Here we go again. More speed, less haste. Or should that be the other way round?
I have my sense of direction this evening from Jennybabes.
Anais Nin kept a diary from age eleven and a half into her sixties. She was born? No time to look it up, but I guess around 1905. She and her husband, an American Banker turn up in Paris, where she meets yank ne’er do well, the 40 something Henry Miller. A punk, a ball of spunk, a mad, dangerous drinker, whoring unpublished writer running from the dank failure of New York.
Way, way, way ahead of his time. And still pints more honesty than you will find in ANY Diaryland Diary (especially anything written by a bloke).
Henry lived off Anais in more ways than one. He fed upon her, she upon him, they sucked their bodies and brains dry – they were lovers. They encouraged and facilitated each other’s development as writers.
This turmoil of a relationship fed Anais’s desire and craving and longing to write – more importantly it gave her something to write about. Her diary become the reason why she acted the way she did, why she risked all, why she risked antyhing at all. Does anyone in Diaryland go out and do something in order to report it in their diary? Find me one. We all keep our ‘deepest truth’ our real selves offline don’t we? Now one is truly exposed. Try me.
The ‘Journals’ were an obsession with Anais. She fed the ‘monster’ – her dairy and ultimately, after constant rewrites (and embellishments) these diaries were published – and became notorious.
Meanwhile, Henry Miller causes outrage with ‘Tropic of Cancer’ (Or was it Capricorn, no time to check. Top of my head stuff. A hungry, feastful of a book that was condemended as pornographic (in Britain, you could buy it in Paris – which is where I bought a copy to go with the Miller-esque ‘apartement’ in the Marias. (Find me a man who isn’t aroused by it. It is blunt talk, man talk. Honest. Literary. Mind filling stuff. Heavy going too. Getting through paragraphs that stretch from page to page to page is hard on the head.
Together Anais Nin and Henry Miller not only make a great read, if you keep a diarym, they will change the way you write, perhaps the way you live.
Anais produced some exotic, titilating erotica, and some volumes of her diary make gripping reading, try ‘Henry & June’ to begin with. She ultimately becomes a bore, too self-centred and unfulfilled because she cheated on her husband … and lovers. An ageist remark (that also applies to Heenry Miller, but once they got into their sixties they became impotent andtheir word flatulent).
Anais, non the less, became a voice for the ‘Hippy Era’, a feminist, the ‘true woman’ exposed.
There are diaries in Diaryland that make Anais look weak and niave. The Truth of woman and man is an orgiastic feast of diaries, lies, truths, failure and successes at self-expression.
The film ‘Henry & June’ is a reasonable way in. Lots of humping and grinding, innocent compared to the activities of the 21st century, a bit like watching cowboys in a saloon going upstairs with a couple of call-girls.
It is hisory. We are all Henry, all Anais. Maybe not all. Here in Diaryland so become Pat Califia.
Enough. Anais kept a diary for longer than any of us. She explored the many reasons for keeping a diary and as a writer did the one thing we ALL gain from keeping a diary – we learn to speak with a fluid voice, that isn’t a spoken voice, isn’t a text message or email, isn’t prose for printing.
Our diaries are closer to reality than anything from a journal written in long hand at the end of the day.