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Just wanted to make a quick post to celebrate the birthday of my favorite wordsmith. I actually think his birthday was yesterday, but it doesn't matter.



I owe much of my literary passion to Nabokov. He showed me the true power of words, and how much you could really do with them. His usage of language blew my mind in ways that I can only compare to listening to Beethoven. Really. Others have had similar effects, and there are many authors that I deeply admire, but Nabokov is the author to whom my literary heart is most devoted to.

One of my favorite excerpts, from Lolita:

"There are two kinds of visual memory: one when you skillfully recreate an image in the laboratory of your mind, with your eyes open (and then I see Annabel in such general terms as: "honey-colored skin," "thin arms," "brown bobbed hair," "long lashes," "big bright mouth"); and the other when you instantly evoke, with shut eyes, on the dark innerside of your eyelids, the objective, absolutely optical replica of a beloved face, a little ghost in natural colors (and this is how I see Lolita)."

And this passage is from the final pages of Lolita. It is long, but it stirs something in me that, again, I can only compare to the effect of something like Beethoven's 7th. It is just beautiful, and if you are a writer, or if you care about the power of words, you should read it.

"One day, soon after her disappearance, an attack of abominable nausea forced me to pull up on the ghost of an old mountain road that now accompanied, now traversed a brand new highway, with its population of asters bathing in the detached warmth of a pale-blue afternoon in late summer. After coughing myself inside out I rested a while on a boulder and then thinking the sweet air might do me good, walked a little way toward a low stone parapet on the precipice side of the highway. Small grasshoppers spurted out of the withered roadside weeds. A very light cloud was opening its arms and moving toward a slightly more substantial one belonging to another, more sluggish, heavenlogged system. As I approached the friendly abyss, I grew aware of a melodious unity of sounds rising like vapor from a small mining town that lay at my feet, in a fold of the valley. One could make out the geometry of the streets between blocks of red and gray roofs, and green puffs of trees, and a serpentine stream, and the rich, ore-like glitter of the city dump, and beyond the town, roads crisscrossing the crazy quilt of dark and pale fields, and behind it all, great timbered mountains. But even brighter than those quietly rejoicing colors - for there are colors and shades that seem to enjoy themselves in good company - both brighter and dreamier to the ear than they were to the eye, was that vapory vibration of accumulated sounds that never ceased for a moment, as it rose to the lip of granite where I stood wiping my foul mouth. And soon I realized that all these sounds were of one nature, that no other sounds but these came from the streets of the transparent town, with the women at home and the men away. Reader! What I heard was but the melody of children at play, nothing but that, and so limpid was the air that within this vapor of blended voices, majestic and minute, remote and magically near, frank and divinely enigmatic - one could hear now and then, as if released, an almost articulate spurt of vivid laughter, or the crack of a bat, or the clatter of a toy wagon, but it was all really too far for the eye to distinguish any movement in the lightly etched streets. I stood listening to that musical vibration from my lofty slope, to those flashes of separate cries with a kind of demure murmur for background, and then I knew that the hopelessly poignant thing was not Lolita's absence from my side, but the absence of her voice from that concord."

Thank you, Vladimir Nabokov, for always fighting for the pure beauty and aesthetic of the written word. Thank you for championing the art, the structure, the technical mastery and stylistic devotion when it comes to books, over all else. Also, thank you for being an endearing asshole at times. :)

It's pretty much Nabokov and Beethoven that are the two answers to the "Who would most like to meet" question.

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Faye

April 2012

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