Thinking of Anais Nin: Alex Thayer

Alex Thayer

There is only the meaning we give our individual lives, a book for each person.”

What makes people despair is that they try to find a universal meaning to the whole of life, and then end up by saying it is absurd, illogical, empty of meaning. There is not one big, cosmic meaning for all, there is only the meaning we each give to our life, an individual meaning, an individual plot, like an individual novel, a book for each person.”

— Anaïs Nin

Chapter One A Book for Each Person (Anaïs Nin and Alex Thayer)

Front of postcard

Back of postcard

Subject: Anaïs Nin occurrence
Date: Fri, 9 Jan 1998 20:08:31 -0800 (PST)
From: ‘Loafer’ Alex Thayer” <>
To: Moira Collins

I just found your incredibly interesting web page about Anaïs Nin. I wanted to ask you a question: did she ever publish a book titled “This Hunger?” Perhaps that was a working title, I wouldn’t know because I am almost totally ignorant of her work.

I am asking you because about 11 years ago, my mother found a postcard writtem by Anaïs Nin. This postcard was hidden in a used book that my mother purchased in England. It’s been a while since I looked at the postcard, but I think it was dated sometime around 1945. It looks like a note to her publisher, written in New York City…Ms. Nin mentions a book called “This Hunger” that she may have been working on at the time.

Alex Thayer

Chapter Two (Anaïs Nin and Alex Taylor)

Subject: Anaïs Nin postcard revisited
Date: Sun, 18 Jan 1998 14:49:06 -0800 (PST)
From: “‘Loafer’ Alex Thayer” <>
To: Moira Collins

Well, I’ve got the postcard right here. I just scanned both sides of it, and I’ll send those image files to you separately (they are under 1 MB total). Here’s some information about the card itself:

My mother found the card in an Anaïs Nin book that she bought second-hand in Greenwich Village, NYC. She bought the book in the mid-1970’s, and for a long time she used the postcard as a bookmark! Fortunately, she was careful with the card; the postcard is still in very nice condition.

After a while, the postcard slipped inside the book and my mother forgot that she had it at all. When my family moved to England in 1987, my mother rediscovered the postcard when she unpacked the book that had enclosed it for ten years. She realized that it must be important, and she asked me to put it in a protective holder. I placed the postcard in a clear plastic sleeve (I collected baseball cards) and put the sleeve inside a plastic case. My mother has kept the card in this case for the past 11 years now.

The card itself is quite interesting. It is a light brown postcard with two (originally) blank sides. On the front, Ms. Nin wrote the address for the magazine “Publisher’s Weekly.” In the top right, there is a cancelled one-cent postage stamp. The postmark bears the date, “New York, N.Y. / Nov 14 / 9 PM / 1945,” or only a few months after the end of World War II. Ms. Nin wrote the address by hand.

The back of the postcard was also hand-written by Ms. Nin. Here is a transcription of her scripted writing:

“Dear Sir: I received your card today asking for information on my new book This Hunger. I already sent you detailed information but no copy of the book because it is a small edition and I cannot afford to give away copies. Please let me know if you have listed the information I sent you about 2 weeks ago. Sincerely, Anaïs Nin; 215 West 13 NYC.”

Anyway, that’s all that is written or printed on the postcard. I’ll send those images in the next E-mail.

Alex Thayer

Chapter Three Alex Taylor and Anaïs Nin

Subject: Re: Anaïs Nin postcard revisited
Date: Tue, 20 Jan 1998 11:06:20 -0800 (PST)
From: “‘Loafer’ Alex Thayer” <>
To: Moira Collins

Alex-thanks so much for sending on the info. It will encourage me to get all my correspondence from Nin up! on the site

Yes-This Hunger was printed (although now is out of print) will give you details later-I am hoping to scan a cover of the book and then detail your story about the postcard-so fascinating!

Hello! I’m glad you were able to use what I wrote. I think your idea for your web page is really good; I’ve got my own web page, and I’ve been designing stuff like that for a couple of years now. *)

Anaïs wrote wonderful postcards-its quite refreshing to read such a business-like one! sorry this is so clipped-I am working under a number of deadlines-will get back to you !

Heh heh…yes, that’s one “business-like” postcard! I have read that 1945 was quite a tough time in Ms. Nin’s life; she seems to have had almost no money. And please, take your time! You don’t have to reply to me right away…*)

Alex Thayer

A Thank You for Taking the Time, Moira Collins

Subject: Re: Postcard Scan/ A book for each person
Date: Mon, 26 Jan 1998 20:30:48 -0800 (PST)
From: “‘Loafer’ Alex Thayer” <>
To: Moira Collins

“There is only the meaning we give our individual lives, a book for each person” –Anaïs Nin

Alex-thanks so ,much for taking the time to scan this-we are in the midst of redesigning the site and so look forward to tell your story (book)on the site–as your response is just what we had anticipated and the email stream is perfect, as you describe things so clearly (you should go into rare books! your description of the postcard and the way you scanned it in all modes, so perfect! )

Heh heh…*) Geez, I’m blushing here. I’m glad you appreciated the postcard photos and the transcription. It has bugged me for a long time that this postcard was just sitting there, unknown to any Anaïs Nin readers. I don’t know what possessed me to write to you or even try to find someone to tell this story to! But I’m glad I told it to you…*) I do hope to be a creative writer someday. Right now, I’ve only been published in an obscure Jimi Hendrix fan magazine…*)

By the by if you come across anyone working with netobjects, we’d love knowing about them-we are designing (re=designing the site using this mode and are in the midst of getting quotes etc-which is why I can’t tell you when the changes will be up. It would be great if it were by Anaïs’s birthday Feb 21st-

I’m not sure I know what you mean by “netobjects,” but if you explain yourself I might be able to help you…*)

Best wishes to your Mom as well-and I do think you should grab an interesting book called Used and Rare that came out in 1997 about two writers who inadvertently became collectors! I just took it out of my local library, actually my husband did, but I enjoyed it so much-that I may try and order it on amazon com.

Thanks! I’ll have to go find that book. I was watching an interesting show on PBS this weekend. They had an antique appraisal fair, and one of the items being appraised was a couple of handwritten pages from Ernest Hemingway! That reminded me quite a bit of Anaïs Nin…*)

Yours in the book, about Alex Thayer and Anaïs Nin and thanks so much! again…

Moira Collins

No problem, Moira! Talk to you later…