The Diary of Anais Nin, Volume Two (1934-1939)

“Writing more and more to the sound of music, writing more and more like music. Sitting in my studio tonight, playing record after record, writing, music, a stimulant of the highest order, far more potent than wine. In the interior monologue there is no punctuation. James Joyce was right. It flows like a river.” — The Diary of Anais Nin, Vol. Two

I loved Anais Nin’s first diary and I enjoyed this one too. Yes, she’s extremely self-absorbed and it does get a bit trying reading about how great people say she is but one can’t help but admire her for how  unapologetic she is, and also for the unique way in which she views life. Her writing is like nothing I have never read before; it’s beautiful, thoughtful and poetic. She truly makes diary-writing an art form.

 
In this diary, Ms. Nin is a little restless: should she stay in Louveciennes or should she go to New York? She ends up going to New York where she becomes a psychoanalyst, a point that I found very surprising as she didn’t have any training as such. The part when she was in New York seemed a bit surreal; I can’t imagine Anais Nin at Madison Square Garden watching a hockey game!

 
The diary was written prior to World War Two so this diary therefore has several political mentions in it:

“A war is going on which people doubt will become a real war. It may be a mock war to satisfy those who clamoured for it. We are being deceived, and what is happening is a mystery. Scant news.”

The diary was full of Nin’s interesting observations. Like Proust, Nin also wrote about memory:

Some portions of my life were lived as if under ether, and many others under a complete eclipse. Some of them cleared up later, that is, the fog lifted, the events became clear, nearer, more intense, and remained as unearthed for good. Why did some of them come to life, and others not? Why did some remain flavourless, and others recover a new flavour and meaning?” 

Overall, I felt more sadness surrounding Nin in this volume. She seemed to have given so much of herself to people around her, and you could tell that the news of the war  took a lot out of her.

Looking forward to Volume Three.

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