Sunday, March 15, 2009
Here is the fourth installment of my Book Passages Series. This book excerpt was sent to me by my father in-law, Bill Schulman. Bill is a prolific artist himself who has spent his life creating art and teaching art. So with a bit of hesitation here are the results of my visual interpretation of the passage from Speak Memory by Vladamir Nabokov.
The cradle rocks above an abyss, and common sense tells us that our experience is but a brief crack of light between two enormities of darkness. Although the two are identical twins, man, as a rule, views the prenatal abyss with more calm than the one he is heading for (at some forty-five hundred heartbeats an hour). I know, however, of a young chronophobiac who experienced something like panic when looking for the first time at homemade movies that had been taken a few weeks before his birth. He saw a world that was practically unchanged-the same house, the same people and then realized that he did not exist there at all and that nobody mourned his absence. He caught a glimpse of his mother waving from an upstairs window, and that unfamiliar gesture disturbed him, as if it were some mysterious farewell. But what particularly frightened him was the sight of a brand-new baby carriage standing there on the porch, with the smug, encroaching air of a coffin; even that was empty, as if, in the reverse course of events, his very bones had disintegrated.
As always, I enjoy hearing your critiques and observations. Please feel free to comment.