Anaïs Nin Podcast 4: Anaïs Nin’s final years

There are two mythical diaries that Nin readers have most likely heard of, but know little or nothing about: The Book of Pain and The Book of Music, both begun shortly after Nin was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer in late 1974. Having gone through horrific surgeries that left Nin “mutilated,” as she put it, she sought to write out her feelings and describe her tribulations in these two diaries. The Book of Pain was where Nin wrote out the horrors of cancer, whereas The Book of Music was to be the repository for the kind of writing that heals…however, it quickly became an extension of The Book of Pain.

Anais Nin and Brugh Joy at his ranch, 1976

Anais Nin and Brugh Joy at his ranch, 1976

There are two other resources that describe Nin’s illness and death to date: Barbara Kraft’s memoir Anaïs Nin: The Last Days, and Deirdre Bair’s biography on Nin, which includes a chapter on the subject. But we have yet to really examine what Nin herself wrote, what she experienced and how she felt about it. In this podcast, we find out, excruciatingly. The podcast ends with Nin describing Balinese rituals surrounding death, a philosophy she found so comforting that she expressed it in the last sentence of the final volume of The Diary of Anaïs Nin: “Let me think of death as the Balinese do, as a flight to another life, a joyous transformation, a release of our spirit so it might visit all other lives.”

Run time: 15 minutes. Includes a portion of the last known recording of Anaïs Nin.

CAUTION: Some listeners may find the content disturbing.

You can listen to the podcast here.

You can listen via iTunes here.

Anais Nin Myth of the Day #20: Nin didn’t want her private diaries published

Myth #20: Anais Nin did not want the unexpurgated diaries published, and Rupert Pole defied her wishes by seeing to it that they were.

Fact: There has always been debate about whether Anais Nin really wanted her unexpurgated diaries (Henry & June, Incest, Fire, Nearer the Moon, Mirages,and the upcoming Trapeze) published. Rupert Pole was often quoted as saying that it was her wish, but some argue he did it strictly for the money, that she had no such intentions. There are even those who claim that he wrote some of the most scandalous passages himself.

This issue is cleared up in the postscript to Anais’s introduction to Delta of Venus. In the last paragraph (and, by the way, this is one of the last things she wrote before she died) she says: “If the unexpurgated version of the Diary is ever published, this feminine point of view [displayed in Delta] will be established more clearly. It will show that women (and I, in the Diary) have never separated sex from feeling, from love of the whole man.”

This clearly indicates that she was at the very least open to the idea, certainly not opposed to it.

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Anais Nin Myth of the Day #19: Who’s that with Henry Miller?

Myth #19: The woman in the photo with Henry Miller is Anais Nin.

HenryMiller&MargaretNeimanFact: Recently photos of “Henry Miller and Anais Nin” taken by Man Ray have been popping up on Twitter and various blogs. The photos have been dated as either 1942 or 1945, which piqued my interest since by that time, Nin and Miller’s relationship was over. Furthermore, there is no mention of such a photo in Nin’s diaries, including Mirages, which covers those years. Posing nude with Miller for Man Ray would, one would think, make it into the diary.

The woman does resemble Anais Nin, except she is more endowed, curvier. The face and hands, however, could be hers. I have to admit that I was in doubt for a brief moment until I did a little research and discovered her true identity: she is Margaret Neiman, wife of Gilbert Neiman, both of whom were Miller’s friends in Los Angeles, where they invited Miller to stay with them at their home. Documentation of this relationship can be found on The Cosmodemonic Telegraph Company: A Henry Miller Blog. The photos were indeed taken in 1942.

Miller was at the Neimans’ when Nin broke off her relationship with him, blasting him for his propensity for living off others, Nin and the Neimans included. “I don’t want you back,” she famously wrote, after Miller said he planned to return to New York and get a job.

For more on the Miller/Neiman relationship, visit the Miller Blog by clicking here.

To read the breakup letters between Nin and Miller, order Mirages: The Unexpurgated Diary of Anais Nin, 1939-1947.

New Guardian Article Raises Questions about Anaïs Nin

Recently The Guardian posted an article, written by Sady Doyle, about Anaïs Nin which chronicles her struggles as a young writer, her meteoric rise to fame, her downfall in the aftermath of Incest and Deirdre Bair’s biography, and finally her current resurgence in social media. I happen to feel that the article is well-balanced, well-written, and is based on solid fact. This leads me to confront some misconceptions seen in the article’s comments section about Nin’s incestuous relationship with her father, Joaquín Nin. anaisninphotobkFirst, there seems to be some disagreement about who wrote the incest passages, not just from some of the commenters of the Guardian article, but among those who actually knew Nin herself. I happened to be among a group of women, all of whom knew Nin on some level—none of them intimately—who argued that Nin’s “husband” and literary executor Rupert Pole and agent/editor Gunther Stuhlmann concocted the incest passage in the name of creating money-making scandal. Some believe that Pole was the editor of Incest, when, in fact, he transcribed the text from the original handwritten diary of Anaïs Nin, and Gunther Stuhlmann was the editor. I was Stuhlmann’s friend and had first-hand accounts of how the process unfolded—Pole was difficult to work with, he said, because he wanted Nin’s words exactly as she wrote them (Harcourt editor John Ferrone said the same thing—check out his article on the making of Henry & June in A Café in Space, Vol. 4). While Ferrone was very bold in editing Nin’s text, Stuhlmann was more prone to leave it alone. The proof of this lies in the handwritten diary itself. Fortunately, Pole xeroxed the entire thing before Nin’s death, and I happen to have this document—the Incest passage it is the same wording as in the handwritten diary. So, the account is Nin’s, and it is virtually unchanged (misspellings, punctuation, etc. were the only edits). Secondly, the question about who seduced whom is still debated. This is answered by the correspondence between Nin and her father Joaquín. The letters are clear: Joaquín Nin aggressively and relentlessly pursued his daughter and even predicted what would happen inside “the four walls” of his hotel room. We know from Nin’s account in Incest that she consented to his advances, but nowhere in any of the correspondence, or the diary, does she suggest a premeditated desire for a physical relationship. To learn more about these letters see the blog post or read a selection of them in A Café in Space, Vol. 6. The Guardian article does crystallize the fact that Anaïs Nin and social media is a good fit, and, as Tristine Rainer mentions, she would have loved to have an instantaneous connection with the world. To read the Guardian article, click here.

Anais Nin Podcast 3: How Anais Nin Changed a Life

The third Anais Nin podcast is here! In response to a question I sometimes get–“Who are you and how did you get this way?”–I share my journey that began with the movie Henry and June and has resulted in Mirages: The Unexpurgated Diary of Anais Nin, 1939-1947–and everything in between.

The podcast is 12 minutes long. Enjoy and feel free to comment.

Click here: Podcast 3

From Henry and June

From Henry and June

Anais Nin’s Influence: 4 Women Writers Speak

This afternoon 4 women writers–Sas Colby, Tristine Rainer, Barbara Kraft (author of Anais Nin: The Last Days) and Valerie Harms will discuss Anais Nin’s influence on their writing careers.

The event will be from 2-4 PM at the West Hollywood Library, 625 N. San Vincente Blvd., West Hollywood, CA 90069. It is free, as is parking. RSVP 323-848-6823.

More information can be found at https://www.facebook.com/events/773179896103587/

Anais Nin Podcast 2: Demise of the Nin-Miller Affair

Most Anais Nin readers are well aware of how her famous literary love affair with Henry Miller began, but few know exactly how and why it ended. Excerpts from their last exchange of correspondence reveal the details of the fiery end.

For the entire series of letters, read Mirages: The Unexpurgated Diary of Anais Nin, 1939-1947, either in PRINT or as an ebook on KINDLE or iTunes as well as other formats.

Enjoy the podcast. Running time: 12 minutes.

Click here for the podcast: Podcast 2

Henry Miller at Louveciennes

Henry Miller at Louveciennes

Anais Nin’s quick meal recipes

Anaïs Nin is known for many things, but cooking is not among them. In fact, she rarely even mentions eating in her diaries, let alone cooking. Others noted that Nin was rarely seen eating food, and even her West Coast “husband” Rupert Pole exclaimed in a letter: “I never see you drink water!” So, when going through the unpublished 1958 diary recently, I was surprised to see Nin’s handwritten recipes for some of her favorite dishes.

These meals, all on skewers, were cooked when Rupert came home from his teaching job. They were meant to be quick and easy, yet healthy. After a cocktail (either gin and tonic or a martini), the meals were served with wine. Canned mushrooms can easily be replaced with fresh ones, and sesame soy sauce can be substituted for any other sauce (recipe is at the end).

I, for one, plan on actually making these dishes, à la Julie-Julia and see how they turn out. I will keep you posted, literally. In the meantime, here are edited versions of the recipes. Bon appetit.

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Click to enlarge

Chicken liver, bacon, mushroom:

Ingredients: 1 pound of chicken liver, bacon strips, canned mushrooms, butter, and sherry, teriyaki sauce (below)

In a skillet, place 1 pound of chicken liver into a mixture of 4 tablespoons of melted butter and 1 tablespoon of sherry.

Cook about 1 minute on each side, let the liver cool, and then cut into bite-size pieces.

In the same skillet, partially cook strips of bacon, cool, and then cut into 2 inch pieces.

Use canned small whole mushrooms.

Alternate the ingredients on skewers: starting with a mushroom, and be sure to fold each bacon piece.

Dip in teriyaki sauce and broil until done.

Teriyaki sauce:

1 cup soy sauce

½ cup sugar

¼ cup olive oil

2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger or 1 clove garlic, crushed

½ cup sherry

Stir until blended

Beef, tomato, celery, green pepper:

Ingredients: top lean sirloin, green peppers, cherry or Italian tomatoes, celery, teriyaki sauce

Slice the sirloin very thin, and then cut into 1 inch pieces.

Marinade for 1 ½ to 2 hours in teriyaki sauce.

Cut the green pepper and celery into bite-size pieces. Cut cherry tomatoes into halves, or Italian tomatoes into quarters.

Fold the meat pieces and put on skewers between the raw vegetables.

Dip in teriyaki sauce and broil.

Chicken, water chestnuts, mushrooms:

Ingredients: chicken breast, canned water chestnuts, canned mushrooms, barbecue sauce.

Cut the breast of chicken into small squares.

Marinate chicken in barbecue sauce for 1 hour.

Sauté chicken in a little butter and cook partially.

Beginning with a mushroom, arrange the ingredients on skewers

Dip in barbecue sauce and broil until done.

Shrimp, mushrooms, green pepper:

Ingredients: small shrimp, shelled and deveined, canned mushrooms, green peppers, barbecue sauce.

Place the shrimp into boiling water and simmer for 5 minutes.

Marinate shrimp in barbecue sauce.

Cut green pepper into bite-size pieces.

Beginning with a mushroom, arrange ingredients on skewers.

Dip in sauce and broil until done.

Pork—pineapple—apple:

Ingredients: lean pork loin, canned pineapple slices, apples.

Fully cook the pork loin (broil or fry), and let it cool.

Cut pork into small squares, marinade in teriyaki sauce.

Cut pineapple and apple into bite-size pieces.

Arrange ingredients on skewers.

Dip in teriyaki sauce and broil until done.

In place of pork cubes use cooked duck, or lamb roast are delicious.

Sesame Soy Sauce:

1 cup sesame seeds

1 cup soy sauce

1 cup water

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 tablespoon sugar

½ cup vinegar

½ cup sherry

1 large apple, finely grated

Arrange the sesame seeds in a dry frying pan.

Over medium heat, stir the seeds well until brown. Remove from heat.

Using a mortar and pestle, grind ½ cup of seeds until they are like peanut butter (or combine seeds and soy sauce and whirl in blender).

Mix all ingredients and stir.

Let the mixture stand at least 24 hours to blend the flavors.

Anais Nin Podcast 1: “Come As Your Madness”

To help celebrate Anais Nin’s 112th birthday, we are offering you the first of a series of podcasts which focus on interesting and unknown parts of her life and work. Today, it is the “come as your madness” party which inspired the movie “Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome.” For a fuller description with previously unknown photos, read A Café in Space, Volume 12, either in PRINT or as a KINDLE BOOK. Enjoy the podcast. Running time: 10 minutes.

Click here for the podcast

Anais Nin and Rupert Pole, 1953

Anais Nin and Rupert Pole, 1953

A Spy in the House of Love republished

A new ebook edition of Anaïs Nin’s A Spy in the House of Love has been published, which includes an introduction from Anaïs Nin, character descriptions, a publishing history, and a chronology of the author’s life and work.

SpyInTheHouseA Spy in the House of Love is one of Nin’s most famous titles, the fourth installment in the “continuous novel,” entitled Cities of the Interior. Nin chronicles the life of Sabina, who is married and has relationships with five very different men, each reflecting a different facet of herself. Sabina’s selves are at war with each other, and she seeks unity, which is the theme of the novel. It is written in beautiful prose and is considered to be a true gem of the English language.

To see more about this title, click here.

To order or preview A Spy in the House of Love, click here.

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