February 21 ~  One's Courage Fire: From Journal of Love

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." ~ Anais Nin

anais nin

A spirited diarist, Anais Nin (1903-1977) was born on this day in Paris. (Ah*nah*ees) began her famous diaries in 1914 when her father, a Spanish concert pianist, left the family for another woman.

"The role of the writer is not to say what we can all say, but what we are unable to say," she said.

Her diaries were remarkable revelations: sorrowful letters to her absent father, a literary exploration of self that created her feminine identity.

The first diary was published in 1966 and spanned the years from 1914-1974. She wrote 35,000 pages in 150 volumes. "I write emotional algebra," Nin observed in 1946.

Writer Henry Miller, her mentor and lover, called the diaries "a 20-year struggle toward self-realization... Each line is pregnant with a soul struggle."

The erotica of her voluminous writings was not something ladies talked or wrote about. Passionate and explicit, Nin delved candidly into her voyage of self-discovery as an artist and believed a woman's dreams were the source of nourishment. She launched Gemor Press and self-published her own novels and short stories.

"To write is to descend, to excavate, to go underground," she explained. As she searched to understand the forces within, she created an inner person she named Linotte: "impossible and must be hidden, hidden."

She gave voice to feminine perception. Writer Lynn Sukenick explained, "Nin's diaries are books of wisdom which have elevated their author to the status of sage and have had a healing effect on many of her readers."

About perceptions, Nin wrote, "We don't see things as they are. We see them as we are."

More ANAIS NIN Quotations

anais ninWith courage, life expands.