Writing Letters

“The easy possibility of writing letters—from a purely theoretical point of view—must have brought wrack and ruin to the souls of the world. Writing letters is actually an intercourse with ghosts and by no means just with the ghost of the addressee but also with one’s own ghost, which secretly evolves inside the letter one is writing or even in a whole series of letters, where one letter corroborates another and refer to it as witness. How did people ever get the idea they could communicate with another by letter! One can think about someone far away and can hold onto someone nearby; everything else is beyond human power. Writing letters, on the other hand, means exposing oneself to the ghosts who are greedily waiting precisely for that. Written kisses never arrive at their destination; the ghosts drink them up along the way. ”

— Franz Kafka, November 1920, Prague.