Anais & Miller

book coverI´m the most unfaithful of readers.

I cannot read just one book at a time; I jump from a book to the other, I get bored and drop a book – even a so called master piece – without regrets. Some times, I leave the others behind and I sink, like a maniac, in a particular book – for no reason (like love).

I can never get enough from reading so I keep collecting lovers books, abandoning them when boredom strikes and jumping around – touching different authors, stories, subjects, sensations.

I´ve said it but I repeat: I´m an epicurist and, where reading is concerned, I am an infamous epicurist with total disregard for convention. Who said convention should be followed?

This time around, it´s the letters from/to Anais Nin and Henry Miller which are making me mad – I can´t put the book down, despite the complaints of the other books which I´m currently keeping on my lap. And I mean MAD.

What a book! What is more important: what a life, what a couple, what a relationship. There are many things that cross my mind while I´m reading it (nearly finished it) but one keeps coming back to the centre: life should be taken by its horns and riden with passion and an open mind/heart/body/soul. God knows these two did it and the reader lives a little bit higher – in tone, in quality, in madness – because of their story.

The letters are edited and ordered in a way that allows the reader to rebuild the story of Anais Nin and Henry Miller´s relationship and literary work – cool. But what strikes me the most is the passion for life and for each other, humanity spiced up with glimpses of The Divine. A L-O.-V-E a life well lived ❤

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In 1932, months after first meeting in Paris and despite both being married, Cuban diarist Anaïs Nin and hugely influential novelist Henry Miller began an incredibly intense love affair that would last for many years and, along the way, generate countless passionate love letters. Below, in my humble opinion, is one of the most powerful examples, written by Miller in August of 1932 shortly after a visit to Nin’s home in Louveciennes.

(Submitted by Laura Dillon  originally from A Literate Passion: Letters of Anaïs Nin and Henry Miller, 1932-1953; Images: Anaïs Nin & Henry Miller via here & here.)

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August 14, 1932

Anais:

Don’t expect me to be sane anymore. Don’t let’s be sensible. It was a marriage at Louveciennes—you can’t dispute it. I came away with pieces of you sticking to me; I am walking about, swimming, in an ocean of blood, your Andalusian blood, distilled and poisonous. Everything I do and say and think relates back to the marriage. I saw you as the mistress of your home, a Moor with a heavy face, a negress with a white body, eyes all over your skin, woman, woman, woman. I can’t see how I can go on living away from you—these intermissions are death. How did it seem to you when Hugo came back? Was I still there? I can’t picture you moving about with him as you did with me. Legs closed. Frailty. Sweet, treacherous acquiescence. Bird docility. You became a woman with me. I was almost terrified by it. You are not just thirty years old—you are a thousand years old.

Here I am back and still smouldering with passion, like wine smoking. Not a passion any longer for flesh, but a complete hunger for you, a devouring hunger. I read the paper about suicides and murders and I understand it all thoroughly. I feel murderous, suicidal. I feel somehow that it is a disgrace to do nothing, to just bide one’s time, to take it philosophically, to be sensible. Where has gone the time when men fought, killed, died for a glove, a glance, etc? (A victrola is playing that terrible aria from Madama Butterfly—”Some day he’ll come!”)

I still hear you singing in the kitchen—a sort of inharmonic, monotonous Cuban wail. I know you’re happy in the kitchen and the meal you’re cooking is the best meal we ever ate together. I know you would scald yourself and not complain. I feel the greatest peace and joy sitting in the dining room listening to you rustling about, your dress like the goddess Indra studded with a thousand eyes.

Anais, I only thought I loved you before; it was nothing like this certainty that’s in me now. Was all this so wonderful only because it was brief and stolen? Were we acting for each other, to each other? Was I less I, or more I, and you less or more you? Is it madness to believe that this could go on? When and where would the drab moments begin? I study you so much to discover the possible flaws, the weak points, the danger zones. I don’t find them—not any. That means I am in love, blind, blind. To be blind forever! (Now they’re singing “Heaven and Ocean” from La Gioconda.)”

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