I attempted to write this blog months ago when my cousins had a computer and I was able to get on the internet almost everyday. Then again, this was also when I didn’t have the proper words I needed to get all of this out. I’m starting over, for many reasons. This blog is not just my way of putting the story of "Lolita" out there, but also to be used as a source of healing. It’s amazing the things that happen in people’s lives. It’s amazing the things we hear about that happen, the things that we believe we would never be able to handle had it happened to us. But when we think these things, we often hardly understand that the person it happened to doesn’t realize just how much it affected them, or how much it was supposed to have affected them.
I read the book "Lolita" by Vladimir Nabokov when I was just 16 years old, and I urge anybody else to read it as well. It is an amazing story of love, obsession, and the ideals of a mad artist. The main character (and narrator) of the novel, is Humbert Humbert (yes, first name the same as his last), a writer, researcher of various odd things not necessarily important to the novel, but more or less, simply things you learn while getting to know him. He is manipulative yet extremely smart, he’s devastatingly obsessed with (and in love with) Lolita, yet able to hide this fact completely from the knowledge of others (all except her mother simply because she finds his diary without which, she would have had absolutely no clue).
This blog is like Lolita from her point of view. While I absolutely loved the book, I found that an open-minded person cannot seem to bring themselves to hate Humbert despite all the wrong he does in the novel. After all, we’re talking about a man around his forties falling into an obsessive love with a girl who begins the novel at age twelve. I know that many people couldn’t bring themselves to hate Humbert because I’ve read a number of online reviews as well as watched the movie about six months after reading the book. It’s one of the things that the director points out, that you simply cannot hate Humbert. On the contrary, when I first read the book, I found myself hating in fact, Lolita herself. I thought she was mean, bratty, demanding, and overall, a bit whorish. After all, she does cheat on him several times (with several men more than likely but not necessarily proven; more or less implied) before eventually running away with someone else. She’s also portrayed as devious throughout both the movie and the book; Lolita is able to manipulate Humbert in order to bend him to her will, and on top of that, there are several scenarios where she behaves almost vicious to Humbert, shouting, insulting, threatening, and overall behaving like a little bitch.
What I hate about both myself and Humbert is the way he attempts to portray Lolita while still showing how deeply in love with her he is, and how I, the reader, end up disliking her for being so mean to him and eventually, abandoning him. This, I realized, was the definition of such a talented writer. Nabokov wrote "Lolita" believing (whether seriously or symbolically) that these two people were actually real. Humbert radiates such passion that I couldn’t help but believe that he actually was in love with young Lolita, yet he also shows enough sarcasm and self pity that I couldn’t help but love him a bit myself and almost feel as if he was the one suffering the abuse by Lolita rather than the other way around.
This book, this idea, this rather toxic relationship, is the reason for this now blog. You see, there was a reason I read the book "Lolita", a reason I sought the book out, was put on a waiting list, then, with joy, received it several days later. There is a reason I know about the book at all. It wasn’t sitting quietly on a shelf in a library waiting for me to walk by and notice it, pick it up out of curiosity, then take it home to read. It wasn’t recommended as a good book by my librarian who had in fact read it and even had a copy in his home. No. this book was recommended to me by the man who gave the word "Lolita" a meaning to me. It was a man named Ruben Ramirez (obviously a pseudonym but I guarantee if he stumbled across it, he’d immediately know it was him).
I was just fifteen when I met Ruben in my school library, a poet come to recite for giggling, sleeping, whispering, or even absent high school students who may or may not have shown up just to avoid doing any work in class. It was April, poetry month. I had recently been released from the hospital two months earlier for clinical depression. I was writing poetry myself during this time, mostly depressing crap poetry that wasn’t worth the paper it was written on, but I would grow later into my written word shoes. I was looking forward to an ending school year, and a summer trip to visit my cousins. I was a virgin, young, stupid, gullible, and willing to try anything at least once.
He was large, tan, and wearing all black. He stole the attention of every teacher, student, and visitor in the room. He was a poet, a comic book writer, and a hero to our generation. Ruben was the man who grew up just like us in the same neighborhood as us, and with enough dream and aspiration, became more than what we believed we’d be.
Before I officially begin, I would like to say that I never asked for any of this to happen, but it did. I can’t lie and say I didn’t fully embrace it, but I never expected it. There are things in this world that happen without us ever wanting to believe they happened to someone close to us, our friends, neighbors, relatives. I wanted to have something great to write about, something where I wouldn’t be over exaggerating feelings that I never actually had. Subjects such as this were always fascinating me. I suppose it’s true that when you think about something enough, you draw that energy towards you from out in the universe. Ruben Ramirez was that universal thing that gravitated toward me and I to it.
I hope you and enjoy and grow with me as I present to you what it was like for me to play the part of Being Lolita. It was an experience that I, in my youth, will never forget.