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Thread: The Pervasiveness of Loss

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    Ron Mauer Sr's Avatar
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    Default The Pervasiveness of Loss

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    Franz Kafka, the story goes, encountered a little girl in the park where he went walking daily. She was crying. She had lost her doll and was desolate. Kafka offered to help her look for the doll and arranged to meet her the next day at the same spot. Unable to find the doll he composed a letter from the doll and read it to her when they met. 'Please do not mourn me, I have gone on a trip to see the world. I will write you of my adventures.' This was the beginning of many letters. When he and the little girl met he read her from these carefully composed letters the imagined adventures of the beloved doll. The little girl was comforted. When the meetings came to an end Kafka presented her with a doll. She obviously looked different from the original doll. An attached letter explained 'My travels have changed me.' Many years later, the now grown girl found a letter stuffed into an unnoticed crevice in the cherished replacement doll. In summary it said: *Every thing that you love, you will eventually lose, but in the end, love will return in a different form.'* - Kafka and the Doll, The Pervasiveness of Loss

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    Croatia Administrator Franny's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Pervasiveness of Loss

    What a lovely story, thank you

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    Default Re: The Pervasiveness of Loss

    Hugs to you, Ron!

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    Default Re: The Pervasiveness of Loss

    Thank you!

    I'd not heard this story before. But apparently, it's quite true.

    Here's an interesting article:



    A Table of Green Fields
    Ten Stories By Guy Davenport
    149 pages. New Directions. $21.95.


    The most accessible and charming of the 10 pieces in Guy Davenport's latest collection of short fiction, "A Table of Green Fields: Ten Stories," is the second one, "Belinda's World Tour." Here Lizaveta, a little girl, leaves her doll Belinda in a park in Prague. Her parents cannot console her. "Her grief was the more terrible in that they had a guest to tea, Herr Doktor Kafka of the Assicurazioni Generali, Prague office."

    Kafka explains to Lizaveta that Belinda isn't lost at all but has met another doll, Rudolf, and decided to take a trip around the world with him. She has told Kafka that she will write Lizaveta daily. Sure enough, the postcards begin to arrive: "Dear Lizaveta: We came to London by balloon. . . . The English are very strange. . . . They all carry umbrellas, as it rains constantly, and long poles to poke their way through the fog. They live on muffins and tea."

    A note at the back of the book explains that according to a biography of Kafka, this encounter with a little girl who had lost her doll actually occurred.

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    Default Re: The Pervasiveness of Loss

    Ron I didn't say it before because I've been trying to cut down on the "me too" posts, but that is one of the most beautiful stories I ever heard. So, the proper thing to do is to say thank you for telling it. Thank you.

    Because of your post I looked up Kafka and said to myself "of course". I knew I had read something by him. It was "The Metamorphis" in high school and I remember the story deeply disturbed me, which was the point as I recall. But, sometimes we have to be moved out of our comfort zone so we can learn new things.

    Thank you.
    "The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what we share with someone when we are uncool." From the movie "Almost Famous""l "Let yourself stand cool and composed before a million universes." Walt Whitman

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    Default Re: The Pervasiveness of Loss

    Ha! I found it.

    Now in the Avalon Library:

    Go to p.590 of the PDF (p.543 of the book):

    ~~~
    When we were in Berlin, Kafka often went to Steglitz City Park. Sometimes I went with him. One day, we ran into a little girl who was crying and seemed quite distraught. We spoke to the girl. Franz asked what was wrong, and we learned that she had lost her doll. He invented a plausible story on the spot to explain the disappear­ance of the doll.

    "Your doll has just gone on a journey: I know because she sent me a letter."

    The little girl was a bit suspicious. "Do you have it with you?"

    "No, I left it at home, but I'll bring it to you tomorrow."

    The girl's curiosity almost made her forget her heartache, and Franz went straight home to write the letter.

    He got down to work quite seriously, as though he were writing a literary work. He was in the same state of tension he always had when he sat at his desk. . . . The next day, he brought the letter to the little girl who was waiting for him in the park. As she did not know how to read, he read the letter aloud.

    The doll explained that she was tired of living in the same family all the time and expressed her wish for a change of air; in a word, she wanted to go away from the little girl she loved for a while. She promised to write every day­ and sure enough, Kafka wrote a letter every day telling of new adventures that evolved quite rapidly, appropriate to the particular rhythm of a doll's life.

    After a few days, the child had forgotten the real loss of her toy and thought only of the fiction she had been of­fered as a substitute. Franz wrote every sentence of the novel with such attention to detail and sparkling wit that the doll's situation became quite tangible.

    The doll grew up, went to school, and met other people. She kept assuring the child of her love, but alluded to the complications in her life, other obligations, and other interests that did not permit her to resume her life with the little girl for the time being. The little girl was asked to reflect upon this, and in this way was prepared for the inevitable loss of the doll.

    The game lasted at least three weeks. Franz was terribly afraid when he pondered how to bring it to an end. . . . He thought long and hard, and finally decided to marry off the doll. He started by describing the young man, then the engagement party, the wed­ding preparations, then, in great detail, the newlyweds' house:

    "You can see for yourself that we will have to give up the idea of getting back together."

    Franz had solved a child's small conflict by means of art — the most effective method he had for bringing order into the world.

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    Default Re: The Pervasiveness of Loss

    It's a lovely reminder, thank you. I lost the only person in the world I was really close to, and spent every day with, 5 months ago and I still cry every single day. It's one of the hardest things to deal with in this life. Thank you for sharing.

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    Default Re: The Pervasiveness of Loss

    Lovely story, thank you.

    If anyone is interested to read some of Kafka's work, I highly recommend 'The Castle', a wonderful book. A dark fantasy, set in a fictional world, it is utterly unique in every sense. Almost a masterpiece. Perhaps what is most unique about it is that it was published unfinished, it ends mid-sentence believe it or not. Kafka was renowned for completing few of his works (actually he died before he could finish this one, sadly).

    But it takes nothing away from what is a sparkling work of fiction. His characterizations are beautiful, his use of dialogue matchless (imo). For lovers of deep, mysterious, and faintly dark, literature, I highly recommend The Castle. There is nothing else like it. (perhaps Mervyn Peake's gorgeous magnum opus Gormenghast is closest - another favourite of mine).
    "When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace."
    ~ Jimi Hendrix

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    Default Re: The Pervasiveness of Loss

    I am truly sorry for your loss. My spouse is my best and only true friend I have in this life and I would have no idea what to do with myself is she weren't here.

    I know there is nothing that I, or anyone else can say that will take that away, but one thing I have come to realize is no matter how long you live life is short, time is an illusion, everybody alive today will be born again in spirit and you will definitely see your friend again.

    I know its no comparison, but I lost my dog a few months ago. Shortly after he passed, I've had a stray dog who has been trying to adopt us for a while now. Its weird because he is always in my garage, he listens to me, and I've never had a dog try to adopt me before. So in a weird way this OP resonates.

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    Default Re: The Pervasiveness of Loss

    MorningFox....our hearts hurt with you in experiencing your loss. Love & Pain seem to be connected....we can't seem to have one without the other.

    Look at it this way....you were SO fortunate to have experienced what some in this lifetime never get to experience! We care about you!

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    Default Re: The Pervasiveness of Loss

    If you are immune to pain, you are immune to love.

    As a wise lady told me years ago.

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