Little did I know I was in for an epiphany right there in the old town square in Prague. I was on a Franz Kafka walking tour with a few other tourists from England. The tour guide was telling us that Kafka only left Prague once in his life to go to Berlin with his wife. He returned to Prague shortly after and never left the city again. He was a tortured soul – working for his father in business. But Kafka was first and foremost a writer. He never published anything he wrote in his lifetime. In fact, he instructed his friend, Max Brod to burn his writing after his death at the age of forty-one, an instruction not followed. As I listened to the story of Kafka’s struggle with the writing life, I took in the historically ornate buildings around me. Prague, with its own tortured history, is emblematic of the strange tension that resides in so many artists’ souls – that is the tension between beauty and despair. Prague is a town brimming with artistic genius. Music pours out of the churches – organ concerts and Mozart’s Requiem – creations from another world - clash with the popular culture of the twenty-first century. Prague, the town of the Velvet Revolution and Vaclav Havel, spared bombing in World War II by Hitler because of its beauty – even that a shadowed piece of history, is a city with an identity crisis. It seemed fitting to me that Kafka would have come from this place. As I walked along the cobble stoned streets and crooked buildings, I was moved by the idea that one could spend an entire lifetime in such a small area. Where stimulation fuels creativity, imagination must take over when travel and adventure are lacking. The mind is indeed a vast resource – how else could Kafka have written Metamorphosis? And then my epiphany. One of my fellow tourists remarked as we walked along, “why would anyone keep writing if they aren’t ever published?” And right there under the windows of unseen ghosts, I said to this stranger, “Why then, you must not know what it is to be an artist.” I pondered my response, alone in Prague. I sat at a café and pondered what I’d said. Do I know what it is to be an artist? I pondered as I sipped Czech beer and ate goulash. I pondered as I crossed the Charles Bridge between the line of carved statues toward the immense castle looming on the other side. This city, hauntingly beautiful, became a living, breathing symbol for my own stunted artistry. “What am I waiting for?" I asked myself. Kafka wrote because he had to. That’s what writers do. An artist must produce his art regardless of pubic acclaim or it will not exist. It must move from the heart to the page in order to be. And I pledged then and there to produce my own art in whatever form it would take. I promised myself that I would fearlessly create because otherwise, as Martha Graham says to Agnes DeMille, "If you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost. The world will not have it." And I remembered my favorite passage by Virginia Woolf in To the Light House, "Quickly, as if she were recalled by something over there, she turned to her canvas. There it was, her picture. Yes, with all its greens and blues, its lines running up and across, its attempt at something. It would be hung in the attics, she thought; it would be destroyed. But what did it matter? she asked herself, taking up her brush again. She looked at the steps; they were empty; she looked at her canvas; it was blurred. With a sudden intensity, as if she saw it clear for a second, she drew a line there, in the centre. It was done; it was finished. Yes, she thought, laying down her brush in extreme fatigue, I have had my vision. " It is this that I wish to be able to say on my deathbed.