Letter to Jaromír John (1940)

23 Nov. 1940
My Dear Friend John,
I’m ashamed of myself that it took me so long to respond to your pleasant appeal fourteen days ago. I don’t have anything to write you about myself yet. I’m a wicked, ragged, run-of-the-mill, mundane sloth who wanders the streets of Prague, that little Babylon – Oh, how smart you were to get out of here when you did, I never stop admiring your wisdom – I bow and scrape in various places, I lose myself in my own herd mentality, and it makes me sick. Some people annoy me with their pedantism and Byzantinism, with their inanely dazzling expertise, and then others with their distrust and cunning and circumvention, and there are few whom you can shake hands and
look straight in the eye and warm your heart in the warm current of their joyful personality. Instead, everyone is scrambling around, so strangely, my friend, nobody has time for anybody, they’re runaway slaves of time, chased by the harum-scarum of ambition and money, and you’re alone, and anxious, you’re afraid of solitude, but that’s a mistake, you run down the sidewalks, splashing about in the mud of idiotic fun, and that’s the end, that’s the end.
You did the smartest thing; you’re breathing clean air. You toil away with your work, but there’s no greater pleasure. Much gratitude for your advice for the engaged couple! I’m looking forward to those new books. I love that view of yours, your ability to reach the darkest recesses of the human soul; how much love and compassion it holds! It’s a joyfulness that all long for. To bathe in it, what bliss! Art and life intertwine here in a wildflower. They drink from the groundwater. And that’s why it’s simple in its sophistication. And that’s why I love you.
Don’t forget to call me when you come to Prague. Or come directly to see me.
Yours, František Nechvátal

Subject: In the network
Author: Nechvátal, František
Title: Letter to Jaromír John (1940)
Licence: Free license

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