Thinking of Anais Nin: An Open Letter to Anaïs Nin

An Open Letter to Anaïs Nin

4 May 1998
Rive Del Garda, Italy

Dear Ms Nin, Anaïs;

I can’t say your name, even in my head, without hearing it said by Henry Miller. It slides from the tongue like the remnants of the last peppery sip of pernod of an evening. It is pure pleasure. I have never met you, did not become aware of your existence until long after you left this world, still am completely uncertain as to why I follow with interest the steps you took, and am certainly unsure as to why I read the works you wrote. It is part of the enigma that you are. Casting your shadow forward. I mean, I certainly knew the name, so connected with the airport paperback trade decades before when Little Birds and Delta of Venus were seventy five cents a copy; but they were one of the last books of yours I bought. Not wanting to tarnish what I had first read with what I took to be pornography. But they were equally as wonderful, poetry, the staccato steps of your heels on the flagstones of a very long lost time as I flipped the pages, as all your other works. The pleasure I receive from your words is as much in the reading as it is in the seeking out of the books themselves. I have found them in bookshops in Paris, in London, in Pisa, and luckily glimpsed amidst the scattered piles in second hand bookshops from Boston to Seattle; each a greater joy to find than the last. Still read with a clouded head, unsure what I was reading, not certain I really wanted to know. Certainly not to have it explained through someones else’s interpretation. I learnt from classes at University that that can provoke an even bigger paradox. The relationship is so imperfect. Like you said, any moment that long contemplated can never be perfect. You have captured the dilemma. And we are left completely alone and helpless to define your words. And never happier.


Warren Laine