Today Kit Harington was spotted in Belfast, the filming site for Castle Black. As you can see from the picture, he has a man bun, which I’m sure can unfurl into the typical Jon Snow hair. Hmmm…this is awfully peculiar considering the fact that filming for season 6 of Game of Thrones is starting around this time. Hmm….
I haven’t yet published my second novel, but I’m currently editing my novella and I thought I would give you an excerpt. Here’s a little taste:
“Surrealism has faced a bit of a decline. There aren’t too many Dali’s wandering around with minds as curled and twisted as their Hungarian mustaches. People obsess over the meaningless expanses of logical and linear, colored shapes, perhaps contrasted by the occasional squiggle or careless splotch. Patting themselves on the back, these misinformed people dub their art a visual language of geometry meant to communicate the world’s crippling anxiety and fixation on the rapid development of technology. Art. I might call it deliberate befuddlement or a pleasing assortment of lines and parallelograms and triangles. Pleasing. Much like a painted landscape, the sight is pleasing. But what does it say? More often than not, nothing. That’s a square. That is not a growing sense of isolation birthed by the ever expanding world simultaneously shrinking in on itself by way of phones and Internet. That’s a square.”
Here’s an interesting video that I thought I’d share.
To me, it’s fascinating that religion spreads around like some disease. I know that has some negative connotations, but I merely mean to say that religion travels where people travel. Over time, it experiences fluctuations in different regions as places evolve and react to various influences.
And, if I’m going to play the angry atheist, then I will ask this: how can anyone believe their religion is the correct religion? Christianity seems to be dominant now, but it wasn’t in the past. It wasn’t even the first religion. Its origin, Judaism, wasn’t the first religion either. Hinduism was first.
But being first and being most popular aside, notice the incredible surge in Islam. Sure, Islam kept its hold on most of the lands it affected, however Christianity then took over as the dominant religion. Its influence spread to cover almost the entirety of the Americas. At first, Muslims must have said, “Look how popular Islam has become. Surely it is the true religion.” Afterwards, though…And that doesn’t mean that Christianity should say their religion is true. My guess is that sooner or later Atheism will dominate. Not for a while, but eventually.
This is easily one of my favorite books. I’m sorry, but I have barely any complaints. To quote John Updike, “Nabokov writes prose the only way it should be written: ecstatically.” Honestly, I would’ve just stopped at “written.” Before I give a more thorough review, I must preface by saying that you need to read this novel. You owe it to yourself.
Gosh, where do I begin? Let me do a short summary for those of you who don’t know what Lolita is about. Lolita is about a man named Humbert Humbert who has a predilection for young girls, which he calls nymphets. As you might have guessed, Lolita is the name of one such nymphet, with whom Humbert can’t help but to fall in love. Oh yes, it’s a very controversial subject. But I swear, Nabokov makes you love how bad it is.
How? Well, you know how English teachers are always blabbing about a writer’s “voice?” More often than not, it’s quite hard to pin down. Sure, each writer has a distinct voice, but usually it’s not so distinct as to be noticeable. Only rarely do you stop in the middle of reading and say, “Damn, how bout that voice?” I’ll give you the opening lines and you’ll see what I mean.
“Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Lo-lee-ta: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth. Lo. Lee. Ta. She was Lo, plain Lo, in the morning, standing four feet ten in one sock. She was Lola in slacks. She was Dolly at school. She was Dolores on the dotted line. But in my arms she was always Lolita. Did she have a precursor? She did, indeed she did. In point of fact, there might have been no Lolita at all had I not loved, one summer, an initial girl-child. In a princedom by the sea. Oh when? About as many years before Lolita was born as my age was that summer. You can always count on a murderer for a fancy prose style. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, exhibit number one is what the seraphs, the misinformed, simple, noble-winged seraphs, envied. Look at this tangle of thorns.”
You can hear the voice. Indeed, it is a “fancy prose style.” However, it is not just a snobby, overly intellectual sort of voice. It is the voice of a maniac. That is not to say that Humbert is a maniac. He is not insane, just driven insane by Lolita. Note the varying sentence structure. Incredible. One moment you are given a long, complex string of words and the next moment you are given a conversational fragment. The diction, the attention to sound. Oh, it’s all so perfect.
There are other beautiful things happening in this opening. You see how desperately obsessed Humbert is with Lolita, so obsessed that even her name drives him mad. You see Humbert’s recognition that this is all “sin,” suggesting perhaps a bit of guilt. You see that Humbert has a strong narrative self-consciousness in the phrase “ladies and gentleman of the jury.” Oh, and uh…he’s a murderer?
As with any work of literature, the key is focusing on the characters. Nabokov does a fantastic job of this by showing you nearly each and every one of Humbert’s thoughts. You see how he changes, moment by moment. And what he doesn’t show is quite deliberate. Humbert will often leave important thoughts out for use later in the story, or he will leave you wondering and simply say that the thought is a matter for another story. Ooh, Humbert, you tease.
And don’t forget about Lolita. Her name is the title. Clearly, her character is of utmost importance. So much time is spent talking about her, her looks, her mannerisms, her comings and goings. However, unlike Humbert, we rarely see what she is thinking. Undoubtedly, she goes through character changes, but they’re really such mysteries to the reader. At times, she seems so innocent, making Humbert look like an awful, sinful lecher. Other times, she seems much like a temptress goading Humbert on to make his move. As a result, we as the reader, hate her, love her, admire her, and are disgusted by her. But surely, she is always interesting.
One thing people might be turned off by is the fact that Humbert often speaks in French. The majority of the text is in English, but there are French expressions sprinkled throughout. It can be annoying, but it certainly adds to Humbert’s snotty, intellectual characterization. Get over it.
Plot-wise, the pace can drag on in parts and speed up in others. Sometimes it seems like all you’re doing is listening to Humbert talk on and on about how lovely Lolita looks. Personally, I find that just as interesting as the quicker-paced parts. Besides, you need to change things up every now and then. You can’t cruise at the same speed for the entire book.
This is one of the greatest works of all time. Regardless of how much time has elapsed since its publication, Lolita remains just as readable. Also, it isn’t too long. Lolita is roughly 300 pages. That’s a whole lot better than reading another classic, War and Peace, which is 1200 pages long.
What made Tolkien amazing? Well, a ton of things. One reason: he made his own languages.
I speak a language and I study a foreign language. Why can’t I do that? It’s a helluva lot of work, but still…
Look. I want to make a fantasy epic. I want to make the next Lord of the Rings, the next Song of Ice and Fire, the next Kingkiller Chronicle. I want to be one of the greats. But…I should be a better, more mature writer when I do start writing that epic. I’ve got time. All my novels now? They’re warm-ups.
Even so, when that fated day comes, when I finally do sit down to write the greatest fantasy work of my generation, I want to be prepared. I pledge to work on this language. It will never be complete, surely. I don’t even know the English language in completion. But, it’ll be pretty thorough. You can be sure of that.
I will be the Tolkien 2.0.
Just curious. Anyone want some shoes? They’re new and didn’t fit. Size 8.5. Just thought I’d ask. I’m selling them on ebay.
I mentioned in an earlier post that I queried agents for my second novel about two super-powered boys that develop god complexes. BECOMING GOD. Yes, I know you remember it. And I may have mentioned that I was writing a novella about a hallucinatory surrealist painter. Well, the first draft is done. Hooray!!!