Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Lolita, Lolita, Lo-lee-ta

Lolita woke me up. I kid you not. As I sit here, tea in hand, I am as puzzled as you are about whatever THAT could have to do with this series I am constructing. Nabakov's first paragraph was on my mind several times this week, out of the blue. I reread it Sunday because there it was, the book, on the top of a table at the big bookstore. Hm. Odd, that. What is up with that?

Here's what I found that he said about his own book:

There are gentle souls who would pronounce Lolita meaningless because it does not teach them anything. I am neither a reader nor a writer of didactic fiction, and…Lolita has no moral in tow. For me a work of fiction exists only insofar as it affords me what I shall bluntly call aesthetic bliss, that is a sense of being somehow, somewhere, connected with other states of being where art (curiosity, tenderness, kindness, ecstasy) is the norm. There are not many such books.

Aesthetic bliss, huh. Lolita, Lolita, Lo-lee-ta. Love of language and love of line...could that be the message? Humbert, what are you telling me? You know Nabokov said he was inspired to write the book by the first charcoal ever drawn by an ape. The ape drew the bars of his cage. Hm.

Also running on the screen last night ( at 1:35 am to be exact), and noted are: "moored off Dolphin Island at night sleeping aft w/George adrift in the stars", "oysters" and "WTF it is only 1:35 am and I have been awake an hour", and my favorite, "what am I thinking? This flimsy idea..." That is followed by 2 more pages of notes where I just started recording what had gone through my mind. It was another 2 hours before sleep would come. And only then after I read a few soothing chapters from my novel about the South of France.

So I am groggy, and a bit cranky this morning and puzzled. Muses. An unruly lot. I know I went to sleep with a fear on my mind. A small fear, but the one that tells an artist, chase it down. This minimalist thing, this island, it's very different from tangles and masses of shapes. It's more like a breeze touching your skin, gentle lapping of water against your boat, a halyard ping in the dark as you sleep nestled aft in the middle of an ebony Gulf.

The last note on the list is about someone cutting a slice of a pear and sharing it. When I originally read the scene about that in my novel it brought tears to my eyes for it's tenderness, hm. Somewhere in all of this, there is something, something that will lead me there. There are paint color names just above that note. Perhaps, my Lolita is on my pigment list...Maybe. But it is the next to last note on the list that cracked me up, made me tilt my head at this particular muse this morning: "sweet spot struggle". I can hear that muse laughing along with that ape in that cage. And Nabokov is tapping out his tattoo still. Lolita, Lolita, Lo-lee-ta...I need more tea. But I can still hear the lull of the sea.

What? Nabokov doesn't visit you? Sheesh. That muse is playing with me.

6 comments:

A Brush with Color said...

Well, I'm LOVING that Nabokov visited you! Wonderful stream-of-consciousness here. The mind is a fascinating thing: "a halyard ping in the dark as you sleep nestled aft in the middle of an ebony Gulf." Excellent. Maybe less sleep is the creative ticket. Seems to be working for you! LOL

Janice C. Cartier said...

Lol.. yeah, Nabokov... I am wondering of course just what color IS that ping. You know I'll have to do a night painting. How can I not? There are a few I go nuts over... but first I NEED a nap! Sheesh. But I have a few clues , I did not have yesterday....

Bill Kanapaux said...

What color is a ping? You would have to ask someone who sees sound as color. They're out there...

It's been a long time since I read Nabokov. Lolita is one hell of a book and that has everything to do with Humbert's character, so the story about the ape doesn't surprise me.

Sometimes sleepless nights can be incredibly productive. Other times they're just sleepless nights. I'm all for it when they work out well, despite the price you pay the next day.

Janice C. Cartier said...

Bill- I am going to reach into my handy dandy Kandinsky color/ sound thesaurus ( made that up, so don't ask me where to get one guys).

It is funny when we put our minds to work on a problem how it clicks through the process, sometimes very inconveniently for us...I am still a bit sleep deprived, but now I am looking for an oyster to paint and the color of the night...thanks to Humbert.

Maybe writing and art process are like that ape's cage too, can't get out until the idea is tweaked just so.

ParisBreakfasts said...

A "ping" is blue-gray, on the coolish side FYI.
As for "And only then after I read a few soothing chapters from my novel about the South of France"
What might the title of that book be pray tell?
Big Merci!

Janice C. Cartier said...

blue grey ping- yep...I like it.

C.A. Bemond- A Rather Lovely Inheritance and A Rather Curious Engagement :-)