Anaïs Nin’s Childhood Writings: 13th birthday

On Feb. 22, 1916, the day after Anaïs Nin’s 13th birthday, she made this entry into her childhood diary, Linotte (translated from the French):

13 years old! An age when the world gives a glimpse of its abyss of pleasures.

13 years old! An age when the future, which yesterday seemed far away, comes to haunt one’s dreams.

13 years old! An age when a locked heart opens, when one that is open becomes locked.

13 years old! An age when a little girl breaks the frail cocoon and becomes a young lady. I am 13 years old!

Anais Nin at 13

It seems to me that yesterday I am newborn or have just died. It seems to me the old Anaïs has nothing to do with the new one. A year ago, 2 years ago, I glimpsed what had just happened like an old remembered story, because memory is like a film, for when the foggy curtain rises, an entire life unrolls before one, all the ups and downs of that long, simple, moving story, “Life.” Nonetheless, yesterday is gone. Today I picked up with the same habits, the same routine, and, I confess, the same disposition. Oh, but it’s difficult to improve oneself. Yesterday when I did the same things, I scolded myself. I promised to stop. Then someone calls me, I turn around, and Plif! it all disappears and I begin again only the regret again later.

Ah, how unthinking we are! And all-powerful God from His throne on high must certainly smile and say: I must make a soul of iron… I don’t think that it would be so frivolous, so forgetful. But then we would be completely useless and I suppose that it’s better to do something wrong that can be mended than nothing.

But I criticize frivolous people and I am one myself. Here is a proof of that. The same evening, after the little party Maman gave for that marvelous 13th birthday, I wrote to Papa, and afterward, the next day, to my confidant. Those are the only two (including Maman) to whom I give my heart and my impressions immediately after the fact, for that is the single instant when they are perfect.

To see posts on Anaïs Nin’s cultural heritage, parents, birthplace, and birth certificate, click here.

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  2. I remember the part about her criticising frivolous people and being one herself.

    It’s one of the most interesting parts of Linotte and well-covered in the biographies.

    It would be great to show to all the 13-year-olds who are just starting to get interested in Nin and writing about themselves.

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