February 19, 2014
The 1928 surrealist novel “Nadja” by Andre Breton is a huge influence on my own writing as well as a lifestyle choice. As a teenager one is dying to join a much bigger gang, yet, I couldn’t find anything that interesting besides music. I was the sole kid in Taft High School who was a fan of Lou Christie. I became obsessed with not only the sound of his records, but like “Nadja” he conveyed ‘another wordless” with his voice. Also I was deeply connected to his songwriting partner, the much older than him, Twyla Herbert, a mystic and classical trained pianist. Life is often thinking about individuals, and then combining them and one sees a natural order of things or a common ground between the individuals.
For me, the main quotation from the Breton novel “Don't I love her? When I am near her I am nearer things which are near her. ” very much describes my definition of true love. Nadja is important, but I actually find objects she touched, she wears, and locations that she was at, more enticing and erotic to me. To this day, I am obsessed with women who I find beautiful, their natural surroundings, and why they choose certain objects over other items. For me, it goes from the habitual obsession with a woman’s clothing to the connoisseur aesthetic of what they actually touched.
I remember I had my private “Nadja” and I brought her the Breton novel as a gift. I told her to read the book, and if possible, could she bring it back to me. About two months later, we had dinner and she brought the novel back to me. I asked her if I could borrow it, and she, without giving it another thought, said “sure.” When I got back later that night, I went over each page, and imaged her actually touching the book, and perhaps wondering about a specific paragraph or phrase that she found in the novel. She was the type of reader who liked to underline certain passages or quotes as well as writing down someone’s phone number on the title page. I immediately felt the pain of jealousy, wondering whose number she wrote down. I was tempted to make the phone call, but I kept hesitating, because in reality I didn’t want to lose that feeling of jealousy.
One of the lines that she underlined, got to me the most. "He cannot enter, he does not enter.” I had no doubt that the “he” in this sentence was me. I was only wondering if she was commenting on me, or something much larger than that. Perhaps she feels the same way as I do, regarding that love is far more potent when attached to things or locations. The thought that we are having an affair between us through this book made this specific edition of “Nadja” into an erotic object.
One of my favorite songs by Lou Christie is “Rhapsody In The Rain, ” which he co-wrote with Twyla Herbert. The song is about a teenager’s memory of a sexual experience in the backseat of a car. I was intrigued because it placed a sensual act within the weather (the rain) and an automobile.
Baby, the raindrops play for me/
A lonely rhapsody 'cause on our first date/
We were makin' out in the rain/
And in this car our love went much too far/
It was exciting as thunder/
Tonight I wonder, where you are?
What’s erotic to me is the raindrops and imagine what the car looked like and smelt like that moment that he made love in that automobile. Beyond that, I also want to find out where the car was parked, and I would have loved to go there with my Nadja, and make love to her in that car.