything to read. I want to read it to you. Yes, that would be lovely, to read this story to you, while I would have to hold your hand, for the story is a little frightening. It is called Metamorphosis, and it would thoroughly scare you, you might not want to hear a word of it, for alas!. I scare you enough every day with my letters. Dearest, on this better writing paper let us start a better life. While writing that last sentence, I caught myself looking heavenward, as though you were up there. If only you weren’t, which indeed you are, but down here with me in the depths. And don’t deceive yourself, they are great the calmly we write to each other from now on –may God grant us that at last- the more clearly you will see it. If only you will stay with me in spite of it! Well, perhaps serenity and strength are destined to be where restlessness and weakness need them.
I am too depressed at the moment, and perhaps I shouldn’t be writing at all. But my story’s hero has also had a very bad time today, and yet it is only the last lap of his misfortune, which is now becoming permanent. So how can I be particularly cheerful! But if this letter serves as an example to you never to tear up a single scrap you have written to me, then it is, after all, a worthwhile and important letter. But you mustn’t think I am always so sad. I’m not. With one exception, I have no reason to complain too much; and everything, with the exception of this one hopelessly black spot, could still turn out well, be pleasant and, with your help, wonderful. On Sunday, if I have time and ability, I want to pour it all to you, and with your hands in your lap you can watch the great flood. But now, dearest, I’m off to bed. May you be given a pleasant Sunday, and I some of your thoughts.
-Franz Kafka, Letters to Felice (Vintage, 1999).