Replicating Kafka’s All-Nighter?

I am fortunate today in that I have managed to get through enough of my reading pile (which is actually nearing its end now) that I have reached a collection of Kafka’s work, Metamorphosis & Other Stories, one of the beautifully collated Modern Classics by Penguin. Here, I will admit to the grevious crime of reading such a collection out of order. The only reason I did this, however, is because I needed a quick read whilst waiting for my bus and, obviously, finishing my pint.

I began with The Judgement; a short story concerning a man who is a clear reflection of Kafka himself and his relationship with his father. Whilst a particularly interesting text in of itself, I was impressed to learn that Kafka wrote it in one night only, and described it as ‘the total opening of the body and soul’. Kafka also claimed that it was ‘one of his most succesful and perfect literary creations’. All this, in one night!

So, tonight, I will attempt a pale imitation of Kafka’s method. Tonight I will suspend work on the Caitiff and the few other things I am currently working on, and, instead, devote myself wholly to creating a short story, one which will be certainly no more than a few thousand words. I will enter into this with no prior idea as to what it will be about, I will simply write and see what emerges from these unclean fingers of mine.

I do not expect it to go well. I do not expect to emerge, blinking into the sunlight, with a new Judgement; one to rival Kafka’s brilliance. But I will try it anyway. With an inordinate amount of luck and, I have no doubt, copious amounts of tea, I might have something to show for tonight’s denial of the body’s need for respite, for the mind’s need to deactivate. From 10 o’clock tonight, to 10 o’clock tomorrow morning (GMT), I will be rattling these keys in some loosely connected fashion and hope something falls out, like an ill-attached affectation to a keyring.

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