Anaïs Nin quotes

Anaïs Nin photo
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Anaïs Nin

Birthdate: 21. February 1903
Date of death: 14. January 1977
Other names: Anais Ninová

Angela Anaïs Juana Antolina Rosa Edelmira Nin y Culmell , known professionally as Anaïs Nin, was an American essayist and diarist. Born to Cuban parents in France, Nin was the daughter of composer Joaquín Nin and Rosa Culmell, a classically-trained singer. Nin spent some time in Spain and Cuba, but lived most of her life in the United States, where she became an established author.

Beginning at age eleven, Nin prolifically wrote journals throughout her life, which spanned over sixty years up until her death. Her journals, many of which received publication during her life, detail her private thoughts and personal relationships, as well as detail surrounding the sexual abuse and incestuous relationship she had with her father. Also in her journals are details regarding her marriages to Hugh Parker Guiler and Rupert Pole, as well as her numerous affairs, including with psychoanalyst Otto Rank and writer Henry Miller, both of whom had a profound influence on her and her writing.

In addition to her journals, Nin wrote several novels, critical studies, essays, short stories, and several volumes of erotica. Much of her work, including the erotica collections Delta of Venus and Little Birds, was published posthumously amidst renewed critical interest in her and her work. Nin spent her later life in Los Angeles, California, where she died of cervical cancer in 1977.

Works

„We don't see things as they are, we see things as we are.“

—  Anaïs Nin, book Little Birds

The Seduction of the Minotaur (1961); the documentation of the conflicting citations available on this page ( HNet http://h-net.msu.edu/cgi-bin/logbrowse.pl?trx=vx&list=H-Judaic&month=1108&msg=RizwZWCgeA8woVU9mNOEYQ) seems very thorough, and in the end attributes the quote to this novel, which includes the line:
Lillian was reminded of the talmudic words: "We do not see things as they are, we see them as we are."
With Nin's description of the statement as "Talmudic" it afterwards began to be attributed to the Jewish Talmud, without any cited version or passage.
Similar statements appear in You Can Negotiate Anything (1982) by Herb Cohen: "You and I do not see things as they are. We see things as we are"; and in Awareness (1992) by Anthony de Mello: "We see people and things not as they are, but as we are".
Another similar statement without cited source is also attributed to Nin https://web.archive.org/web/20050322041559/http://learn-gs.org/learningctr/tutorial/4.html: We see the world as "we" are, not as "it" is; because it is the "I" behind the "eye" that does the seeing.
Disputed
Variant: We don't see people as they are. We see people as we are.
Source: Little Birds

„We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.“

—  Anaïs Nin

February 1954 The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 5 as quoted in Woman as Writer (1978) by Jeannette L. Webber and Joan Grumman, p. 38
Diary entries (1914 - 1974)
Context: 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.
Context: 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.

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„Life shrinks or expands according to one's courage.“

—  Anaïs Nin

As quoted in French Writers of the Past (2000) by Carol A. Dingle, p. 126
Variant: Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage.

„I hate men who are afraid of women's strength.“

—  Anaïs Nin

Source: Henry and June: From "A Journal of Love"--The Unexpurgated Diary of Anaïs Nin

„The role of the writer is not to say what we can all say, but what we are unable to say.“

—  Anaïs Nin, book The Diary of Anaïs Nin

The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 5, as quoted in Moving to Antarctica : An Anthology of Women's Writing (1975) by Margaret Kaminski
Diary entries (1914 - 1974)
Context: 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.

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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