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Anaïs Nin

“The other night we talked about literature's elimination of the unessential, so that we are given a concentrated "dose" of life. I said, almost indignantly, "That's the danger of it, it prepares you to live, but at the same time, it exposes you to disappointments because it gives a heightened concept of living, it leaves out the dull or stagnant moments. You, in your books, also have a heightened rhythm, and a sequence of events so packed with excitement that i expected all your life to be delirious, intoxicated."

Literature is an exaggeration, a dramatization, and those who are nourished on it (as I was) are in great danger of trying to approximate an impossible rhythm. Trying to live up to dostoevskian scenes every day. And between writers there is a straining after extravagance. We incite each other to jazz-up our rhythm. It is amusing that, when Henry, Fred, and I talked together, we fell back into a deep naturalness. Perhaps none of us is a sensational character. Or perhaps we have no need of condiments. Henry is, in reality, mild not temperamental; gentle not eager for scenes. We may all write about sadism, masochism, the grand quignol, bubu de montparnasse (in which the highest proof of love is for a pimp to embrace his woman's syphilis as fervently as herself, a noblesse-oblige of the apache world), cocteau, drugs, insane asylums, house of the dead, because we love strong colors; and yet when we sit in the cafe de la place clichy, we talk about henry's last pages, and a chapter which was too long, and richard's madness. "One of his greatest worries," said Henry, "was to have introduced us. He thinks you are wonderful and that you may be in danger from the 'gangster author.”


Anaïs Nin
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