anais nin Quotes

Anais Nin Quotes

Birth Date: 1903-02-21 (Saturday, February 21st, 1903)
Date of Death: 1977-01-14 (Friday, January 14th, 1977)

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Quotes

    • Life is a process of becoming, a combination of states we have to go through. Where people fail is that they wish to elect a state and remain in it. This is a kind of death.
    • The morning I got up to begin this book I coughed. Something was coming out of my throat: it was strangling me. I broke the thread which held it and yanked it out. I went back to bed and said: I have just spat out my heart.
    • My first vision of earth was water veiled. I am of the race of men and women who see all things through this curtain of sea and my eyes are the color of water. I looked with chameleon eyes upon the changing face of the world, looked with anonymous vision upon my uncompleted self. I remember my first birth in water.
    • Worlds self made are so full of monsters and demons.
    • If only we could all escape from this house of incest, where we only love ourselves in the other, if only I could save you all from yourselves.
    • Only in the fever of creation could she recreate her own lost life.
    • In the world of the dreamer there was solitude: all the exaltations and joys came in the moment of preparation for living. They took place in solitude. But with action came anxiety, and the sense of insuperable effort made to match the dream, and with it came weariness, discouragement, and the flight into solitude again. And then in solitude, in the opium den of remembrance, the possibility of pleasure again.
    • This image of herself as a not ordinary women, an image which was trembling now in his eyes, might suddenly disappear. Nothing more difficult to live up to than men's dreams.
    • Every word you wrote I ate, as if it were manna. Finding one's self in a book is a second birth; and you are the only one who knows that at times men behave like women and women like men, and that all these distinctions are mock distinctions.
    • Human beings can reach such desperate solitude that they may cross a boundary beyond which words cannot serve, and at such moments there is nothing left for them but to bark.
    • Solitude may rust your words.
    • The preoccupation of the novelist: how to capture the living moments, was answered by the diary. You write while you are alive. You do not preserve them in alcohol until the moment you are ready to write about them.
    • Art is the method of levitation, in order to separate one's self from enslavement by the earth.
    • I had a feeling that Pandora's box contained the mysteries of woman's sensuality, so different from man's and for which man's language was inadequate. The language of sex had yet to be invented. The language of the senses was yet to be explored. D. H. Lawrence began to give instinct a language, he tried to escape the clinical, the scientific, which only captures what the body feels.
    • Life is so fluid that one can only hope to capture the living moment, to capture it alive and fresh ... without destroying that moment.
    • Life shrinks or expands according to one's courage.
    • The final lesson a writer learns is that everything can nourish the writer. The dictionary, a new word, a voyage, an encounter, a talk on the street, a book, a phrase learned.
    • Electric flesh-arrows traversing the body. A rainbow of color strikes the eyelids. A foam of music falls over the ears. It is the gong of the orgasm.
    • Anxiety is love's greatest killer. It makes one feel as you might when a drowning man holds unto you. You want to save him, but you know he will strangle you with his panic.
    • The poet is one who is able to keep the fresh vision of the child alive.
    • The day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.
    • Living never wore one out so much as the effort not to live.
    • Shame is the lie someone told you about yourself.
    • I had always believed in Andre Breton's freedom, to write as one thinks, in the order and disorder in which one feels in thinks, to follow sensations and absurd correlations of events and images, to trust to the new realms they lead one into. 'The cult of the marvelous.' Also the cult of the unconscious leadership, the cult of mystery, the evasion of false logic. The cult of the unconscious as proclaimed by Rimbaud. It is not madness. It is an effort to transcend the rigidities and the patterns made by the rational mind.
    • Ordinary life does not interest me. I seek only the high moments. I am in accord with the surrealists, searching for the marvelous.
    • The truly faithless one is the one who makes love to only a fraction of you. And denies the rest.
    • For you and for me the highest moment, the keenest joy, is not when our minds dominate but when we lose our minds...
    • My life is slowed up by thought and the need to understand what I am living.
    • Passion gives me moments of wholeness.
    • We don't have a language for the senses. Feelings are images, sensations are like musical sounds.
    • Man can never know the kind of loneliness a woman knows. Man lies in a woman's womb only to gather strength, he nourishes himself from this fusion, and then he rises and goes into the world, into his work, into battle, into art. He is not lonely. He is busy. The memory of the swim in amniotic fluid gives him energy, completion. The woman may be busy too, but she feels empty. Sensuality for her is not only a wave of pleasure in which he has bathed, and a charge of electric joy at contact with another. When man lies in her womb, she is fulfilled, each act of love is a taking of man within her, and act of birth and rebirth, of child bearing and man bearing. Man lies in her womb and is reborn each time anew with a desire to act, to BE. But for a woman, the climax is not in the birth, but in the moment when man rests inside of her.
    • Women always think that when they have my shoes, my dress, my hairdresser, my makeup, it will all work the same way. They do not conceive of the witchcraft that is needed. They do not know that I am not beautiful but that I only appear to be at certain moments.
    • To lie, of course, is to engender insanity.
    • I see myself wrapped in lies, which do not seem to penetrate my soul, as if they are not really a part of me. They are like costumes.
    • There will never be darkness because in both of us there's always movement, renewal, surprises. I have never known stagnation. Not even introspection has been a still experience...
    • You are so terribly nimble, so clever. I distrust your cleverness. You make a wonderful pattern, everything is in its place, it looks convincingly clear, too clear. And meanwhile, where are you? Not on the clear surface of your ideas, but you have already sunk deeper, into darker regions, so that one only thinks one has been given all your thoughts, one only imagines you have emptied yourself in that clarity. But there are layers and layers - you're bottomless, unfathomable. Your clearness is deceptive. You are the thinker who arouses most confusion in me, most doubt, most disturbance.
    • This abdiction of life demanded of the artist is to be achieved only relatively. Most artists have retired too absolutely; they grow rusty, inflexible to the flow of currents.
    • I disregard the proportions, the measures, the tempo of the ordinary world. I refuse to live in the ordinary world as ordinary women. To enter ordinary relationships. I want ecstasy. I am a neurotic - in the sense that I live in my world. I will not adjust myself to the world. I am adjusted to myself.
    • I need a place where I can shout and weep. I have to be a Spanish savage at some time of the day. I record here the hysteria life causes in me. The overflow of an undisciplined extravagance. To hell with taste and art, with all contractions and polishings. Here I shout, I dance, I weep, I gnash my teeth, I go mad - all by myself, in bad English, in chaos. It will keep me sane for the world and for art .
    • When others asked the truth of me, I was convinced it was not the truth they wanted, but an illusion they could bear to live with.
    • For me, the adventures of the mind, each inflection of thought, each movement, nuance, growth, discovery, is a source of exhilaration.
    • People living deeply have no fear of death.
    • He was insane with anger. Or is all insanity anger?
    • You cannot save people, you can only love them.
    • I have so strong a sense of creation, of tomorrow, that I cannot get drunk, knowing I will be less alive, less well, less creative the next day.
    • Someday I'll be locked up for love insanity. 'She loved too much.'
    • The times in his studio when he washed his hands and they smoked, for his hands were so warm and the water so cold.
    • The body is an instrument which only gives off music when it is used as a body. Always an orchestra, and just as music traverses walls, so sensuality traverses the body and reaches up to ecstasy.
    • He left me at my hotel at 3:00 AM murmuring: 'You're marvelous.'
    • I seek the real stuff of life. Profound drama.
    • Oh, God, I know no joy as great as a moment of rushing into a new love, no ecstasy like that of a new love. I swim in the sky; I float; my body is full of flowers, flowers with fingers giving me acute, acute caresses, sparks, jewels, quivers of joy, dizziness, such dizziness. Music inside of one, drunkenness. Only closing the eyes and remembering, and the hunger, the hunger for more, more, the great hunger, the voracious hunger, and thirst.
    • No one but a woman in love ever sees the maximum of men's greatness .
    • I am an excitable person who only understands life lyrically, musically, in whom feelings are much stronger as reason. I am so thirsty for the marvelous that only the marvelous has power over me. Anything I can not transform into something marvelous, I let go. Reality doesn't impress me. I only believe in intoxication, in ecstasy, and when ordinary life shackles me, I escape, one way or another. No more walls.
    • Love is the axis and breath of my life. The art I produce is a byproduct, an excrescence of love, the song I sing, the joy which must explode, the overabundance - that is all!
    • We do not grow absolutely, chronologically. We grow sometimes in one dimension, and not in another, unevenly. We grow partially. We are relative. We are mature in one realm, childish in another. The past, present, and future mingle and pull us backward, forward, of fix us in the present. We are made of layers, cells, constellations.
    • In creation alone there is the possibility of perfection.
    • Everything but happiness is neurosis.
    • Experience teaches acceptance of the imperfect as life.
    • No desire of the body, but for what lies in there, what lies in the flesh, the world, the thought, the creation, the illumination.
    • To withhold from living is to die ... the more you give of yourself to life the more life nourishes you.
    • I say quotations are literary. They are good only when dealing with ideas, not with experience. Experience should be pure, unique.
    • I have an attitude now that is immovable. I shall remain outside of the world, beyond the temporal, beyond all the organizations of the world. I only believe in poetry.
    • Ecstasy is the moment of exaltation from wholeness!
    • Creation which cannot express itself becomes madness.
    • Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.
    • 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.
    • Why one writes is a question I can answer easily, having so often asked it of myself. I believe one writes because one has to create a world in which one can live. I could not live in any of the worlds offered to me - the world of my parents, the world of war, the world of politics. I had to create a world of my own, like a climate, a country, an atmosphere in which I could breathe, reign, and recreate myself when destroyed by living. That, I believe, is the reason for every work of art.
    • The artist is the only one who knows that the world is a subjective creation, that there is a choice to be made, a selection of elements. It is a materialization, an incarnation of his inner world. Then he hopes to attract others into it. He hopes to impose his particular vision and share it with others. And when the second stage is not reached, the brave artist continues nevertheless. The few moments of communion with the world are worth the pain, for it is a world for others, an inheritance for others, a gift to others, in the end. When you make a world tolerable for yourself, you make a world tolerable for others. We also write to heighten our own awareness of life. We write to lure and enchant and console others. We write to serenade our lovers. We write to taste life twice, in the moment, and in retrospection. We write, like Proust, to render all of it eternal, and to persuade ourselves that it is eternal. We write to be able to transcend our life, to reach beyond it. We write to teach ourselves to speak with others, to record the journey into the labyrinth. We write to expand our world when we feel strangled, or constricted, or lonely. We write as the birds sing, as the primitives dance their rituals. If you do not breathe through writing, if you do not cry out in writing, or sing in writing, then don't write, because our culture has no use for it. When I don't write, I feel my world shrinking. I feel I am in a prison. I feel I lose my fire and my color. It should be a necessity, as the sea needs to heave, and I call it breathing.
    • One handles truths like dynamite. Literature is one vast hypocrisy, a giant deception, treachery. All writers have concealed more than they revealed.
    • The role of the writer is not to say what we can all say, but what we are unable to say. Most of the writing today which is called fiction contains such a poverty of language, such triteness, that it is a shrunken, diminished world we enter, poorer and more formless than the poorest cripple deprived of ears and eyes and tongue. The writer's responsibility is to increase, develop our senses, expand our vision, heighten our awareness and enrich our articulateness.
    • At a lecture I am asked to pronounce my name three times. I try to be slow and emphatic, 'Anais - Anais - Anais. You just say 'Anna' and then add 'ees,' with the accent on the 'ees.'
    • All those who try to unveil the mysteries always have tragic lives. At the end they are always punished.
    • I am the one who has felt most deeply the stuttering of the tongue in its relation to thought.
    • I feel a fatigue of the tongue seeking to utter impossible things until it twists itself into a knot and chokes me. I feel a fatigue at this mass of nerves seeking to uphold a world that is falling apart. I feel a fatigue at feeling, at the fervor of my dreams, the fever of my thought, the intensity of my hallucinations. A fatigue at the sufferings of others and my own. I feel my own blood thundering inside of me, I feel the horror of falling into abysms. But you and I would always fall together and I would not be afraid. We would fall into abysms, but you would carry your phosphorescences to the very bottom of the abysms. We could fall together and ascend together, far into space. I was always exhausted by my dreams, not because of the dreams, but because of the fear of not being able to return. I do not need to return. I will find you everywhere. You alone can go wherever I go, into the same mysterious regions. You too know the language of the nerves. You will always know what I am saying even if I do not.
    • I love your silences, they are like mine. You are the only being before whom I am not distressed by my own silences. You have a vehement silence, one feels it is charged with essences, it is a strangely alive silence, like a trap open over a well, from which one can hear the secret murmur of the earth itself.
    • You are like a person who consumes herself in love and giving and does not know the miracles that are born of this.
    • The enemy of a love is never outside, it's not a man or woman, it's what we lack in ourselves.
    • When she did finally fall asleep it was the restless sleep of the night watchman continuously aware of danger and of the treacheries of time seeking to cheat her by permitting clocks to strike the passing hours when she was not awake to grasp their contents.
    • The dream has to be translated into reality.
    • For the neurotic, the merging of the subconscious and the conscious may be risky, just as it is for the users of drugs. But for the writer who is aware of the way in which this connection exists in reality and nourishes creativity, the sooner he can achieve a synthesis among intellect, emotion, and instinct, the sooner his work will be integrated.
    • I think that natural truths will cease to be spat at us like insults, that aesthetics will once more be linked with ethics, and that people will become aware that in casting out aesthetics that they also cast out a respect for human life, a respect for creation, a respect for spiritual values. Aesthetics was an expression of man's need to be in love with his world. The cult of ugliness is a regression. It destroys our appetite, our love for our world.
    • It was a misunderstanding to stress the dream like quality of the novels. What I meant to stress was the interrelation between dream and life, between dream and action.
    • Neurosis was caused by our attempt to separate physical and metaphysical levels, to set them up in opposition to each other, thus engaging in an internecine war. If it is true that we do live on several levels simultaneously- drama and action, past and present, personnel and collective- we are given ways to unify them: one by religion, the other by art. Separating such levels is only necessary when they conflict, and separation is a result of conflict. Seeing how these levels can work together in harmony is the task of our contemporary writers.
    • The creative personality never remains fixed on the first world it discovers. It never resigns itself to anything.
    • The necessity for fiction was probably born of the problem of taboo on certain revelations. It was not only a need of the imagination but an answer to the limitations placed on portrayal of others.
    • The unconscious can become destructive if it is disregarded and thwarted.
    • We are beginning to see the influence of dream upon reality and reality upon dream.
    • Don't let one cloud obliterate the whole sky.
    • My ideas usually come not at the desk writing but in the midst of living.
    • We don't see things as they are, we see things as we are.
    • anais nin

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