Saturday night, hearing the Durrells could not come to Paris, I boarded a train and went to Nîmes. I’m so glad I did. Not only are Durrell and his wife wonderful, he so deep and she so gay, but to see the Arlesienne countryside, the Nîmes Arena, to find again the beauty I had missed so much, the river, the house, the Roman town, the bridges, the castles. The Durrells have a small peasant house, but a lovely garden. They grow all their own vegetables. No hot water, no bathroom, no W.C.! It is like Mexico.

You cool bottles by lowering them down the well. He is very poor as they have two sets of children whom other parents take half the time. Both were married before. Claude is more international than I am—Irish, French, brought up in Alexandria, in New Zealand, in France — a saucy girl. They took me to an arena where bulls wear tassels on their horns and the men have to remove them for a prize. They try, and they run for their lives and jump the barrier, and some bulls jump too. The whole thing is very gay as there is no death. The men do get hurt now and then, but not as seriously as during bullfights. They drink red wine from morning till night, which keeps everyone glowing but never really drunk. Durrell has known so much poverty that he is obsessed with succeeding. He has already been compared to Proust in France.

We explored Nîmes, sat at the cafés, talked non-stop for two days, and I returned this morning tired out, but with my spiritual batteries recharged for years to come. I had to see Durrell to complete the carnet de bal. No one could be homelier and so humorous. He has an Irish prizefighter face, a thick potato nose, a large head on a small body, shorter than I, and as fat as [my brother] Joaquín…So there is nothing to threaten any husband! But you and he would hit it off — he hates cities, loves the sea, used to have a boat; they paddle a canoe down the river and swim. As soon as you get out of Paris you can live on nothing.

Anaïs Nin
13th May 1958 letter to her lover Rupert Pole

Henry [Miller] returns from his wanderings. We talk about America. I said, “Were you looking for something to love? There is nothing to love here, it is a monster, a huge prosaic monster, buying all the creative wealth of Europe at bargain prices, buying it as they buy paintings, giving jobs to the refugees, yes, but only jobs, only money, no respect or evaluation or devotion, devouring with huge, empty jaws. It is nothing, a void, a colossal robot, a commercial empire, made for caricature, all ugly because it is all materialistic. Every artist born here was killed. You escaped and found yourself, and now you have the strength to grapple with it; it cannot swallow you into its rivers of cement. Look at America for what it is: concrete, iron, cement, lead, bricks, machines, and a mass of blind, anonymous robots. It is a huge monster, but made of papier mâché with marble eyes.

Anaïs Nin
Diary entry, November 24, 1940

total absence of elegance

November 5, 2019

American style in writing – current and general – is commonplace, prosaic, pedestrian, homely, as French never is. Even in Harper’s and Vogue, so-called aristocratic publications, there is a total absence of elegance,  subtlety,  nuances.  Even there the plainness and ugliness is apparent. No wonder I have failed here. I am their antithesis. The poet is the antithesis of America. Just as they don’t know “race,” clothes, distinction, of any kind, their writing reflects vulgarity and looks shabby, seamy,  like faded slippers for tired feet. Mongrels.  But real mongrels acquire a personality from their wanderings. The American mongrel is bourgeois and colourless besides.

Anaïs Nin
Diary entry, December 3rd 1941

nourish the other

November 4, 2019

As a writer I wanted simply to take all the various expressions of art into writing, for I believed that each art must nourish the other, each one can add to the other… In every form of art there is something that I wanted to include, and I wanted writing, poetic writing, to include them all

Anaïs Nin
A Woman Speaks: The Lectures, Seminars, and Interviews of Anais Nin

moon baths

September 7, 2019

At sixteen, Sabina took moon baths, first of all, because everyone else took sunbaths, and second, she admitted, because she had been told it was dangerous.

Anaïs Nin
A Spy in the House of Love

There are books which we read early in life, which sink into our consciousness and seem to disappear without leaving a trace. And then one day we find, in some summing up of our life and our attitudes towards experience, that their influence has been enormous.

Anais Nin
On Truth and Reality
In favour of the Sensitive Man

Concentrate on sex

April 28, 2019


Today I received a telephone call. A voice said, ‘It is fine. But leave out the poetry and descriptions of anything but sex. Concentrate on sex.’

Anais Nin
Delta of Venus

mad inside

April 7, 2019

I am very near to madness. I imagine my isolation, and I go mad inside, a delirium of doubts and fears.

Anaïs Nin

Nearer the Moon: The Previously Unpublished Unexpurgated Diary 1937-1939

broken

February 26, 2019

In me, something is broken. I try over and over again to understand what happened.

Anaïs Nin
Nearer the Moon: The Previously Unpublished Unexpurgated Diary, 1937-1939

drives me mad

February 10, 2019

…when I think of how you press against me, how eagerly you open your legs and how wet you are, God, it drives me mad to think what you would be like when everything falls away.

Henry Miller
Letter to Anaïs Nin on March 11, 1932