Friday, January 2, 2009

Blue Glass Stars

One of my favorite writers is Anais Nin, not for her novels and stories which are too ethereal for me, but for her journals -- especially the one she kept in Paris right before World War II, The Diary of Anais Nin, Volume I, 1931-1934.

I could eat that book up, page by page, painting my house the colors she painted hers, every room a different vivid color, or wearing a necklace as she did of blue glass stars. She name-drops continually in that journal, and through this I have discovered a world of other writers and artists, the writer Lawrence Durrell, for instance.

Unlike Anais, I would have lost patience with Henry Miller (and with June) in the first week. I would have stuck by my boring banker husband and confined my extramarital adventures to the nonsexual kind (But then how would Delta of Venus and Little Birds have ever gotten written?). And I would not have let my therapist feel me up.

But other than that, Anais' journal in the late 1930s is another work of art I could just climb right into.
For a time back in the '90s when I was still actively seeking my soulmate, I decided I wouldn't date anyone unless he had read Anais Nin. Soon, I realized if I held to this, I'd never have another date. So I deduced that Anais, in all her complexity, appeals to women mostly.

Here are a few things she said, in various contexts not necessarily her journals.

The Art of Writing
"If you do not breathe through writing, if you do not cry out in writing, or sing in writing, then don't write, because our culture has no use for it."
"It is the function of art to renew our perception. What we are familiar with we cease to see. The writer shakes up the familiar scene, and, as if by magic, we see a new meaning in it."
Suffering
"Life is truly known only to those who suffer, lose, endure adversity and stumble from defeat to defeat."
Dogma
"When we blindly adopt a religion, a political system, a literary dogma, we become automatons. We cease to grow. "
Self-actualization
"And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom."
Friendship
"Each friend represents a world in us, a world not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born."

13 comments:

Kristen said...

Dear Indie,

(Okay, please pardon my nearly crude bluntness here!)

I have just finished looking through all the books Amazon has by her ... and I have concluded that I will have to come to full grips on my *own* sexuality before I encounter her highly sensual life and writing. But, despite my intimidation, she sounds utterly fascinating! I just have to be ready in my own skin first.

BTW, your dating standard around her struck me as very funny: wise but futile :D

Love to you,
Kristen

Indie said...

Don't worry, the diaries are 'expurgated,' i.e., purged of most of their overt sexuality. Nin committed to keeping her sexual exploits out of the published diaries until after her husband's death. What remains is sensuality, in every detail of daily living. Such a treat!

The two little volumes of erotica were just a gig she did for a few bucks a page from a private collector, just to keep her and her artist friends in bread and wine. Those erotic short stories were discovered and published much later.

Silver Bee said...

Surely I am not the only man to enjoy Nin! Discovered her in college - several epochs ago.

(This is not a pickup line. I am ancient and have also found my soulmate.)

Indie said...

Silver Bee, you guys are too rare! Too few and far between. lol! I'm afraid I would still be waiting for a date...

Ernie Branscomb said...

“Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark, in the hopeless swamp of the approximate, the not-quite, the not-yet, the not-at-all.”
Ayn Rand


So... Who's Anais Nin?

Indie said...

That's it, Ernie, you're out of the running then! lol!

The swamp is rather hard to avoid, but it's good to remind ourselves not to let it dampen our spirits!

I know little about Ayn Rand, having started Atlas Shrugged but not finding it compelling enough to finish. But this was right out of high school; who knows what I might think now?

I watched a film based on Rand's life last year.

Isn't her philosophy based on a kind of enlightened self-interest? I will have to read up.

SoHumBorn said...

when I fist found Nin I drowned myself in her. I read everything by,and about her.
Thanks for reminding me. I think I'm ready for a second round with her work.

SoHumBorn said...

first... dang it! I mean first!
Stupid fingers!

Indie said...

She drags you into her world, just the way you do with your writing, SoHumBorn. She has an eye for the psychological details, same as you.

Anonymous said...

So, I'm your German newborn world then, huh? *lol* Hi, K! I'm writing to you today straight out of the alps. Fantastic weather, sun, snow, friendly people, good food. What more do I want? You should be here with me! We scheduled a massage for me tomorrow and Tuesday we're gonna go on a horsesleigh ride together. If it should snow again, we're trying this barefoot in the snow thing... Now be jealous. ;-P In my thoughts you're here by my side!
Hugs, R.

Indie said...

R, yes exactly. So many interesting facets have come into my life and consciousness as a result of our friendship!

Anonymous said...

Btw K, do you know really HOW swedish last (family) names are made out of? The males get their names from the first names of their fathers and they end with "son of". Did you know that? I once had a costumer called Mr. Ofasson, which would mean the first name of his dad was Ofas and he is the son of him: Ofas-son. Forgot what it was with the woman though... Hope I could enrich our friendship some more *lol* *mwah* R.

Indie said...

Yup, R, that explains my maiden name and all its ss's. And when we researched our genealogy we found out that the women added "dottir" to the father's name (not certain of that spelling, though, maybe it was "dotter"...).