Anais Nin: On writing and being…

On Writing

To write is to descend, to excavate, to go underground.

I am in a beautiful prison from which I can only escape by writing.

The final lesson a writer learns is that everything can nourish the writer. The dictionary, a new word, a voyage, an encounter, a talk on the street, a book, a phrase learned.

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

My ideas usually come not at my desk writing but in the midst of living.

It is the function of art to renew our perception. What we are familiar with we cease to see. The writer shakes up the familiar scene, and, as if by magic, we see a new meaning in it.

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.

We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospection.

Solitude may rust your words.


On being

And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.

Good things happen to those who hustle.

We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.

When we blindly adopt a religion, a political system, a literary dogma, we become automatons. We cease to grow.

The possession of knowledge does not kill the sense of wonder and mystery. There is always more mystery.

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.

Life is a process of becoming, a combination of states we have to go through. Where people fail is that they wish to elect a state and remain in it. This is a kind of death.

Ordinary life does not interest me. I seek only the high moments. I am in accord with the surrealists, searching for the marvelous.

Shame is the lie someone told you about yourself.

When one is pretending the entire body revolts.

Don’t let one cloud obliterate the whole sky.

Only in the fever of creation could she recreate her own lost life.

Living never wore one out so much as the effort not to live.

There are very few human beings who receive the truth, complete and staggering, by instant illumination. Most of them acquire it fragment by fragment, on a small scale, by successive developments, cellularly, like a laborious mosaic.

We do not grow absolutely, chronologically. We grow sometimes in one dimension, and not in another, unevenly. We grow partially. We are relative. We are mature in one realm, childish in another.