18/27

My belief in my vocation as poet and in the value of my literary labours had thus been uprooted since the transformation. Writing no longer gave me any real joy. But a human being must have some joy; even in the midst of my distress I asserted that claim. I could renounce justice, Reason, Meaning in life and in the world; I had seen that the world could get along splendidly without these abstractions - but I could not get along without some bit of joy, and the demand for that bit of joy was now one of those little flames inside me in which I still believed, and from which I planned to create the world anew for myself. Often I sought my joy, my dream, my forgetfulness in a bottle of wine, and very often it was of help; praised be it therefore. But it was not enough. And then, behold, one day I discovered an entirely new joy. Suddenly, at the age of forty, I began to paint. Not that I considered myself a painter or intended to become one. But painting is marvellous; it makes one happier and more patient. Afterward one does not have black fingers as with writing but red and blue ones. At this painting, too, many of my friends have taken offence. I don't have much luck that way - whenever I undertake something very necessary, auspicious and beautiful, people become cross. They would like one to stay as he is; they don't want one's face to change. But my face will not conform! It insists on changing often; that's a necessity.