I have long admired Anais Nin, the woman and the writer. In 1972 she talked about mechanical voices taking the place of human intimacies. In 2012 this is definately true. But a blog is rather like a diary, or as she preferred to call it, a journal. It is something we can share with the millions of people. I’m not sure Anais would have approved of blogs, but as a writer who wanted to share her work with many people, perhaps she would have.
Anais Nin Audios
1. Studs Terkel Interview
January 1972, Northwestern University
A musical introduction is interrupted with Nin reading from her fourth Diary. This passage could have been written today as she talks about technology and how it has a potential to create greater distances, not bridge them.
“We have reached a hastier and superficial rhythm, now that we believe we are in touch with a greater amount of people, more people, more countries. This is the allusions which might cheat us of being in touch deeply with the one breathing right next to us. It is a dangerous time when mechanical voices, radios, telephone, take the place of human intimacies, and the concept of being in touch with millions brings a greater, and greater poverty in intimacy and human vision.”
Terkel talks about the young’s attraction to her work. Nin talks about her relationship with them, about Edmund Wilson not remaining open as he aged and how all of her other artist friends have remained open. Nin talks about Under a Glass Bell “This book which seems to be all fantasy and actually every one of those stories is based on a real persons, on a real situation, they begin in reality and take their roots in reality….then I embroider on that.” They discuss Nin’s houseboat, the story and themes of displacement. They discuss DH Lawrence and his relationship with feminism. Nin quotes him and says how she is not as harsh on Lawrence as others. Terkel prompts Nin to read a passage about woman and her conflicts to find her own language and discover her own feelings. Nin mentions her personal issue from growing up, “I had a sense of guilt about creating and being successful before my brothers were.” Nin is pleased the diary gives her a way to examine her own growth, “The mystery of growth was always terribly interesting to me as a child.”
Nin remains steadfast in her appreciation of men and what they had given her, “I used man’s knowledge and that is why I am grateful for him, whether it was psychology…I took what was useful and left the rest. I learned from them, I learned freedom from Miller and converted it into feminine terms. I don’t think we need to let certain things stand in the way, we need to convert them.” Nin then discusses her feelings on analysis, “analysis is only for when we get troubled.” They talk about the press and Nin reads a passage about Gonzalo. Terkel is familiar with Nin’s work and seems charmed with her. He is highly familiar with her writings and prompts her numerous times to read passages. His analysis of the work is astute and Nin even comments on his reading of her work, “You seem compassionate in your reading of these characters.” One of Nin’s final comments, “I do not like dogma and will not wage war on man.” They end the interview discussing how the conversation could easily continue and they discuss the origins and pronunciation of her name.
Steven Reigns is a poet, artist, and educator living in Los Angeles.
A collector of Nin memorabilia and a latent Nin scholar, he has been interested in Nin since 1991.