On March 7, the program Lust Letters: Answering Desire With Words was held at Coagula Curatorial in Los Angeles, which included artwork and readings. Among the performers was Barbara Kraft, who read from her memoir Anais Nin: The Last Days, a book that chronicals Kraft’s friendship with Nin during her final two years of life. A synopsis of the reading is as follows:
Barbara Kraft closed the evening with an account of author Anais Nin’s final days, implicitly lassoing together the writings of Aarested with the creative process of Nin modeled by Youd.
Kraft, who formerly worked as a journalist and now runs her own boutique public relations firm, recalled meeting Nin on February 8, 1974 in the author’s Silverlake glass house. Kraft said she was mesmerized by her.
“[Nin] was tall, wearing a floor-length Indian gown…She was poetry in body,” said Kraft, who read an excerpt from her e-book “Anais Nin: The Last Days – A Memoir.”
Kraft described Nin as her teacher during the acclaimed writer’s final years.
“The tutorial relationship turned into an intimacy,” said Kraft, who said that as Nin died of cancer, her body weakened and her pain intensified.
“At one point, I literally got in bed with her, at her request, to hold her,” said Kraft.
Kraft’s diary from her meetings with Nin were compiled and published in “The Restless Spirit: Journal of a Gemini.” Publication ended her marriage, and Kraft’s “whole life came crashing down,” she said.
“If you want to change your life, you pay a price,” Kraft added.
To read the entire review of the event by Matt Hamilton, click here.
Anais Nin: The Last Days is available as an e-book and can be ordered here.
To read an excerpt from Anais Nin: The Last Days on Huffington Post, click here.
Have we solved the mystery of who wrote the popular poem attributed to Anais Nin, known as “Risk”?
I can say this: Since posting this mystery a few years ago, nowhere has its source been found in any of Anais Nin’s oeuvre. So how did it come to be attributed to her?
That remains a mystery.
However, Elizabeth Appell has come forward with a compelling case that may hold the answer of who, if not Anais, actually wrote the poem:
What I’m about to tell you is going to seem strange and maybe even impossible, but it is the truth. I wrote the quote, “And the day came when the risk to remain closed in a bud became more painful that the risk it took to blossom.”
I wrote it in 1979. I was Director of Public Relations for John F. Kennedy University in Orinda. One of my responsibilities was to write, edit, and publish the class schedule which included events, news, and class information for the up-coming quarter. The target market for the university was and still is, adults going back to school. Every quarter I came up with a theme meant to inspire and motivate.
I believe it was January when I started on the spring schedule. Up against a deadline, I quickly jotted down the line, and shared it by my colleague, Jerry Skibbins, Vice President of Development. He liked it so we ran with it. Consequently it went out to thousands of households in the East Bay. We also published a poster and put it on BART trains. This was a very wide distribution. As far as I know, attribution was given to the artists who illustrated the designs, but I never thought to attribute myself regarding the poem. My name appeared only as “Editor.”
Another wrinkle: at the time I was using my nickname, “Lassie” as well as my first husband’s last name, Benton. I was known as Lassie Benton. Since then I gave up the nickname to use my given name, Elizabeth, and remarried Allen Appell, hence Elizabeth Appell.
From the beginning the school got a huge response from the poem. I started seeing it woven into tapestries, and then printed on posters, cards and in books. At first the attribution was “Lassie Benton.” One afternoon I attended a calligraphy show at the San Francisco Library. There was the poem, but now the attribution was “Anonymous.” Sometime in the 80’s I found a card using the poem. I bought because it was attributed to Anais Nin. I wrote to the publisher of the card, but received no response. I just let it go.
Recently I gave a reading in Nevada City, California as a part of a women’s writing salon. The woman who read before me began her piece with the poem. I smiled. “What do you know, it still lives.” She was shocked when I told her I’d written it. She suggested I Google the poem to see that always it is attributed to Anais Nin. I did. I am astounded at how it has proliferated the internet, almost always attributed to Anais Nin.
I say almost because I found a life coach in Arizona who uses the poem on her home page. There it is attributed to “Lassie Benton.” She tells me her web page went up in 2006, but she can’t remember where she found the poem.
Yesterday two of my friends brought me copies of their newly published books. Yes, in both books, up front, there it is. The poem. And of course it’s attributed to Anais Nin. That pushed me over to take action.
I wrote the poem in 1979. I am the author of the poem. I’m extremely honored to have written something that has touched so many people.
Elizabeth kindly produced the 1979 brochure on which the poem is printed, as seen above. Judge for yourselves, folks, but it seems that this mystery may be solved.
***Get the 2013 issue of A Café in Space: The Anaïs Nin Literary Journal with excerpts from Nin’s the soon-to-be-published Mirages: The Unexpurgated Diary of Anaïs Nin, 1939-1947 on Gore Vidal: click here for print version; click here for ebook version.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – February 27, 2013 Media Contact: Barbara Kraft Communications and Public Relations 818.760.8498; Barbara@bkraftpr.com
LUST LETTERS READINGS PRESENTED BY CHINATOWN’S COAGULA CURATORIAL MARCH 7, 2013, 7:30 p.m.
LOS ANGELES, CA – In conjunction with Coagula Curatorial Gallery’s Lust Letters exhibition, the Gallery is presenting an evening of performance and readings March 7, 2013, 7:30 p.m. The exhibition features Tim Youd’s Delta of Venus – a 30-foot piece of art inspired by Anais Nin’s erotic writings. Youd will perform his rendition of selections from Nin’s Delta of Venus.
Curator Joan Aarestad will address Eroticism in Art: A Woman’s View and writer Barbara Kraft will read from her newly published EBook Anais Nin: The Last Days.
Coagula Curatorial is part of the Chung King Road Gallery Row located in historic Chinatown in downtown Los Angeles at 977 Chung King Road. (323) 480-7852; www.coagulacuratorial.com.
For further information please contact Barbara Kraft Communications at 818.760.8498.
Anaïs Nin was never afraid of new ways to disseminate her work, working in several different media, much of it ahead of its time. Her words were on the page, read at spoken word events, recorded on vinyl, made into film, and were accompanied by electronic music.
In Volume 10 of A Café in Space, yet another platform for Nin’s work has appeared: comic book (or graphic novel, or manga). Joel Enos, a frequent contributor to A Café in Space and who works in the graphics media, decided to put Nin’s famous story “Under a Glass Bell” into comic book form, using the artwork of the talented Fiona Meng to visualize Nin’s ethereal Jeanne and her two brothers, who, according to critic Oliver Evans, are living out a life of psychological incest in their house. The siblings’ isolation from the world is represented by the glass bell, which, as Nin says, “covered the entire house.”
The prospects of such a representation of Nin’s fiction are tantalizing indeed, and I hope we will see more in the future. Below are some frames from A Café in Space, which can be ordered both in print and digital format.
Below, Jeanne has rushed from disturbing images she sees in the “room of mirrors” to her sleeping brother:
Under a Glass Bell (the ebook) can be ordered by clicking here.
Anaïs Nin was born 110 years ago on Feb. 21, 1903 at Neuilly-sur-Seine in what was then a newly built luxurious building at 7 rue du Général Henrion Bertier, which still stands today. The house, and the one next door, an identical building, were both built in 1895.
The city of Neuilly was kind enough to send along some specs for the house.
The specs roughly state that the houses were built parallel to each other and perpendicular to the street, with basements and four floors and a courtyard. The building materials consist of limestone, stone and slate. The front of the house has covered gables, and the roofs are made of long sections. The rear of the house is broken into sections with uncovered gables. There is a spiral staircase which is suspended, and a décor which consists of sculpture.
This was no ordinary house, and this was no ordinary neighborhood. It would perhaps be the most luxurious place little Anaïs ever occupied. The street view is below:
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Alas, the family would not remain long in Neuilly, since Joaquin Nin was a composer and pianist who traveled much of Europe on concert tours. They would go to Havana, Cuba, where 2 year old Anaïs contracted typhoid fever. She became very ill, losing weight and her hair, drawing taunts from her father as an “ugly duckling,” something that would scar Anaïs for life.
After Havana, the Nins settled in a cheaper house in St-Cloud, near Paris, one of many places to which they would relocate, followed by Berlin and Brussels.
To learn more about the Neuilly house, click here.
To see more posts on Anaïs Nin’s birthday, including her family heritage, click here.
Did Gore Vidal lie about his relationship with Anaïs Nin?
According to Kim Krizan’s article in A Café in Space: The Anaïs Nin Literary Journal, Volume 10, the answer is yes. Is this speculation, theory, mere speculation, or fact substantiated with proof?
Anyone who has read The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Volume 4 (1944-47) knows that Nin had a close friendship with the young budding novelist, but since her sex life and even love affairs of the heart were all but completely edited out, the reader is left to guess about the true nature of the relationship with Vidal.
We do know that Vidal publicly lashed out at Nin with a scathing review of volume 4 of the diary, which made the claim that she invented most of the passages concerning him; he also satirized Nin brutally in his novels, perhaps most notably Myra Breckinridge. His campaign of character assassination continued in his Palimpsest: A Memoir, in which he said that Nin’s biographer (Deirdre Bair) falsely claimed that Vidal proposed marriage to Nin, who was 23 years older than he: “Needless to say, I never wanted to marry anyone, certainly not someone who was to me, in my ageist youth, a very old woman.”
Bair got her much of her information from the unpublished 1940s diary of Anaïs Nin, which provides the details of Nin’s erotic life that was cut from the published diary. In it, Nin clearly states that on more than one occasion, Vidal did propose a marriage in which each would be free to pursue sexual encounters on the outside. While Nin had hoped Vidal’s homosexuality could be “cured” with analysis and maturity (a common notion in the 1940s), Vidal told her, as quoted in the diary, “You see, if I could have loved a woman, it would be you. Now I know my homosexuality is incurable.”
But all this is Nin’s side of the story. Vidal’s side is already clear: Nin was a fabricator, an inventor, a liar.
So, how does Kim Krizan prove that it was Vidal who was the actual fabricator? By going to the UCLA special collections department which houses the Nin papers. In this vast mountain of documents, she unearthed a blockbuster letter from Vidal to Nin written in 1947. In it, he states that he would “never have a satisfying homosexual relationship,” and that while he was “attracted to youth, to beauty,” he was, separately, attracted “unphysically” to Nin and enjoyed the “spiritual emotional rapport” they had. “I need that more than the other.” He goes on to propose selling his house in Guatemala, and then “we can get a small place near Antibes or wherever there are interesting people and cheap living.” He envisions a “tranquil if not complete” life with Nin, one in which she would be “free of America, Hugo (her husband), all the mess.”
But there was one big obstacle to this proposal, and that was Rupert Pole.
Anaïs Nin was born 110 years ago the day this journal, our landmark 10th issue, is to be released, so we have two reasons to celebrate. Ten years ago, I, for one, had no idea that A Café in Space would ever reach such a milestone, and so I must pay tribute to those who have made it happen: our contributors and our readers. Without you, there is no journal on Anaïs Nin some 36 years after her death. It is our aim to continue spreading her words, to enlarge the circle, welcoming new readers and scholars from around the world. I certainly am honored to facilitate this forum for as long as possible, but I am also well aware that this is only a continuation of those who came before us, including Under the Sign of Pisces, edited by Benjamin Franklin V and Richard Centing, and ANAIS: An International Journal, edited by Gunther Stuhlmann. Without such formidable models, this journal would not exist in its present form.
Speaking of the roots of Nin scholarship, one of its key members, Duane Schneider, whose work on Nin led to Anaïs Nin: An Introduction (1979) and An Interview with Anaïs Nin (1970), which was reprinted in Vol. 5 of this publication, died in December 2012. A long-time teacher of English, publisher, author and scholar, he will be missed by his loved ones, his students and the Nin community. His old friend and “partner in crime,” Benjamin Franklin V, pays him tribute in this issue.
One of the 20th century’s greatest men of letters, Gore Vidal, also died in 2012. His connection to Anaïs Nin has long been one that attracts both interest and controversy, especially in light of his vitriolic attacks on her character even long after her death. It seems fitting, then, that we present three looks at Vidal, one of them by Anaïs Nin herself, and try to uncover the truth of their legendary relationship.
The Vidal excerpt from Nin’s unpublished diary also serves as a “preview” of Mirages: From the Unexpurgated Diary of Anaïs Nin 1939-1947, which is slated to be released in late 2013 as a co-publication of Sky Blue Press and Ohio University Press. This diary, the first to be published since Nearer the Moon in 1996, reveals how Nin’s forced return to New York nearly destroyed her personally but also helped her become a prolific and more mature writer. In a style of which only Nin is capable, she details the ends of her relationships with Henry Miller and Gonzalo Moré, her futile bonds with increasingly younger men, her publishing woes, and redemption in the form of Rupert Pole, the young, ardent lover who lured her to California, thus beginning her bicoastal double life.
The work of Anaïs Nin, which has by now been largely digitized, is beginning to spread around the world as electronic reading devices become more popular. In the past year or two, Germany, the UK, Italy, France, Spain, India, Japan, Canada, and Brazil are all serviced by popular ebook portals such as Amazon.com, and anyone with a computer, smart phone, tablet, or one of many other devices can now download Nin’s work, making it widely accessible in new locations.
As digital books increase Anaïs Nin’s readership, other formats are also emerging, and one of them appears in this issue: a graphic novel form (or, if you will, a “comic book” version) of one of Nin’s iconic works, “Under a Glass Bell.” Told by Joel Enos and drawn by Fiona Meng, Nin’s characters come “alive” on the page, and a portion of the ethereal story is presented in a way not seen before. Who knows what other kinds of digital media will lend themselves to popularizing Anaïs Nin’s work in the future?
To order the print version of Volume 10 (to be released Feb. 21, 2013), click here.
To purchase the digital version, click here and begin reading today.
Duane Schneider, one of the preeminent Anais Nin scholars of the 20th century and co-author of Anais Nin: An Introduction (1979), has passed away. He once owned his own hand-operated press and published several documents, including An Interview With Anais Nin in 1970, which was reprinted in A Cafe in Space, Vol. 5 (2008). What follows is an obituary written by his widow, Crystal Gips.
Duane B. Schneider of Yarmouth Port MA died Wednesday, December 26, 2012, at The Terraces Orleans after a long bout with Lewy Body, a degenerative neurological disease. He was 75.
Mr. Schneider is survived by his wife Crystal Gips of Yarmouth Port MA; son Jeffrey Schneider, his wife Felicia Jevitt, and their daughter Morgan and son Jeremy of Mason OH; son Eric Schneider and his daughters Laura and Sara of Cincinnati; daughter Lisa Schneider of New Marshfield, OH; daughter Emily Strickland, her husband Wayne, and their daughters Sandy and Rachel of Guysville, OH; and his sister Dona Browne of Farmington Hills, MI. His former wife, JoAnne Dodd of Athens, OH, also survives him.
Mr. Schneider was born November 15, 1937, in South Bend, IN and grew up there. He was the son of William and Lillian (Pitchford) Schneider. After graduating from high school, he attended Elmhurst College outside Chicago, where he intended to prepare to be a minister. With a change of heart, he transferred to Miami of Ohio, majored in English and was named an undergraduate fellow. He also won the undergraduate prize for the study of Greek. He began graduate school at University of California Berkeley, married his high school friend JoAnne Bennett, and completed a master’s degree in English at Kent State in Ohio in 1960. Mr. Schneider earned a Ph. D. in English in 1965 from the University of Colorado where he was an English instructor for 5 years in the College of Engineering.
In the same year, Mr. Schneider joined the faculty of the English Department at Ohio University. In the late 1970s he served as chair of the English Department’s graduate programs, and then in 1981 was elected Chair of the Faculty Senate. After two years in that role, he returned to the English Department as Chair, and then in 1985 became the Director of the Ohio University Press. Under his leadership at the Press, it flourished and rose to new levels of publishing and sales. One of the scholarly highlights of his career was his deep friendship with the feminist writer Anais Nin, which grew out of his writing of a book, with his colleague Ben Franklin V, about her and her writings including the well known Diaries of Anais Nin. Duane was also the founding president in 1985 of the Thomas Wolfe Society, an international literary society that still flourishes today.
Duane entered early retirement from Ohio University in 1995, and continued teaching fall term each year at Ohio through 2007, for a total of 47 years as a professor. Duane also taught one summer at University of Montana, and part time at California State University Northridge, The College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY, and The New School in NYC. He was Emeritus Professor of English at Ohio University. He and Crystal lived in Athens, Los Angeles, Albany NY, Saint Simons Island GA, and Long Beach CA, before moving three years ago to Yarmouth Port on Cape Cod.
Mr. Schneider operated his own publishing firm, Croissant & Co., in the 1970s. He published the short works of such people as Ray Bradbury, Joyce Carol Oates, Nin, and others, all printed on a hand press he operated himself.
Mr. Schneider was an active Unitarian during his adult life. He served as president of the Athens Unitarian Fellowship in the mid 70s during the building of the fellowship hall, and he was recently a member of the Unitarian Church of Barnstable.
The family will hold a private burial in Athens. Memorial services will follow at a later date in Athens and on Cape Cod.
Duane and his wife are ever so grateful to HopeHealth for its wonderful Hospice care and especially to nurses Deborah and Melanie, social worker Julie, and nurse assistant Ann Marie for their love and kindness along with fine professional care.
In lieu of flowers, contributions in Mr. Schneider’s honor may be made to the Unitarian Church of Barnstable, P.O. Box 285, Barnstable MA 02630, or to HopeHealth, 765 Attucks Lane, Hyannis, MA 02601.
There is big news for those worldwide who are eager to read the works of Anaïs Nin digitally. Amazon has recently opened markets in England, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, India, Japan, Brazil, and Canada, making it possible for anyone either with a Kindle or a Kindle app on their computer, phone, or tablet to download Nin titles instantly. Nin’s fiction and A Café in Space are available, as well as the diaries and erotica. To visit the Amazon sites in your country, click on the appropriate link below:
Kim Krizan, whose Masters thesis was on Anais Nin, and who is a frequent contributor to A Cafe in Space, has written a new book in which Nin is a key character: Original Sins: Trade Secrets of the Femme Fatale. To find out about the book and how to become a part of its publication, read the press release below.
For Immediate Release: THE “BROAD” BEHIND BEFORE SUNRISE & BEFORE SUNSET LAUNCHES BOOK CAREER ON KICKSTARTER
Oscar Nominated Screenwriter “Kicks” Hollywood to the Curb by Debuting Non-Fiction Book With CrowdFunding Site
“You know how to make a little pledge, doncha? You just put your finger on the button and push.” – Kim Krizan
October 1st, 2012 – Los Angeles, CA. — Best known for writing and creating the generation-defining romance films BEFORE SUNRISE and BEFORE SUNSET, Oscar nominated screenwriter Kim Krizan is “kicking” Hollywood to the curb and taking her career to the crowd — crowdfunding, that is — with her new Kickstarter project: a tongue-in-cheek history of dangerous women entitled Original Sins: Trade Secrets of the Femme Fatale. [Click here to go to Kim's kickstarter page]
Krizan’s debut non-fiction book is being offered directly to fans worldwide in exchange for pledges of support. If Krizan raises $10,000, the book will be published and those pledging $25 or more will receive a hard copy.
“In Hollywood, a writer is either handing off ideas to a studio or writing spec scripts that rely on some business person to fund. The Hollywood writer is always waiting and at every turn, her work is in the hands of middlemen,” said Krizan. “With Kickstarter, I can go to fans directly and they alone get to decide whether my project goes out in the world.”
Original Sins: Trade Secrets of the Femme Fatale was inspired by Krizan’s long-time fascination with femme fatales, femme fatale films, and her experiences as a woman and a Hollywood writer. It asks timeless questions: “What does a woman wear when she kills her husband?” “What does a woman drive when she gets out of Sh*tsville?” and “How does a woman get revenge on society en masse?” It is sprinkled with examples from real-life history and is a mash-up of profane, profound, and perverse observations on female power.
Krizan’s Kickstarter campaign features a hilarious video of her “confession” to writing a book, shows her slipping through Chinatown on what appears to be a nefarious errand, and ends with her appearance in a bar where she asks an unsuspecting gentleman to support her Kickstarter project. “You know how to make a little pledge, doncha?” asks Krizan, a femme fatale who wouldn’t look out of place in the 1940s noir classic DOUBLE INDEMNITY. “You just put your finger on the button and push.”
To receive a copy of Original Sins: Trade Secrets of the Femme Fatale, Krizan has devised twelve pledge levels, allowing the potential reader to purchase the book in print or digitally, and to receive an array of bonus gifts. Her final pledge level allows the fan to have the unique experience of meeting Krizan at Los Angeles’ famous Union Station to live out their own BEFORE SUNRISE experience by walking and talking into the evening. “That film’s dialogue was based on my love of great conversations,” explained Krizan. “I find people infinitely interesting and I like nothing better than having an hours-long in-depth conversation on life and love.”
Krizan first stood out for her role as hip high school teacher Ginny Stroud in DAZED AND CONFUSED, who mouths the Fourth of July’s perennially favorite line, “Hey guys, one more thing, hey, this summer when you’re being inundated with all this American bicentennial Fourth of July brouhaha, don’t forget what you’re celebrating and that’s the fact a bunch of slave-owning, aristocratic, rich white males didn’t want to pay their taxes.”
Krizan went on to be part of the creative team that brought BEFORE SUNRISE and BEFORE SUNSET to life and for which she was nominated for an Academy Award. The films were directed by Richard Linklater and starred Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy. Krizan also wrote the critically-acclaimed comic book, Zombie Tales: 2061, published by BOOM! Studios, and she regularly contributes to A Cafe in Space, a journal dedicated to the works of Anais Nin.
About Kim Krizan: Kim Krizan is an Academy Award-nominated writer of the films BEFORE SUNRISE and BEFORE SUNSET. She was born in Los Angeles and has a Master’s degree in literature. Krizan also appeared as an actor in a number of films, including SLACKER, DAZED AND CONFUSED and WAKING LIFE. Krizan teaches creative writing classes for UCLA Extension. Original Sins: Trade Secrets of the Femme Fatale is Krizan’s first book.