The excitement of being lost wears off rather quickly(p.21). As bad luck would have it(p.31), the fantasy was primarily an adventure story(p.33). As I grew older(p.35), I spent half my waking moments repairing(p.50), retaining some degree of dignity(p.65) over the years(p.66). I cannot tell you how long the ensuing battle lasted(p.81) — years(p.104), a few days(p.102), an hour or so(p.114). Why is it so difficult(p.175) to perfect the art of whining(p.186)?
Weekend cleanup led me to discover this piece written on an index card. I cannot remember what particular book I was reading or when did I jot these lines down. I’m curious to know though what’s on my mind that day… What struck a chord in me? Was it the thought of losing our childishness and childish spirit? Was I missing the outdoors? What was I trying to whine? Is this piece even finished?
Short Synopsis: Humbert Humbert — scholar, aesthete and romantic — has fallen completely and utterly in love with Lolita Haze, his landlady’s gum-snapping, silky skinned twelve-year-old daughter. Reluctantly agreeing to marry Mrs Haze just to be close to Lolita, Humbert suffers greatly in the pursuit of romance; but when Lo herself starts looking for attention elsewhere, he will carry her off on a desperate cross-country misadventure, all in the name of Love. Hilarious, flamboyant, heart-breaking and full of ingenious word play, Lolita is an immaculate, unforgettable masterpiece of obsession, delusion and lust.
What I liked:
1. The plot. The ingenious way Nabokov toys with the reader’s mind. You get a self-confessed madman — a scheming pedophile who has a taste for young girls. And not just any other younglings at that. Humbert Humbert did not find Lolita sexually attractive because of her beauty and wit (which are almost non-existent), but because she is a nymphet. An ideal combination of childishness and preadolescence.
As Humbert presents the story of his affair with Lolita in first person, this is where Nabokov’s brilliance as a writer shows. Humbert comes across as an intellectual and romantic, detached and fixated. He is both ashamed and proud of the steps he takes to gratify his passion (or obsession). The moral and emotional conflicts that Humbert goes through are so human that he could trick you into thinking that, perhaps, what he has done is excusable. While I personally was wary of Humbert most of the time, there was one instant that I had to rethink ─ is this really love in a very weird form? But then, when you see through his manipulation, you get pentapod monster (his own words) not a man.
2. No pornographic sex. I know Lolita has been frequently described as an erotica but some people tend to overlook its beautiful prose. Nabokov writes about sex in the language of metaphors and figures of speech. While contemporary novels are filled with explicit descriptions of sexual acts, Lolita introduces a one-of-a-kind orgasm through Humbert.
“I entered a plane of being where nothing mattered, save the infusion of joy brewed within my body. What had begun as a delicious distension of my innermost roots became a glowing tingle which now had reached that state of absolute security, confidence and reliance not found elsewhere in conscious life.”
3. It gives you glimpse of a predator’s mind. If we look at the sexualization of women then and now, not much has changed. Lolita shows a clear picture of the schemes that are often used by abusers. When those accused of sexual crime defend themselves, they often say “she wanted it” or “she started it.” They consciously or unconsciously misinterpret a laughter, soft voice or tensed hands as gestures of consent.
Reading the book is a tough journey (for me especially as an ISFP) but a good one. It’s the kind of read where I had to constantly remind myself not to draw hasty conclusions because of my principles, politics, personal reservations and emotions. I had to look beyond the romanticism and be critical at how the characters are portrayed. At how pedophilia is being normalized. At how women are being objectified.
What I didn’t like: Nabokov did a splendid job. Too good that his work still reflects the plight women continue to face up to this day. There are still many who romanticize Humbert’s depravity and many who blame Lolita for being naïve. The world is still filled with enablers and complicit to the crime.
“Human life is but a series of footnotes to a vast obscure unfinished masterpiece”
“We live not only in a world of thoughts, but also in a world of things. Words without experience are meaningless.”
“We loved each other with a premature love, marked by a fierceness that so often destroys adult lives.”
“Life is just one small piece of light between two eternal darknesses.”
“Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul.”
“I shall be dumped where the weed decays, And the rest is rust and stardust”
“We all have such fateful objects — it may be a recurrent landscape in one case, a number in another — carefully chosen by the gods to attract events of specific significance for us: here shall John always stumble; there shall Jane’s heart always break.”
Final Thoughts: If age is just a number, what makes Humbert and Lolita’s relationship seem wrong? Would you see through lust if it was clothed in love? How would you draw the line between the two? There were a lot of irony and moral conflict to digest in this book. Kudos to Nabokov (again) for a thought-provoking read. But like what I said when I finished it last May, I don’t agree with the featured comment on the cover from Vanity Fair. It was far from being convincing or a love story to begin with. No, no. It was calculated rape.
Fingers tapping softly on the table, each second a louder beat of the heart. Murmurs, inaudible conversations— your voice drowning the noise of the crowd. Two seconds ago we were strangers, standing at the opposite aisle of a bookstore. You on conspiracies; I on poetry.
Stolen gazes… knowing smiles… paperbacks…
Life’s grand orchestra Plays a loving melody For just you and me
I remember this climb. In the darkness of the dawn, we hiked in full packs between huffs, pants and coughs. I remember asking myself, why did I have to bring so much load? I should have left that extra shirt. I should have left that extra jacket. Did I really need an extra pair of pants? As the earth gradually piled up under my feet, I realized that climbing mountains is not so different from living life.
Truth is much of what weigh me down are not mine to carry — the troubles of the world, other people’s problems, inexistent futures and such. Like how I pack for a climb, I also tend to carry things that does not fit. Things that I should have outgrown and moved on with. Like emotions and memories.
Some nights, my knees and chin almost touch as I lay curled on the bed. Tired of living. But just like mountain climbing, no matter how hard the climb (and life) is, the peak will always be worth it. Those moments of ups and downs will not be wasted if we take every step by heart.
And I hope what I felt when I ascended 2819.78 MASL to reach the summit of Mt. Wiji — that pure happiness and bliss — will be just the same when I reach the summit of my years. I want to be able to let go of all those extra baggage in the end. Arms wide open, surrendering to the beauty of nature. To the beauty of life.
She bask in the honey-tinted sunshine. Her hands carefree, her heart light.
Today, I want to tell this beautiful soul that I love her. Not through poetry or paperbacks. Not through comfort food or a good sleep. Not through self-care. Not through deep breaths. I want to hug her and hand these three bold words: I LOVE YOU.
For fighting the battles from within and without. Even if some wounds are self-inflicted. For trying to figure out the unknown. Even if answers seem nowhere to be found. For keeping the faith in life. Even if sometimes hope is eclipsed by doubt.
I want to kiss this unsung heroine — gather all the many selves that reside in her little body and give her a hero’s welcome. Because she made it through. Day after day. Night after night.
Today, my country celebrates National Heroes Day. As I commend the great men and women of the past and present, I would also like to take this time to thank the one constant hero in my life. Love you, self. 🥺
The next time you question the existence of love, look into an old photograph. See how love is written from that fading black and white. Travel back in time when love was patient and slow. When you don’t need technology to keep up real time. Listen to an old song. Notice the way your eyes smile or how your heart beats with the music. A once inaudible sound now carries snippets of laughter and tears.
Do you still not see?
Love may have left the front door shut but some fragments will forever remain. Memories. These are our only evidence that something beautiful and cruel like love exist.
I am 99.9% done with re-categorizing my old posts and as I was checking my unpublished tab, I realize that there are still too many scattered thoughts that need my attention.
This one is from 2018 that I wrote for A to Z challenge. For some reason, I dropped the idea (hehe). I’m sharing it now since I have two girlfriends who currently might relate.
He wakes up, beads of sweat trickle down his temples as Valis’ voice scurries to the back of his mind.
It has been three weeks. The freak who sees murder as a work of art has long been dead. But why does he haunt Billy still?
Drink your tea. Tie your shoes. Go to work. Billy thought his mundane routine could stop his mind’s engine from running withershins. But they don’t. He hates the man’s bloodlust but deep in the recesses of his thoughts, he is fascinated with Valis’ ingenuity. On how he staged those gruesome acts. Billy’s grief for that passion are tentacles taking grasp of his sanity.
He stared at the ceiling. Another day, another ordinary life.
The sun sets and the night rolls in. At midnight, his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream — the performance must be done.
Written Neekneraj’s Wordle and dVerse’s Prosery hosted by Bjorn who asks us to write a piece of prose of exactly 144 words inspired by a line from Maya Angelou’s poem, Caged Bird.
his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
Today, I finished reading Dean Koontz’s novel, Velocity. This is my twist to the ending of the story.
Ours isn’t spellbinding or a gift from the gods and goddesses. Nor does it have to do with an arrow piercing two hearts together at the perfect time and place. It’s far from orphic to begin with and the universe isn’t always on our side.
Ours is bitter and sweet. Love and hate colliding— an endless cycle of cuddles and fights. It is coming back after hundreds of walk outs. And we never learn. We keep messing things up only to patch them in the end. With music, long walks on a moonlit night, laughter.
Ours is a downright matter of choice. Holding on to what keep us together rather than those that tear us apart.
Sharing another old IG post for Monday Musings.
I’m not an expert in all matters of the heart but if there is one thing I have been writing about and has come to prove firsthand, it’s about love being a choice. It is seeing the beauty and the ugly in a person — and choosing to embrace them both. 😊
It’s killing me softly, love is. But I wouldn’t mind this kind of death.
Icarus didn’t aim to burn but he knew it was coming. He felt the wax scorching his back and saw the feathers falling off his wings. He could have stopped but there is so much we do not know about flying.
And, perhaps, this is how I refuse to be. To be like the trolls and sprites who must have watched Icarus in shame. Knowing that they never tried. Clueless of how great it must have felt. Forever wondering why Icarus chose such kind of death.
Two years ago, I wrote this with a promise to myself to do things scared.
I have always been a hermit, preferring the comfort of solitude and quiet. Always been a hopeless romantic, too good with words yet too afraid to apply it.
But here I am, fast forward to 2020, appreciating the beauty of connection. With nature and people. Wide-eyed, silly grin plastered on my face and a whole lot treasured moments to reminisce.
I’m still a hermit and connecting can at times be a struggle. Still a romantic yet now a hopeful one. Definitely still scared, but you know what?
Like Nike, let’s just do it. Like BDO, let’s just find away.