Archives for posts with tag: Anais Nin

Image

Renowned diarist Anais Nin — the muse of Henry Miller and many others — lived in Silverlake (Los Angeles) from the early 1960s until her death in 1977 at age 73. Her beautiful home, located at 2335 Hidalgo, was designed by Eric Lloyd Wright (Frank’s grandson), the half-brother of Rupert Pole, Nin’s then-husband. Nin led a complicated personal life that included bicoastal husbands (Hugh Guiler in New York and Rupert Pole in California). She eventually had her marriage to Pole annulled, but continued to live with him in the gorgeous house he had built just for her.

Image

From REFLECTIONS by Henry Miller (Capra Press, 1981): With Anais I felt safe, secure. She delighted in keeping things running smoothly so I could write. She was really a true guardian angel, supportive and enthusiastic about my writing at a time when I needed it most. She was generous too. Kept me going with little gifts — pocket money, cigarettes, food, and so on. She sang my praises to the world long before I’d become regarded as a writer. In fact, it was Anais who paid for the first printing of Tropic of Cancer. For these reasons I feel utterly grateful to her. It’s rare to find a friend, a confidante, a colleague, a helpmate, and a lover, all in the same person. 

Image
“A leaf fluttered in through the window this morning, as if supported by the rays of the sun, a bird settled on the fire escape, joy in the task of coffee, joy accompanied me as I walked.” ANAIS NIN

PHOTO: Window in Anais Nin‘s home in Silverlake, Los Angeles (Eric Lloyd Wright, architect) by Rhonda Nelson

Image

ANAIS NIN

by Henry Miller

With Anais I felt safe, secure. She delighted in keeping things running smoothly so I could write. She was really a true guardian angel, supportive and enthusiastic about my writing at a time when I needed it most. She was generous too. Kept me going with little gifts — pocket money, cigarettes, food, and so on. She sang my praises to the world long before I’d become regarded as a writer. In fact, it was Anais who paid for the first printing of Tropic of Cancer. For these reasons I feel utterly grateful to her. It’s rare to find a friend, a confidante, a colleague, a helpmate, and a lover, all in the same person.

Excerpt: Reflections by Henry Miller (Capra Press, 1981), edited by Twinka Thiebaud

Photo: Anais Nin, photographed by Carl Van Vechten (1940). Image courtesy of Marquette University Archives.

Note: Barbara Kraft has written a fascinating, compelling memoir about the last years of Nin’s life. Anais Nin: The Last Days is available at Amazon.com here.

Image

In October 1979, Barbara Kraft interviewed her friend Henry Miller about his life and art — in what turned out to be his last long interview. (Miller passed away in June 1980 at age 88.) The dialogue was published in the Spring 1981 issue of the Michigan Quarterly Review. Read “A Conversation with Henry Miller” here.

Kraft is the author of the recently published ebook Anais Nin: The Final Days, available here.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: A former reporter for Time, Washington Post, People, USA Today, and Architectural Digest, Barbara Kraft is author of The Restless Spirit: Journal of a Gemini, with a preface by Anaïs Nin.  Kraft’s work has appeared in Hudson Review, Michigan Quarterly, and Columbia Magazine, and among the many radio programs she has hosted and produced is Transforming OC, a two-part KCRW documentary on the 2006 opening of the Renee and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall in Costa Mesa. Kraft lives and writes in Los Angeles.

Image

I recently spoke with Barbara Kraft (pictured at right at Alias Books in Los Angeles) about her memoir  Anais Nin: The Last Days — peppering her with questions about the iconic Nin. Kraft mentioned that after Nin’s death in 1977, she was invited to meet Henry Miller — then in his 80s and living in Pacific Palisades (located to the west of Los Angeles).

Miller and Nin had had a storied relationship in Paris during the 1930s. According to Wikipedia, “Although Miller had little or no money that first year in Paris [1930],  things began to change with the meeting of Anais Nin who…would go on to pay his entire way through the 1930s…Nin became his lover and financed the first printing of The Tropic of Cancer in 1934.”

It was amazing that Barbara Kraft had befriended not one, but two literary giants during their final years. Her memoir tells Nin’s story with depth of feeling and telling detail. Now Kraft is considering writing about her experiences with Miller — including her front-row seat at his frequent dinner parties for artistic and literary figures during the late 1970s and delivering some of the over 1500 letters Miller wrote to his “twilight muse” Brenda Venus. To this, I gave a decided, “Yes! Yes! Yes.” I want to read that book!

Anais Nin: The Last Days is available as an ebook on Kindle and a range of additional formats. Find it on Amazon.com here.

Image

A few days ago, I visited Alias Books East, in L.A’.s Atwater Village, and was privileged to hear Barbara Kraft read from her memoir Anais Nin: The Last Days. Set in the 1970s, Kraft’s book pulls back the veil on the ethereal and mysterious Nin during her final years when she lived in L.A.’s Silverlake area with Rupert Pole.

Through a series of fortunate events, Kraft became Nin’s writing student in 1974, and during the next few years visited the renowned diarist once a week for mentoring, instruction, and fellowship. Over time, Kraft became Nin’s closes confidante, learning intimate details of her mentor’s history and relationships.In 1975, Nin was diagnosed with cancer and spent the next two years fighting the disease — with Kraft often at her side, both in Silverlake and at hospitals.

During the reading, as I sat with approximately 20 people listening to Kraft read her account of Nin’s cancer fight, her words were so vivid and moving  that we were all there, living the experience with her once again. Kraft’s writing is brilliant — both lucid and lyrical — bringing to life one of the most elusive and influential figures in 20th Century literature.  Highly recommended!

Anais Nin: The Last Days is currently available exclusively as an ebook. Find it on Amazon.com here for just $5.38!

Image

Anais Nin lived in Silverlake (Los Angeles) from the early 1960s until her death in 1977 at age 73. The beautiful home, located at 2335 Hidalgo, was designed by Eric Lloyd Wright (Frank’s grandson), who was the half-brother of Rupert Pole, Nin’s then-husband. Nin led a complicated personal life that included bicoastal husbands (Hugh Guiler in New York and Rupert Pole in California). She eventually had her marriage to Pole annulled, but continued to live with him in the gorgeous house he had built just for her.