Pas Beaucoup!

Unable to do much else this week, I've returned to my love of reading. There are two books that I can count on to cast me headlong into the written word when I occasionally drift asea: The Waters Reglitterized by Henry Miller and A Literate Passion: Letters of Anaïs Nin & Henry Miller.

Many of my friends have found it somewhat puzzling that I am such a lover of the works of Henry Miller. Miller, with his honesty and brutal words. Miller, with his nicotine-stained fingers and his cavorting with Paris prostitutes. I love the arguments I have with Miller, of course, but he's the only man who can talk to me like that! I admire him tremendously...

Miller and Nin. What an incongruous couple! But not really. She utterly yin and he firmly yang struck a balance between the sexes and created worlds with their writings that I can only grasp at as if trying to touch a ghost. In their letters to each other they paint a picture of a Paris of their own creation. He with his bedbugs and musty horse blanket and she with her velvet and Spanish lace.
"I try to picture your life at Louveciennes but I can't... Only when you come and I look at you does that picture become clearer. But you go away so quickly—I don't know what to think. Yes, I see the Poushkine legend clearly. I see you in my mind as sitting on that throne, jewels around your neck, sandals, big rings, painted fingernails, strange Spanish voice, living some kind of a lie which is not a lie exactly, but a fairy tale. I put on my corduroy trousers tonight and I saw they were stained. But I can't for the life of me associate the stain with this princess in Louveciennes who holds court with guitarists and poets and tenors and critics." (Henry Miller, March 21, 1932)

"I thought that your enthusiasm and mine resemble each other. I love when you say: all that happens is good, it is good. I say all that happens is wonderful. For me it is all symphonic, and I am so aroused by living—god, Henry, in you alone I have found the same swelling of enthusiasm, the same quick rising of the blood, the fullness, the fullness... Before, I almost used to think that there was something wrong. Everybody else seemed to have the brakes on... I never feel the brakes. I overflow. And when I feel your excitement about life flaring, next to mine, then it makes me dizzy." (Anaïs Nin to Henry Miller, March 26, 1932)
When I dive back into my favorite pieces of literature it makes me want to turn off the computer, pour a glass of wine and pick up my pen again.

I found a website tonight that was put up by Valentine Miller, Henry's daughter. On the site she writes a letter to her father, calling him "Dad". That struck me. I just never see "dad" in my mind when I think of, or read, Henry Miller. I know that he was a father, but the man I have gotten to know through his writings is never "Dad". It was a pleasant reminder that we are all made up of many parts and that as honest as we may try to be in our writings, there are always parts we do not reveal.

"I struggled in the beginning. I said I was
going to write the truth, so help me God.
And I thought I was. I found I couldn't.
Nobody can write the absolute truth."
Henry Miller