Writers’ Wisdom

I’m still enveloped and affected by the world of Anais Nin since I finished the second volume of her diary yesterday. While parts of it didn’t resonate as much, most of it was sheer beauty, brilliance and bountifully eyeopening for me in regard to my own life and writing.

I can’t stop thinking about her friends, her generosity and sometimes “too much” unselfishness and her word craft, of course. I want to know more about her friends, I want to read their writings and see how she influenced them.

I plan to start with Henry Miller, who played a huge role in Anais’ life and will take along his “Tropic of Cancer” when I go to Ireland next week. I remember my mother talking about how much the book affected her when she read surreptitiously read it while in high school and know all about its banning, etc., so I’m looking forward to diving in.

With that being said, it seems only fitting that Mr. Miller give us this week’s Writers’ Wisdom.

Answers.com photo

Answers.com photo

Develop an interest in life as you see it; the people, things, literature, music – the world is so rich, simply throbbing with rich treasures, beautiful
souls and interesting people. Forget yourself.

Henry Miller

I’m also quite fond of this one, too:

“Write first and always.
Painting, music, friends, cinema, all these come afterwards.”

NMM

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Writers’ Wisdom

Photo from authorbuffyandrews.com

Photo from authorbuffyandrews.com

“Writers see the world differently. Every voice we hear, every face we see, every  hand we touch could become story fabric.”
Buffy Andrews

NMM

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Writers’ Wisdom

(theguardian.com photo)

(theguardian.com photo)

“The process of writing can be magical —
there times when you step out of an upper-floor window and you just walk across thin air, and it’s absolute and utter happiness.
Mostly, it’s a process of putting one word after another.”

Neil Gaiman

NMM

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Writers’ Wisdom

Photo from Wikipedia

Photo from Wikipedia

“One of the pleasant things those of us who write or paint do
is to have the daily miracle. It does come.”

Gertrude Stein

NMM

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Writers’ Wisdom

(Roger-Viollet / Rex Features photo)

(Roger-Viollet / Rex Features photo)

“Writing is a little door.
Some fantasies, like big pieces of furniture, won’t come through.”

Susan Sontag 

NMM

 

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Writers’ Wisdom

(toledofreepress.com photo)

(toledofreepress.com photo)

“Use the creative process
— singing, writing, art, dance, whatever —
to get to know yourself better.”

Catie Curtis

NMM

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Bookworm: “The Diary of Anais Nin Vol. 1″

On a whim, I started my first journal in the summer of 1994. I was 17, and Nikki at 17 was, I like to think, nothing short of incandescent that summer between my junior and senior year of high school.

Though that journal is packed up in a box at my parents house in Pennsylvania, I can still see its shiny, burgundy-toned paisley-ish design, and its pages filled with the girlish, curlicued handwriting I’m still guilty of having today. I wrote about my escapades that summer, the dates I went on, the things I got into with my friends and, well, whatever woes that 17-year-old me had.

That journal started what has become my main hobby in life, which is recording said life. Taking about said life. Working through the trials, tribulations and jubilations of said life. Twenty years later, I’m on my 23rd journal, the big leather-bound one with the dragon, the one that’s going to be around for quite some time because it’s enormous.

Being a journaler has helped me in ways I can only image therapy helps people. Instead of talking to a shrink, I write out my thoughts, my anger, my hopes, dreams, etc. and so forth. Most of it, probably a lot more than I care to admit, is probably drivel. Boring, daily-life shit that would most likely bore anyone who would read it to tears, but it is an extension of me, myself and I, and I know that I’d be lost without it, sort of like Anais Nin was when her therapists and friends told her to stop writing in her diary, to stop relying on it so much.
See what I did there, that’s what we call a nice segue in the biz … 

nin diaryI’d been interested in reading more works by Anais Nin, because I am bold enough to admit that I love “Delta of Venus,” her collection of erotic stories. Her sentence and story structure, language and unbridled writing style is incomparable, so I was interested to see how she wrote for her eyes only.

She wrote passionately, profoundly, intellectually. The more I devoured “The Diary of Anais Nin: Volume 1 (1931-1934)” on my Kindle, the more embarrassed I became about my own journaling. And not even just the writings of that 17-year-old fabulous girl I once was. I’m talking the later stuff, the writings of the less-than-fabulous woman who just turned 37, who also happens to be a trained journalist.

My heart lurched as I read Nin’s account of her life, which, in this volume, mostly centered on her relationship with writer Henry Miller and his bewitching wife, June, as well as her sessions with therapists Rene Allendy and Otto Rank. Her complicated relationship with her often-estranged father also takes up a large part of this book. This latter part of the book, how she struggles with her thoughts and feelings about her relationship with him is fascinating, probably because I, too, have a similar experience with my birth father. The way she handles and writes about her feelings, from letting go of that little girl who wanted to please this strange man, who started writing in a diary first and foremost for him after he left her, her mother and her brother, to how she finally sees him for who he is — and, more importantly, discovers who she is in the process — is powerful, so very powerful.

After finishing the first volume, I felt I had no right to call myself a journaler or a diarist. I would look at my dragon book and feel the urge to toss it out, to call my parents and demand they burn that box of old journals.

But instead, I began digging deeper into my psyche as I noted my recent happenings. Instead of just giving light play-by-play or “screaming” about whatever was clogging up my head at that exact moment, I thought about how things made me feel more, and found my recording helped me open up even more to myself than I ever have before.

No, I won’t be fraternizing with the likes of Henry Miller or famous doctors like Rank and Allendy, and I am almost 100 percent positive that my journals will never see the light of published day, but that wasn’t the desired outcome when I first put pen to paper in 1994.

I didn’t start writing for anyone else; I started writing in these journals all those years ago for me, and in reading this volume, I’ve stepped up my journaling game in my own way. And I think that’s exactly what Ms. Nin would want someone who read her diaries to do, to not let themselves be talked out of recording the details of their life because they feel inferior or pedestrian. It’s their story to tell, in whatever way they’re capable.

I can’t wait to see how reading the rest of her published diaries affects me, too.

NMM

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