1/30/09

Wise Women Friday: Anais Nin

Words of Wisdom from Anais Nin:

Beware of allowing a tactless word, 
a rebuttal, a rejection to obliterate the whole sky.

Have you read Anais Nin?  I have.  I've read some of her memoirs and after a while I had to stop because she just seemed so self absorbed.  But she definitely lived a full life and I love anyone who holds onto life like a tenacious jackal holding tight to a rabbit's jaw.  

And God bless her she was a writer.  Why do any of us want to be writers?  The constant rejection, the lack of profit.  It's ridiculous.  I think we must all be mentally ill.  The fact is people don't choose to become writers.  They write because they have no choice.  It's like a disease, an addiction.  There should be twelve-step program for us.  People tell me, their voices full of pride, that their children want to be writers and I say, "I'm sorry."  I pray that my children will want to be engineers or CPAs, but alas, already I see the signs: the burying of heads in books, the scribbling on paper when faced with disappointment, the preference for imaginary worlds.  I blame myself.  I've cursed them with my defective writerly genes.

But if one must be a writer, one must listen to Nin.  Because you will be rejected.  Your babies, your darlings, your beautiful words will be rejected.  Often.  And you must fight the temptation to let that "obliterate the whole sky."  You must be like Altadena Hiker and laugh, and paste your rejection on walls -- a tribute to your "Evident merit."  You must be like my friend Desiree Zamorano and you must pick up your pen and start writing.  Because the brutal, horrible truth of it is that the only cure for a writer facing rejection is to start writing some more.  


8 comments:

Susan C said...

This is a beautifully written post. I could almost smell the bacon.

Cafe Pasadena said...

Start writing some more?
Sounds like therapy to me.

altadenahiker said...

Laurie's the one who framed hers. I don't think I'd like to look at mine on a daily basis.

I found Nin extremely irritating, but very interesting, and it's hard to be both. She did leave us with a valuable view into a fascinating period in history. She also led me to Henry Miller, and Henry Miller led me to Knut Hamsun.

Petrea said...

My god, Margaret, I've been thinking so hard about your post from two days ago and I come back and you've got two more. Yes, you are a writer.

I read Nin so long ago. I read her because I thought I should. I don't think I'll read her again. I'd rather read you.

I like Desiree. I don't have time for stumbleupon or I'd never get any writing done.

Palm Axis said...

I'm over at Pasadena Adjacent

Ms Nin's quote is indeed wise and whose advise I often fail miserably at, although I continue to "trudge the road of happy destiny" (12 step speak). I've never read any of Nin's memoirs but I did read a collection of her short stories. I originally found out about her because an older friend of mine was a cashier at Occidental College book store in the mid 70's and Anis Nin had been a recent lecturer at Oxy. Kind of cool. From the book I remember lots of sex and I also remember liking it.

I think Nin was a character in the movie Henry and June?

JCK said...

Written with the beautiful, excruciating truth... I adore Anais Nin. Self-involvement and all!

J&D said...



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Star said...

Being a writer sounds like being an art historian (like me). Don't give up your day job, but it's profoundly satisfying, nonetheless. (A friend wanted to be an art historian, but his father forced him to become a lawyer, in order to take up the reins of the family's already well-established firm, with the words "Art history is a great hobby, but it doesn't bring home the bacon" [paraphrased liberally--for our culinary inclinations--from the Italian]! That friend is now a successful fulfilled lawyer and a fascinating dinner table companion. I fear I now think that that was the right choice.)