Rachel's Reviews > The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 3: 1939-1944

The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 3 by Anaïs Nin
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it was amazing

"I need a medicine man who will solder my body and soul together, which splits at every separation. The doctor says it is the flu. He cannot see the body is empty, the fire is gone, I am a king without a kingdom, an artist without a home, a stranger to luxury, to power, to bigness, to comfort. I lost a world, a small human world of love and friendship. I am no adventurer, I miss my home, familiar streets, those I love and know well." (p.11)

"It isn’t good to stay too long in the polluted air of history." (p.27)

"America is in even greater danger because of its cult of toughness, its hatred of sensitivity, and someday it may have to pay a price for this, because atrophy of feeling creates criminals." (p.28)

"The nights lie around us like an abyss of sensual warmth, awakening the senses, almost palpable. They are like a caress on the skin. Wherever the earth can breathe, our bodies breathe, too, and the pulse of nature sets our own pulse beating." (p.43)

"I do not want to become hard and callous as other people are doing around me. They shrug their shoulders and don another layer of indifference." (p.48)

"If people knew more about psychology they would have recognized in Hitler a psychotic killer. Nations are neurotic, and leaders can be psychotic.
The ivory tower of the artist may be the only stronghold left for human values, cultural treasures, man’s cult of beauty." (p.49)

"We live in an era of destruction. Destruction and creation are sometimes balanced: great wars, great cultures. But now destruction is predominant. People die for systems that are masks for personal power and gain. Against them I close the door of a small but loving world, cells of devotion, care, work, to fight the disease and madness of the world. A small world has sometimes defeated great systems born of delusions." (p.50)

"Man is forbidden to concern himself with anything but the struggle for bread. If his capacity for dreaming, imagining, inventing, and experimenting is killed in the process, man will become a well-fed robot and die of spiritual malnutrition. The dream has its function and man cannot live without it." (p.52)

"When I gave a sensuous or poetic-erotic description, the client would complain, so I began to write tongue-in-cheek, to become outlandish, inventive, and so exaggerated that I thought he would realize I was caricaturing sexuality. But there was no protest." (p.58)

"I have an unfortunate weakness. I cannot bloom in the cold, the impersonal. So I withdraw." (p.66)

"Not all of us were intended to be tied down to the daily humdrum work. Some of us who rejected monotonous daily tasks developed a magnificent gift for living." (p.75)

"The symbolic interpretation is the only one which expands, enlarges the world, makes it boundless, illimitable. All others reduce it. Marxism is a reduction to the practical. Dreams, mysteries, myths, symbols, are as necessary as bread." (p.76)

"…we cannot live forever only in the actual and the present, or we stifle. The realm of the literal is a prison." (p.86)

"When one is uprooted, transplanted, there is a temporary withering. I always panic at this and think it permanent. I thought my life was shrinking." (p.87)

"I have a feeling that Pandora’s box is the mysteries of woman’s sensuality, so different from man’s and for which man’s language is inadequate. The language of sex has yet to be invented." (p.100)

"If you live as a poet the poet’s duty is to maintain his power to create the marvelous by contagion. If the poet maintains himself inside a dream and is able to communicate this capacity to others by osmosis, well and good. But he should not step out of this dream to preach, to meddle with political and practical constructions. Let him remain a poet and reveal magic coincidences and magic possibilities. The one who has the vision is not necessarily the one who knows how to actualize or embody this vision." (p.113)

"Here I get a feeling of invisibility. You walk by and everyone either does not see or pretends not to see." (p.127)

"Joy is a foam, an illumination. When I am dancing it seems to lie outside in an illusory garden. When I am in the garden it explodes from the house. When I am traveling it settles like an aurora borealis over the land I am leaving. When I stand on the shore I see it bloom on the flag of a departing ship. Joy is in the street fair, but when I arrive it folds its tent, tidies its costumes, starts its motor. Have I ever possessed it? At moments, a joy which came in the form of ecstasy, ecstasy in lovemaking, a soaring, a lyrical flight, joy at beauty, at desire, at creation. But it is rare and fleeting. I want a joy that takes simple colors, street organs, ribbons, flags, not a joy that takes one’s breath away and throws one into space. Not a joy like the mystic’s ecstasies or the poet’s ecstasies which lift one into an atmosphere others cannot breathe with you. There are so many joys, and I have only known the ones that come like a miracle and tough ordinary life with light." (p.134)

"I thought, with me he will be different. Knowing my struggles, he would not burden me. But he did. Furthermore, he demanded a harshness equal to his own. If I have to manufacture an equal hardness, then I do not want any friendship on such terms. I want to be able to trust, not live in perpetual self-defense." (p.169)

"When these things explode, one gets the shock of people who were asleep, for none of us were informed enough to predict or prepare ourselves. We were all caught sleeping, dreaming, loving, working." (p.176)

"…if the world loves war and destruction I won’t go along with it. I will go on loving and writing until the bomb falls. I am not going to quit, abdicate, and play its game of death and power." (p.177)

"I want to work. I have no time for battles. The relationship to handcraft is a beautiful one…You live with your hands, in acts of physical deftness…At the end of the day you can see your work, weigh it. It is done. It exists." (p.185)

"Discovering others’ weakness is not going to prove your strength. We all have weaknesses. The knowledge of human weakness is what gives friendship its humanity. You must seek another protagonist. I do not thrive on war. War to me is the greatest weakness of all." (p.186)

"Out in the world: fifty English soldiers bayoneted after surrendering. Women raped by the Japanese. Bali invaded, Java invaded. Paris bombarded by the English. India rebelling against the English. Ships torpedoed. Pictures of Polish dead, camp victims, slow starvation, torture, murders. That is the world outside.
And what can one do but preserve some semblance of human life, to seek the not-savage, not-barbaric forms of life." (p.188)

"In writing, my only discipline has been to cut out the unessential." (p.192)

"My underground success continues from person to person, fervent, secretly and quietly." (p.205)

"There is a fear that the development of women will make her less of a wife, a mate, that they might lose her. Frances is attentive to Tom’s writing, concerned over his struggles. Tom is not concerned with Frances’ expansion or gifts. The same with the other women I know." (p.215)

"He bound her femininity as the Chinese bound their women’s feet. He polished her language, her manners, her impulses." (p.227)

"And don’t tie it up, your work, with the idea that it is the solution to our economic ills. Do it for its own sake, purely. Enjoy it!" (p.232)

"The drama of woman’s development is very painful, for in each case the man seems to punish all growth. So the woman intent on growth chooses a yielding, passive man who will not interfere with this growth, with her evolution. But in the end, his weakness destroys her." (p.234)

"You encompassed too much. You had no sense of reality about the body- the limitations of the body." (p.239)

"Woman communicates with the cosmos, the cosmic, through the earth, through her maternal self. So you become the all-mother, giving out endlessly. You attempted the infinite with a finite human body." (p.240)

"The magic consists of the fact that the changes you affect within yourself in turn affect others.
Anxiety breeds anxiety, doubt breeds doubt, fear breeds fear. As you get free of yours, there is a chain reaction on all those around and close to you. Tranquillity is contagious. One only thinks of the contagiousness of illness, but there is the contagion of serenity and joy. Neurosis is the real demon, the only real possession, the real evil force in the world. And it is curable." (p.246)

"My imagination pulls me out into the night always. I want to be everywhere. Lying down, I am missing the heart of passion, drama and adventures." (p.254)

"“More light” is what Goethe meant to say. The atoms themselves are composed of light. How then, could there be more LIGHT? Yet you accomplished this miracle of which Goethe, dying, dreamed. You create more light by seeing more light." (p.284)

"There are very few human beings who receive the truth, complete and staggering, by instant illumination. Most of them acquire it fragment by fragment, on a small scale, by successive developments cellularly, like a laborious mosaic." (p.294)

"Stories are the only enchantment possible, for when we begin to see our suffering as a story, we are saved. It is the balm of the primitive, the way to exorcise a terrifying life." (p.296)
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May 26, 2015 – Shelved

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