Anais Nin (1903-1977) was a French-Cuban writer of international fame who was popular first for her journals, which span a period of more than sixty years, and later as both an inspiration to the early feminist movement and author of erotic short stories. She had a number of lovers over the years, some quite prominent men, including Henry Miller. Her journals are a frank, introspective, intimate and at times erotic portrayal of one woman's narcissistic and deeply personal life. The following quotes are a sampling of her writing.
"I disregard the proportions, the measures, the tempo of the ordinary world. I refuse to live in the ordinary world as ordinary women. to enter ordinary relationships, I want ecstacy. I am a neurotic- in the sense that i live in my world. I will not adjust myself to the world. I am adjusted to myself."
"Ordinary life does not interest me. I seek only the high moments. I am in accord with the surrealists, searching for the marvelous. I want to be a writer who reminds others that these moments exist; I want to prove that there is infinite space, infinite meaning, infinite dimension. But I am not always in what I call a state of grace. I have days of illuminations and fevers. I have days when the music in my head stops. Then I mend socks, prune trees, can fruits, polish furniture. But while I am doing this I feel I am not living."
"I don't really want to become normal, average, standard. I want merely to gain in strength, in the courage to live out my life more fully, enjoy more, experience more. I want to develop even more original and more unconventional traits"
For indeed my life is a perpetual question mark--my thirst for books, my observations of people, all tend to satisfy a great, overwhelming desire to know, to understand, to find an answer to a million questions. And gradually the answers are revealed, many things are explained, and above all, many things are given names and described, and my restlessness is subdued. Then I become and exclamatory person, clapping my hands to the immense surprises the world holds for me, and falling from one ecstasy into another. I have the habit of peeping and prying and listening and seeking--passionate curiosity and expectation. But I have also the habit of being surprised, the habit of being filled with wonder and satisfaction each time I stumble on some wondrous thing. The first habit could make me a philosopher or a cynic or perhaps a humorist. But the other habit destroys all the delicate foundations, and I find each day that I am still...only a Woman!"
"I am so thirsty for the marvelous that only the marvelous has power over me. Anything I can not transform into something marvelous, I let go. Reality doesn't impress me. I only believe in intoxication, in ecstasy, and when ordinary life shackles me, I escape one way or another. No more walls."
Much of Nin's writings is flamboyant and sensual, but she also wrote one of the truest statements I've ever read about writing when she said, "We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect." Of all of her quotes, this one is my favorite.
select one here...