“Create a world, your world. Alone. Stand alone. Create.” -Anais Nin
This is a repost of one of my favorite pieces of writing.
(The entry below was hand written in my paper journal on 6/7/05 (12:30am)
I read this quote while I was on the train today, from a book I’m reading called “The Hidden Writer; Diaries and the Creative Life” by Alexandra Johnson. My mother almost named me ‘Anais.’ How I would’ve loved that name. I would’ve loved to say it softly and gracefully when introducing myself to strangers. I’d probably build up a lovely little life all around that name- just on account of having it.
When I read that quote on the train on my way home from work, it seemed to burn off the page, it leapt right up to my eyes and seemed to gleam alongside the rest of the letters. It’s like it had a movement of its own, a life. It’s amazing how writers are never really dead. They continue to speak to new and more people all the time-modern people- even if they’ve been dead for centuries.
When I read Anais’ words, I connected with them, and with her. She lived for no one but herself. She did whatever she pleased. Suddenly, I read “Create a world, your world. Alone. Stand alone. Create” and I understood. Suddenly I was validated, and it didn’t matter that I bore a striking resemblance to the elderly woman sitting beside me- also reading, with a gentle smile on her face. Suddenly everything was OK, and it was like Anais had come back to place a hand over my heart and save me.
And I understood myself for a moment, my purpose and my journey. Her words made it OK for me to exist and be in this world. Because maybe there was something I could create- and needed to create- in order to be remembered. Something to leave behind to mark my lifetime as one with meaning. After having felt so useless the entire day, it was such a comfort to read this.
Anais led an enviable life. She lived a bohemian life- taking several lovers on late afternoons, getting paid for the erotica she wrote based on personal experiences. She truly lived on her own terms and helped redefine what it meant to be a woman during a very repressed time. She wore a key around her neck for the box which held the journals she hid away and stored since childhood. She often wrote in her journal between sessions with her lovers. And some even grew jealous over her devotion to the page. She lived in a Greenwich Village loft, was a high school drop out, paying $60 per month for rent.
Why couldn’t I have had that life? Why was I born in this age of technological distraction and meddling modernity? My sensibilities and passions lie elsewhere. My needs are too simple and I feel drowned in excess. Useless excess. I need to free myself from it. I need to live like Anais lived.
In reality, it’s probably a blessing not to have a steady boyfriend right now. I sure don’t need the pressure to get engaged or married or have kids. I could never want a huge wedding. I would not be able to handle so much attention. Maybe that’s why things are the way they are for me and it’s meant this way. Maybe I am meant only to observe and record and describe- not participate. Maybe I’m not as attractive or interesting as I thought-and somehow I have to learn to live with that. Accept my fate, resign to it. Be alone and create. Be alone and write.
“The obstacle lies always within one’s self’
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