From the Diaries:
Also in Deutsch, if you're into that sort of thing.
24 December 1910. I have now taken a closer look over my writing desk and have seen that nothing good can be done with it. So much is lying around, it forms a disorder without symmetry and without any of the hospitality of disordered things that otherwise makes any disorder bearable. Let disorder spread as it likes over the green cloth, that was permitted even in the stalls of old theatres. But that in the standing room
25 December 1910. up out of the open compartment under the top part of the desk come leaflets, old newspapers, catalogs, picture postcards, letters, all ripped into pieces, opened into pieces in the shape of an uncovered flight of stairs, this disgraceful state of affairs spoils everything. Individual, fairly enormous things from the stands crop up in the greatest possible activity, as if in a theater shopkeepers were allowed to balance their account books in the orchestra, the carpenter allowed to hammer, the officer to swing around his saber, the clergyman to address the heart, the scholar to address the understanding, the politician to address the civic sense, for lovers not to restrain themselves, etc. On my writing desk only the shaving mirror stands upright, as is needed for shaving, the clothes brush lies with its brushing surface on the cloth, the coin purse lies open in case I want to count it, a key protrudes from the bunch, ready for work, and a tie loops itself in portions around my undone shirt collar. The next higher compartment of the top part, already crammed by the the closed small paper drawers, is nothing but a junk room, so as if the lower balcony of the stands, really the most visible part of the theater, were reserved for the commonest people, for old men-about-town whose filth gradually comes out from within, coarse fellows who let their feet hang over the balcony railing, here families with so many children that one can only glance over them quickly, without being able to count them, set up the filth of poor nurseries (in fact it’s already spilling into the orchestra) the incurably ill sit in the dark background, fortunately one sees them only if one shines a light back there, etc. In this drawer lie old papers that I would long ago have thrown away if I had a wastebasket, pencils with broken points, an empty matchbox, a paperweight from Karlsbad, a ruler whose edge would be too bumpy for a country road, old collar studs, blunt razor blades (for which there is no place in the world), pince-nezes and a still heavier paperweight of iron. In the drawer above -
Miserable, miserable and yet well intended. Yes, it is midnight, but since I am quite rested, that is an excuse only in that I would have written absolutely nothing during the day. The lighted electric lamp, the quiet room, the darkness outside, the last moment of waking, they give me the right to write even if that is the most miserable. And this right I use hurriedly. That’s how I am.