My Love Affair With Anaïs Nin

We’ve been seeing each other for over a month. It’s still early in the relationship, so I’m a bit premature in saying this, but I think she could be The One. My latest and greatest literary Muse. Why?

She inspires me. She challenges my preconceived notions. She makes me laugh. She pisses me off. She writes Erotica! She’s more than a little dysfunctional – but I’ve got talking rabbits in my mind, so who am I to judge? We disagree on key issues like abortion, fidelity, incest, honesty, and polygamy. But, “God how I love [her] Words!” And anyone who can feed my insatiable appetite for language automatically goes on my short list of True Loves, no questions asked.

Is it just me, or does she kind of resemble that other great lady, Hillary Clinton?

Is it just me, or does she kind of resemble that other great lady, Hillary Clinton?

So how did we fall for each other? Well, here’s the low down on the whole sneaky seduction – as told through my favorite Anaïs Nin quotes, of course!

It started innocently enough. In late March, my friend Selana posted this quote on her Facebook page:

Love never dies a natural death. It dies because we don’t know how to replenish its source. It dies of blindness and errors and betrayals. It dies of illness and wounds; it dies of weariness, of witherings, of tarnishings.”

This was about halfway through my self-imposed forty day “Facebook Fast” for Lent, so I didn’t actually see the full post online, but leave it to my oft-forgotten account settings and Gmail to send e-mail updates to my phone whenever a close friend changed their status. I took a moment to glance at the quote before quickly deleting it. The thought occurred to me that I really liked the eloquent wording, but I pressed the trash icon before I had a chance to see who the phrase was attributed to.

I guess you could say Anaïs and I spotted each other in a crowded room, shared a brief “moment”, but didn’t manage to exchange names or contact information. The moment passed quickly enough and I thought that was the end of it. Surely, I’d never see her again.

But less than two weeks later, there she was popping up in my line of sight once more! This time I was scrolling through the never-ending stream of advertisements that accumulate in my Gmail promotions tab. I paused to get my daily fix of curly girl hair inspiration from Curly Nikki, and what do I see from one of the many guest bloggers but this gem that literally stopped me in my tracks:

“I must be a mermaid… I have no fear of depths and a great fear of shallow living.” ― Anaïs Nin

If I’m being completely honest, I loved the quote but still wasn’t quite in-love with the author just yet. I’m a rabbit kind of girl, after all. Some days, when I’m feeling extra boundless, I’m even a bird.

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I’m a bird, I’m a bird! Say it… Tell me I’m a bird… Better yet, I’m an Angel!!! #Boundless

But a mermaid? I could appreciate the sentiment behind the words, but they weren’t exactly speaking to my soul in that intimate voice that comes right before The Fall. On the bright side, I had a name to go along with the quote now, although I hadn’t yet realized it was the same person from my friend Selana’s earlier post.

Another week passed when I saw these words from fellow blogger and new friend Cristian Mihai “You cannot save people.” He attributed the partial quote to Anaïs also, and after several run-ins with her name, I knew I had to find out more. These accidental meetings were starting to feel downright kismet!

I stalked out her entire life. Her journals – expurgated and otherwise. Her erotic writings for a private collector. Her political views.  Her psychotherapy and incestuous relationships. Her marriages to two men at the same time. Her lovers. I wanted it all. Clearly I was obsessed.

Which, I guess, makes me something of the Anaïs to her June Miller? I told myself the whole thing would blow over soon enough – I can be fickle with my Muses that way – but for the moment, these were the Words that fanned the flames of my devotion:

“There are two ways to reach me: by way of kisses or by way of the imagination. But there is a hierarchy: the kisses alone don’t work.”

“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.”

“The role of a writer is not to say what we can all say, but what we are unable to say.”

A taste of my own search for Imagination

A taste of my own search for Imagination.

“We do not grow absolutely, chronologically. We grow sometimes in one dimension, and not in another; unevenly. We grow partially. We are relative. We are mature in one realm, childish in another. The past, present, and future mingle and pull us backward, forward, or fix us in the present. We are made up of layers, cells, constellations.”

You know how I love stars and constellations!

You know how I love my stars and constellations!

 

“I, with a deeper instinct, choose a man who compels my strength, who makes enormous demands on me, who does not doubt my courage or my toughness, who does not believe me naïve or innocent, who has the courage to treat me like a woman.”

“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.”

“Someone told me the delightful story of the crusader who put a chastity belt on his wife and gave the key to his best friend for safekeeping, in case of his death. He had ridden only a few miles away when his friend, riding hard, caught up with him, saying ‘You gave me the wrong key!

“The only abnormality is the incapacity to love.”

“Our love of each other was like two long shadows kissing without hope of reality.”

“I write emotional algebra.”

“In chaos, there is fertility.”

Feeling pretty "chaotic".

Feeling pretty “chaotic”.

“Something is always born of excess: great art was born of great terror, great loneliness, great inhibitions, instabilities, and it always balances them.”

“There are very few human beings who receive the truth, complete and staggering, by instant illumination. Most of them acquire it fragment by fragment, on a small scale, by successive developments, cellularly, like a laborious mosaic.”

Mural by California artist Chor Boogie

Mural by California artist Chor Boogie

After that last one, the only thing I could think of were the “mosaic eyes” that sit behind the Wish Boutique parking lot in my Little 5 Points ‘hood. Was the Boogie Blogger watching me … or could it be Anaïs? ~ cS

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