Saturday, January 22, 2011

"The Diary of Anais Nin: Vol. 1 (1931 - 1934)

Published: 1969
Read: 2011
Genre: Memoir
Setting: France
Rating: 4
Reviews: Goodreads


"My diary is my notebook.  Everything goes into it that I may use for novels." (Feb '32)

"I have been trying to be honest, day by day, in the diary." (Feb. '32)

"But it is also true that when I write afterwards, I see much more, I understand better, I develop and enrich....I have such a need of Truth!  It must be that need of immediate recording which incites me to write almost while I am living, before it is altered, changed by distance or time."  (April '32)

"It takes character to write a long, lifelong diary."  (April '32)

"Writers do not live one life, they live two.  There is the living and then there is teh writing.  There is the second tasting, the delayed reaction." (April '32)

"It is what I do with the journal, carrying it everywhere, writing on cafe tables while waiting for a friend, on the train, on the bus, in waiting rooms at the station, while my hair is washed, at the Sorbonne when the lectures get tedious, on journeys, trips, almost while people are talking." (Nov. '32)

"The diary began as a diary of a journal, to record everything for my father.  It was also an island, in which I could take refuge in an alien land, write French, think my thoughts, hold onto my soul, to myself." (March '33)

"I love the idea of anonymity for the journal. It fits my earlier desire to remain unknown.  It is wonderful - the secrecy again and always." (March '33)

"I only regret that everybody wants to deprive me of the journal, which is the only steadfast friend I have, the only one which makes my life bearable because my happiness with human beings is so precarious,my confiding moods rare, and the least sign of non-interest is enough to silence me.  In the journal I am at ease." (June '33)

"My dear Diary, it is Anais who is speaking to you, and not someone who thinks as everybody should think.  Dear Diary, pity me, but listen to me." (June '33)

"Whenever I feel sadness about my father, I write.  When I yearn for him, I write.  When I feel regrets, I write." (April 1934).

August 1934 - very graphic and moving description of birthing a 6 month stillborn child.

My thoughts on these quotes and what my journal means to me 

The honest truth is that I don't really have anyone that I tell everything to.  My stuff is too convoluted and ever evolving - as soon as I explain my position today, or random thoughts today, they could be different tomorrow.  It doesn't make sense to me half the time - how would someone else take it?

So the blank pages of my journal - this is where I can be real.  Let it all hang out.  Get my crazy thoughts out.  Think through things, ponder, write out, sort out.  I love the blank pages, rather than lines, as sometimes my thoughts need a diagram or boxes with arrows pointing the way.  I love my fountain pens as they write so smoothly.

These pages do not judge, do not seek to "fix" me.  They understand completely; I do not need to elaborate or re-explain.  The are a place of safety, freedom - encouraging me to be open, truthful, honest, uninhibited, uncensored, free association - anything goes.

All this leads me to a greater understanding, clarity, focus, comprehension and awareness of myself, what I've been through, of Josh's suicide, of my relationships, of my heart, my soul, my mind, my psyche.

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