Like Bigger in that novel by Wright, I smothered my first love, Nabokov, to death with the pillow of Marx and burned his body in the furnace of Hegel. I believed my writing life to be free forever from that man whose anagram is Vivian Darkbloom. Then yesterday I wrote this in my slog post on the Zimbabwean guitarist Ashton “Sugar” Chiweshe:
The audience could not get enough of [Ashton’s] brilliance. Whenever he launched into a solo, everyone in the hall would stop dancing and watch him with the sort of amazement that certain animals find themselves in when siphoned out of the darkness by the powerful beams of an approaching truck.
Sensing something strange about the second sentence in that passage, I googled “Nabokov” with the word “siphoned” and came up with this from the 28th chapter of Lolita:
Gently I rolled back to town, in that old faithful car of mine which was serenely, almost cheerfully working for me. My Lolita! There was still a three-year-old bobby pin of hers in the depths of the glove compartment. There was still that stream of pale moths siphoned out of the night by my headlights.
I may have done away with Nabokov’s body, but his ghost is still with me.