Saturday, October 07, 2006

Henry and June - from A Journal of Love (1931-32)

Currently reading: "The Odyssey" by Homer, and "Tropic of Cancer" by Henry Miller
Next up: ??? :)

How does one review published diaries? According to literary merit? Though Anais Nin is a beautiful, insightful writer, I feel strange talking about her "writing style" when discussing a section of her journal. What I will talk about instead is the way that books often come into your life at a time when you need them. It happened to me once with 1984 (when I needed to crystalize exactly why writing was so important to me), then again with Everything is Illuminated (when I needed to be encouraged back into writing after I'd stopped for a long time).
I was inspired to walk into a bookstore and purchase Henry and June a week or two ago, because I've been doing a lot of self-examination recently, and having heard a lot about Anais Nin I thought her journals would be the best thing to accompany me on the beginning of my journey. Originally, I'd wanted a full volume of her journals, but everything was sold out, so I ended up buying Henry and June...and since I'd never read her before, I thought it would be a good introduction.
I am so grateful that this book came into my life when it did. All I knew about Nin before reading it had to do with the sex she had. People love to sensationalize, and so when one hears the name, Anais Nin, one automatically thinks "sexual awakening", "deviance", "erotica." What amazed me was how much we had in common outside of that - the insecurities, the way in which we see men and the world, the positive and negative aspects of a Catholic upbringing, and most importantly: the ongoing battle between loving submission and intellectual assertiveness; how difficult it is to be a strong woman while still holding on to one's emotional vulnerability. I learned so much from her insights...and while I won't be having three or four lovers any time soon (heh), I appreciate the spirit of adventure with which she tried to live her life. It's something I hope to emulate in my own way.
I cried (wept) as I read the last paragraph of Henry and June, because it magically captured exactly where I am at this moment in my life:
Last night, I wept. I wept because the process by which I have become woman was painful. I wept because I was no longer a child with a child's blind faith. I wept because my eyes were opened to reality - to Henry's selfishness, June's love of power, my insatiable creativity which must concern itself with others and cannot be sufficient to itself. I wept because I could not believe anymore and I love to believe. I can still love passionately without believing. That means I love humanly. I wept because from now on I will weep less. I wept because I have lost my pain and I am not yet accustomed to its absence.
How did she know?
Henry and June - Awesome


Post a Comment

<< Home