I’ll Be Anais Nin
My first introduction to Anais Nin came with the debut of Jewel’s album ‘Pieces of You’ in 1995. I was graduating that year and the songs played on popular radio stations seemed more important than anything else and still bring me back to a different place and time. On Jewel’s debut album was a song titled ‘Morning Song’ which included the lyrics: You can be Henry Miller and I’ll be Anais Nin. I didn’t know who they were, but the song was catchy and it was obvious that they were lovers. I was still only seventeen the year I graduated and lonely, so the thought of having a lover or boyfriend truly appealed to me.
I researched who Henry Miller and Anais Nin were and was shocked to find out that they were writers who carried on a literary love affair for nearly twenty years. I kept reading, and learned that their passionate love letters led way to a physical love affair in the 30’s and a love triangle that included Henry’s second wife, June Miller. This love triangle was the basis for the 1992 film ‘Henry & June’. Who would have thought that these type of scandals preceded MTV and cable television? My mother had it all wrong… The love letters between Henry and Anais can also be found in the published work titled: A Literate Passion.
Anais Nin was born in 1903 just outside of Paris. He mother was French-Danish and her father was a Spanish composer who abandoned his family when Anais was just 11. Her mother took Anais and her two brothers and sailed for America (New York to be specific). Anais was known for more than her affair with Henry Miller, she is best known for her diaries, but also wrote novels, poetry, and erotic short stories. Her powerful imagery set her apart from other authors of her time. Her writing began during the journey to America and most of her works were not published until after her death in 1977.
Anais married Hugo Guiler in 1923 and a year later moved to 1924; his career in international banking provided them a comfortable lifestyle and Anais had an opportunity to live on a houseboat on the Seine for a time while they lived in Paris. They moved back to New York right before the outbreak of World War II.
Anais was truly a woman before her time and a cult figure of the early feminist movement. Her writings are poetic, positive, and her words taste smooth, like a buttery chardonnay, well-aged and a flavor that lingers. If you haven’t already headed to the bookstore, here is an irresistible taste of her writings taken from A Literate Passion - I love when you say all that happens is good, it is good. I say all that happens is wonderful. For me it is all symphonic, and I am so aroused by living - God, Henry, in you alone I have found the same swelling of enthusiasm, the same quick rising of the blood, the fullness…