NABOKV-L post 0011760, Fri, 2 Sep 2005 16:21:26 -0700

Fwd: Re: Appropriate VN wedding text suggestions
May I suggest this from Speak, Memory? It's in chapter 15, p.227 of my
penguin edition:

When I start thinking of my love for a person, I am in the habit of
immediately drawing radii from my love­ from my heart, from the tender
nucleus of a personal matter­to monstrously remote points of the universe.
Something impels me to measure the consciousness of my love against such
unimaginable and incalculable things as the behavior of nebulae (whose very
remoteness sees a form of insanity), the dreadful pitfalls of eternity, the
unknowledgeable beyond the unknown, the helplessness, the cold, the
sickening involutions and interpenetrations of space and time. It is a
pernicious habit, but I can do nothing about it. It can be compared to the
uncontrollable flick of an insomniac's tongue checking a jagged tooth in
the night of his mouth and bruising himself in doing so but still
persevering. I have known people who, upon accidentally touching something
- a doorpost, a wall - had to go through a certain very rapid and
systematic sequence of manual contacts with various surfaces in the room
before returning to a balanced existence. It cannot be helped; I must know
where I stand, where you and my son stand. When that slow-motion, silent
explosion of love takes place in me, unfolding its melting fringes and
overwhelming me with the sense of something much vaster, much more enduring
and powerful than the accumulation of matter or energy in any imaginable
cosmos, then my mind cannot but pinch itself to see if it is really
awake. I have to make a rapid inventory of the universe, just as a man in
a dream tries to condone the absurdity of his position by making sure he is

It continues: "I have to have all space and all time participate in my
emotion, in my mortal love, so that the edge of its mortality is taken off,
thus helping me to fight the utter degradation, ridicule, and horror of
having developed an infinity of sensation and thought within a finite
existence" - but I'd tend to leave that out at a wedding!

I reckon Speak, Memory is your best bet, anyway.


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