I’ve Been Away Too Long. Hello, Mr. Kafka.

I first read Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis when I was a senior in high school.  Part of our English class that year was reading existential fiction which mainly consisted of reading Albert Camus’ The Stranger (It gave us a reason to listen to The Cure’s “Killing An Arab” in class).  So, on my own I decided to read Kafka.  I went to the local bookstore, bought a copy of Metamorphosis, and read it.  It made no fucking sense to me.  I take that back.  It made sense in that I understood the words, but that’s about it.

Cut to maybe 18 months later, after my freshman year in college I picked up the book again for some summer reading.  After talking to other people in college, reading more fiction generally, and just growing up a little bit, the second time I read the book I got it.  I got the existentially dark and absurd comedy Kafka was trying to write.

When I first read Metamorphosis I was not ready for it.  As smart as I may have been for a high school student, I was still a high school student.  I had not read enough or lived enough to be able to put the story in kind of context that would make it entertaining to me.

Sometimes in life you are not ready for the things you want.  My experience with the short life and strange death of Gregor Samsa taught me that.  I see it in other parts of my life, particularly how I ended up here.

I tried to become a free-lance writer before I had any clue as to what that meant.  I was not emotionally or intellectually ready to be my own boss and run my own company.  I had not a clue as to the basics of any part of how to be successful as a free-lance.  That was problem one.  Problem two, was that the tools and technology that make it easier to be free-lancer either didn’t exist or had not become widespread enough that I would have thought about using them.

Combine my lack of business skills, the inability to acknowledge the need to self-promote with the lack of focus to write every day with a place to publish every day, I failed miserably.  That drive back to this place was the lowest moment of my life and it took me three or four years to recover.

You find what you need when you need it and I think I have found the tools of modern writing along with the determination forged by abject failure to find at least something approximate to the life and career that I want.  Even if I had all the tools at my disposal today six years ago, I would have still failed and even if I had the mature determination I have today six years I would have still failed.  It only works if everything comes together at the right time and right place.

Everyone has their Metamorphosis moment.  It is that moment in your life where everything catches up to itself.  The time when where you are, who you are, and what you want all come together in a single point so that you are living as close to the life you wanted as is possible.  That doesn’t mean you won’t experience failure or bumps in the road.  Those will always happen.  However, if you make it to that place, you have given your life a structure and meaning that can move past pretty much any obstacle in your way.


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