The Diary of Anais Nin, Volume 4 (1944-1947)

“An odyssey from inner to outer life. – The Diary of Anais Nin, Volume 4 (1944-1947)

With each diary Anais Nin is gaining in wisdom and digging deeper into subjects that have preoccupied her. Having read the first four of her diaries in just under a year, I can honestly say I’m in no danger or getting bored by them. They always seem so refreshing to me. 

The early part of this volume talks about the war. First:

“Bomb attempt on Hitler failed. Depression, discouragement. We had hoped for his death so often.”

Then:

“An atom bomb dropped on Hiroshima. A horror to stun the world. Unbelievable barbarism.”

Followed very closely by:

“Second bomb dropped on Nagasaki. This is savagery on such a scale that I cannot believe it.”

In this volume, Nin focuses much of her attention on the young, Gore Vidal in particular. It does sound like she was jaded by the people in her own age group . The only person she seemed to understand was Dali, who showed up to a lecture wearing a diving suit.

Nin gives a lot of writing advice, great writing advice really:

“To hold back is an activity which withers, inhibits, and ultimately kills the seeds. When you first surrender your dream, you may feel poor. But the instinct, like that of nature, is to replenish, refecundate. I have found this to be true. The more I write, the more I give, the more I love, the stronger grows the source. The writer is exposing himself in any form, ultimately as we do in love, but it is a risk we must take.”

The diary ends with Nin going on an American road trip. Her descriptions of her experiences are beautiful:

“Standing there stunned by the mass of colours changing in the light, we heard a subtle vibration, a faint symphony of sounds. It was the wind, traveling through changing depths and heights, affected by curves, towers, heights, abysses, issuing prolonged musical whispers.”

A lot of people see Nin as a flake. Perhaps she was but there’s no denying that her writing is beautiful and that she valued the important things in life. She lamented the fact that human beings are becoming so impersonal, life  becoming more rigid and robotic, and that less and less people are expressing their creativity or appreciating the arts.  I think she was spot on there. I don’t think she was a perfect person by any means and I was quite troubled by her assumptions on homosexuals. But, as always, I admire and appreciate her honesty, her authenticity, and her striving to understand herself better.

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