My First Memory
There are many things that I can remember from when I was little; there are scattered vivid single images, the time-order of which I cannot be certain: The smearing of a melting orange popsickle against a white wall; my Dad's old cat Casey looking down at me from the basement window where she was sitting out of reach; squeezing mud between my fingers and toes. But the earliest, full complete scene that I have as a memory is this: I am two years old, and with my mother and older sister Erica(who was five)at a cabin in Big Sky canyon--Friendship cabin it was called--, looking on as Mom tells my sister that Grandpa Duane had died, and my sister crying and being upset, and myself feeling concerned about why she was upset. I knew that it was something big and serious; as I recall the whole room had sunlight coming in, golden, but in hard shafts like around late afternoon/sunset, with lot's of dark spots all around.
Nabokov(who will hence be refered to as N.)would find this fitting, a presentation of the dark abyss at the opposite end from the other dark abyss we start from. N. is very concerned with death, after all(aren't we all?)
N. was also prone to trashing other writers and their works (like Freud and Dostoevsky and Finnegans Wake), but doing so in an great style. Because everything must have style. Whether your Benji in The Sound and the Fury or Humbert Humbert in Lolita, style is what will distinguish you. Because as Wallace Stevens said: " A change of style is a change of subject."
And the concept of the doppleganger has been brought up(right up there with butterflies and chess as important themes to N.) By cosmic seredipity I read a fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen the other night called The Shadow(freakin' creepy,like most of his stories)which uses this concept.
Life is its own palidrome it seems.