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Anaïs Nin

  • 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.

  • If you are terribly truthful, the ground will always move from under you, and you will have to shift with the constantly shifting truth.

  • Our love of each other is like one long shadow kissing without hope of reality.

  • The ghost of her potential father tormented her like a hunger for something which she knew had been invented or created solely by herself, but which she feared might never take human shape.

  • Music melts all the separate parts of our bodies together.

  • Living never wore one out as much as the effort not to live, she believed, and only if one lived fully and freely one also rested fully and deeply.

  • The imagination is far better at inventing tortures than life because the imagination is a demon within us and it knows where to strike, where it hurts. It knows the vulnerable spot, and life does not, our friends and lovers do not, because seldom do they have the imagination equal to the task.

  • He had a mania for washing and disinfecting himself. The fear of microbes played a very important part in his life. ... For him the only danger came from the microbes which attacked the body. He had not studied the microbe of conscience which eats into the soul.

  • He wove a veritable spider web about himself. No man was ever more completely installed in the realm of possessions. ... He had prepared a fortress against need, war and change.

  • The dream was always running ahead of one. To catch up, to live for a moment in unison with it, that was the miracle.

  • There is no denying that we are suffering from a collective neurosis and the novel which does not face this is not a novel of our time.

  • The richest source of creation is feeling, followed by a vision of its meaning.

  • When one is pretending, the entire body revolts.

  • Guilt is the one burden human beings can't bear alone.

  • Adolescence is like cactus.

  • There is no bleaker moment in the life of the city than that one which crosses the boundary lines between those who have not slept all night and those who are going to work. It was ... as if two races of men and women lived on earth, the night people and the day people, never meeting face to face except at this moment.

  • Vienna was the city of statues. They were as numerous as the people who walked the streets. They stood on the top of the highest towers, lay down on stone tombs, sat on horseback, kneeled, prayed, fought animals and wars, danced, drank wine and read books made of stone. They adorned cornices like the figureheads of old ships. They stood in the heart of fountains glistening with water as if they had just been born. They sat under the trees in the parks summer and winter. Some wore costumes of other periods, and some no clothes at all. Men, women, children, kings, dwarfs, gargoyles, unicorns, lions, clowns, heroes, wise men, prophets, angels, saints and soldiers preserved for Vienna an illusion of eternity.

  • In every relationship, sooner or later, there is a court scene. Accusations, counter-accusations, a trial, a verdict.

  • Nothing endures unless it has first been transposed into a myth, and the great advantage of myths is that they are ladies with portable roots.

  • ... the best way to remember a beautiful city or a beautiful painting is to eat something while you are looking at it. The flavor really helps the image to penetrate the body. It fixes it as lacquer does a drawing.

  • Either one fails in one's art or in one's life.

  • No one should be forced to carry the unfulfilled self of another.

  • She invents dramas in which she always stars.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1931, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 1 ()
  • She lives on the reflections of herself in the eyes of others.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1931, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 1 ()
  • To me the truth is something which cannot be told in a few words, and those who simplify the universe only reduce the expansion of its meaning.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1932, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 1 ()
  • Writers do not live one life, they live two. There is the living and then there is the writing. There is the second tasting, the delayed reaction.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1932, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 1 ()
  • ... one does not need to remain in bondage to the first wax imprint made on childhood sensibilities. One need not be branded by the first pattern. Once the deforming mirror is smashed, there is a possibility of wholeness; there is a possibility of joy.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1932, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 1 ()
  • ... all the art of analysis consists in saying a truth only when the other person is ready for it, has been prepared for it by an organic process of gradation and evolution ...

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1932, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 1 ()
  • I like extravagance. Letters which give the postman a stiff back to carry, books which overflow from their covers, sexuality which bursts the thermometers.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1933, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 1 ()
  • ... the pearl-grey city, the opal that is Paris ...

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1933, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 1 ()
  • It's all right for a woman to be, above all, human. I am a woman first of all.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1933, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 1 ()
  • I postpone death by living, by suffering, by error, by risking, by giving, by losing.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1933, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 1 ()
  • The human father has to be confronted and recognized as human, as a man who created a child and then, by his absence, left the child fatherless and then Godless.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1933, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 1 ()
  • ... willingness to explore everything is a sign of strength. The weak ones have prejudices. Prejudices are a protection.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1933, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 1 ()
  • In my dreams I sleep with everybody.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1933, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 1 ()
  • You marry the day you realize the human defects of your love.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1934, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 1 ()
  • We love best those who are, or act for us, a self we do not wish to be or act out.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1934, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 1 ()
  • I loved an image of him which did not exist. When he is away, this image begins to obsess me. It invades me, and I begin to believe in it again. It is destroyed each time I see him.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1934, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 1 ()
  • I love man as creator, lover, husband, friend, but man the father I do not trust. I do not believe in man as father. I do not trust man as father.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1934, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 1 ()
  • In New York the acoustics are good for laughter, for life is all external, all action, no thought, no meditation, no dreaming, no reflection, only the exuberance of action.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1934, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 2 ()
  • New York seems conducted by jazz, animated by it. It is essentially a city of rhythm.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1934, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 2 ()
  • Paris-New York, the two high tension magnetic poles between life, life of the senses, of the spirit in Paris, and life in action in New York.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1934, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 2 ()
  • There is not one big cosmic meaning for all, there is only the meaning we each give to our life. ... To seek a total unity is wrong. To give as much meaning to one's life as possible is right to me.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1935, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 2 ()
  • While analyzing so many people I realized the constant need of a mother, or a father, or a god (the same thing) is really immaturity. It is a childish need, a human need, but so universal that I can see how it gave birth to all religions.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1935, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 2 ()
  • I was thinking of my patients, and how the worst moment for them was when they discovered they were masters of their own fate. It was not a matter of bad or good luck. When they could no longer blame fate, they were in despair.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1935, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 2 ()
  • For all of my patients sensuality is a giving in to 'the low side of their nature.' Puritanism is powerful and distorts their life with a total anesthesia of the senses. If you atrophy one sense, you also atrophy all the others, a sensuous and physical connection with nature, with art, with food, with other human beings.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1935, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 2 ()
  • I miss the animal buoyancy of New York, the animal vitality. I did not mind that it had no meaning and no depth.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1935, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 2 ()
  • Writing more and more to the sound of music, writing more and more like music. Sitting in my studio tonight, playing record after record, writing, music a stimulant of the highest order, far more potent than wine.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1935, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 2 ()
  • People living deeply have no fear of death.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1935, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 2 ()
  • One always, sooner or later, comes upon a city which is an image of one's inner cities. Fez is an image of my inner self. ... The layers of the city of Fez are like the layers and secrecies of the inner life. One needs a guide. ... There were in Fez, as in my life, streets which led nowhere, impasses which remained a mystery.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1936, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 2 ()
  • Introspection is a devouring monster.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1936, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 2 ()
  • ... dreams are necessary to life ...

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1936, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 2 ()
  • ... my diary seems to keep me whole.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1936, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 2 ()
  • ... each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1937, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 2 ()
  • Electric flesh-arrows ... traversing the body. A rainbow of color strikes the eye-lids. A foam of music falls over the ears. It is the gong of the orgasm.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1937, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 2 ()
  • Poverty is the great reality. That is why the artist seeks it.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1937, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 2 ()
  • The softness of the summer day like an ermine paw.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1937, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 2 ()
  • [On Paris:] A city never entirely known, yet which gives you the feeling of intimacy, of possessing it intimately.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1937, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 2 ()
  • Houses turn to corpses overnight when we cease to live and love in them.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1939, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 2 ()
  • Beware of allowing a tactless word, a rebuttal, a rejection to obliterate the whole sky.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1939, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 2 ()
  • The core of creation is to summon an image and the power to work with the image.

  • The fiery moments of passionate experience are the moments of wholeness and totality of the personality.

  • To mistake ugliness for reality is one of the frauds of the realistic school [of writing]. A hunger for the unknown and an aspiration toward beauty were inseparable from civilization. In America the word art was distorted to mean artificial.

  • Poetry is the alchemy which teaches us to convert ordinary materials into gold.

  • Poetry, which is our relation to the senses, enables us to retain a living relationship to all things. It is the quickest means of transportation to reach dimensions above or beyond the traps set by the so-called realists. It is a way to learn levitation and travel in liberated continents, to travel by moonlight as well as sunlight.

  • The way to recognize a dead word is that it exudes boredom.

  • Only when the poet and the scientist work in unison will we have living experiences and knowledge of the marvels of the universe as they are being discovered.

  • 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.

  • There are only two kinds of freedom in the world: the freedom of the rich and powerful, and the freedom of the artist and the monk who renounce possessions.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1940, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 3 ()
  • ... atrophy of feeling creates criminals.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1940, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 3 ()
  • Tropical nights are hammocks for lovers.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1940, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 3 ()
  • Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1941, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 3 ()
  • Tranquillity is contagious, peace is contagious. One only thinks of the contagiousness of illness, but there is the contagion of serenity and joy.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1942, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 3 ()
  • What a mystery this is, desire. The love sickness, the sensitivity, the obsession, the flutter of the heart, the ebb and flow of the blood. There is no drug and no alcohol to equal it.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1943, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 3 ()
  • 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.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1943, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 3 ()
  • We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 3 ()
  • The only abnormality is the incapacity to love.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • in Judy Oringer, "Anaïs Nin on Women," Ramparts Magazine ()
  • ... it was while helping others to be free that I gained my own freedom.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • in Judy Oringer, "Anaïs Nin on Women," Ramparts Magazine ()
  • The inner chambers of the soul are like the photographer's darkroom. Like a laboratory. One cannot stay there all the time or it becomes the solitary cell of the neurotic.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1944, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 4 ()
  • We are never trapped unless we choose to be.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1944, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 4 ()
  • Something is always born of excess: great art was born of great terrors, great loneliness, great inhibitions, instabilities, and it always balances them.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1945, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 4 ()
  • I have a prejudice against people with money. I have known so many, and none have escaped the corruption of power. In this I am a purist. I love people motivated by love and not by power. If you have money and power, and are motivated by love, you give it all away.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1945, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 4 ()
  • 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. The past, present, and future mingle and pull us backward, forward, or fix us in the present. We are made up of layers, cells, constellations.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1946, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 4 ()
  • Is devotion to others a cover for the hungers and the needs of the self, of which one is ashamed? I was always ashamed to take. So I gave. It was not a virtue. It was a disguise.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1945, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 4 ()
  • Mature people relate to each other without the need to merge.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1946, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 4 ()
  • The shell is America's most active contribution to the formation of character. A tough hide. Grow it early.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1946, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 4 ()
  • Dreams pass into the reality of action. From the action stems the dream again; and this interdependence produces the highest form of living.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1946, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 4 ()
  • I write emotional algebra.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1946, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 4 ()
  • The personal, if it is deep enough, becomes universal, mythical, symbolic ...

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1946, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 4 ()
  • Death from disillusion is not instantaneous, and there are no mercy killers for the disillusioned.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1946, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 4 ()
  • Anxiety is love's greatest killer. It creates the failures. It makes others feel as you might when a drowning man holds on to you. You want to save him, but you know he will strangle you with his panic.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1947, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 4 ()
  • I cannot concentrate all my friendship on any single one of my friends because no one is complete enough in himself.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1947, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 4 ()
  • Those who cannot live fully often become destroyers of life.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 4 ()
  • The self is merely the lens through which we see others and the world ...

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • in Philip K. Jason, ed., The Anaïs Nin Reader ()
  • Jazz is the music of the body.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1947, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 5 ()
  • To write is to descend, to excavate, to go underground.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1948, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 5 ()
  • One handles truths like dynamite. Literature is one vast hypocrisy, a giant deception, treachery. All writers have concealed more than they revealed.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1948, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 5 ()
  • A trite word is an overused word which has lost its identity like an old coat in a second-hand shop. The familiar grows dull and we no longer see, hear, or taste it.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1950, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 5 ()
  • We must protect the minority writers because they are the research workers of literature. They keep it alive. It has been fashionable of late to seek out and force such writers into more popular channels, to the detriment of both writer and an unprepared public.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1950, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 5 ()
  • The suppression of inner patterns in favor of patterns created by society is dangerous to us.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1950, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 5 ()
  • Nowhere is inhumanity more revealed than in hospitals.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1950, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 5 ()
  • ... I am a failure as a writer. The publishers won't publish me, the bookshops won't carry my books, the critics won't write about me. I am excluded from all anthologies, and completely ignored.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1953, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 5 ()
  • Convalescence. Such an utter weakness that you lie like an animal hibernating, playing possum. You float. You are adrift. Every current is stronger than you.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1953, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 5 ()
  • ... what I cannot love, I overlook. Is that real friendship?

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1953, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 5 ()
  • One may gain one truth at the expense of another.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1953, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 5 ()
  • It is difficult to live with the pure. They do not condemn you; they forgive you. This forgiveness is more terrible than a judgment.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1954, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 5 ()
  • I believe one writes because one has to create a world in which one can live.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1954, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 5 ()
  • When you make a world tolerable for yourself you make a world tolerable for others.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1954, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 5 ()
  • We write to taste life twice, in the moment, and in retrospection. ... 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.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1954, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 5 ()
  • When I don't write, I feel my world shrinking, I feel I am in a prison. I feel I lose my fire, my color.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1954, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 5 ()
  • Acapulco in the sunset seems like a balm; it enters the blood like a drug after one inhalation of the scent of flowers, one glimpse of the bay iridescent like silk, the sunset like the inside of a shell, so much like the flesh of Venus.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1954, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 5 ()
  • The role of the writer is not to say what we can all say, but what we are unable to say.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1954, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 5 ()
  • Stations and airports are rehearsals for separations by death.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1954, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 5 ()
  • ... compassion for our parents is the true sign of maturity.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1954, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 5 ()
  • When I cannot bear outer pressures any more, I begin to put order in my belongings. I get satisfaction from perfect order in my papers, in my clothes, in the house. I carry this to excess. As if unable to organize and control my life, I seek to exert this on the world of objects.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1954, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 5 ()
  • ... we cannot cure the evils of politics with politics ...

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1955, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 5 ()
  • America hates the artist. It will not admit: the artist is my soul and I want to kill off my soul.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1955, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 5 ()
  • I will not be just a tourist in the world of images, just watching images passing by which I cannot live in, make love to, possess as permanent sources of joy and ecstasy.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 5 ()
  • The child who is uprooted begins to recognize that what he builds within himself is what will endure, what will withstand shattering experiences.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • in Jody Hay, "Out of the Labyrinth: An Interview," East West Journal ()
  • Because history is only an aggregate of personal hostilities, personal prejudices, personal blindness and irrationality, there are times when we have to live against it.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • "The New Woman," in Ramparts Magazine ()
  • Our American culture made a virtue of our living only as extroverts. We discouraged the inner journey, the quest for a center, and so we lost our center and had to find it again.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • "The New Woman," in Ramparts Magazine ()
  • I have never heard of a male artist concerned about the effect of his growth and expansion on his family. We accept the fact that his work justifies all sacrifices. But woman does not feel this is enough of a justification.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • "The New Woman," in Ramparts Magazine ()
  • Some people read to confirm their own hopelessness. Others read to be rescued from it.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • "The New Woman," in Ramparts Magazine ()
  • ... jazz is the expression of America's romantic self, its sensual potency, its lyrical force.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1957, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 6 ()
  • Big Business and Politics are twins, they are the monsters who kill everything, corrupt everything.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1957, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 6 ()
  • Hollywood is a mirage factory ...

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1958, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 6 ()
  • Descendants of pigeons once fed by Keats, Byron, George Sand, Chopin and many other famous lovers are still being fed, and the sudden sound when they all rise together, frightened away, is like the sound of giant sails flapping.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1959, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 6 ()
  • If you can't create, you destroy.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1959, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 6 ()
  • ... violence is a symptom of impotence.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1960, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 6 ()
  • ... destruction is ultimately self-destruction.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1961, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 6 ()
  • Self-destructive patterns cause as much suffering as outer catastrophes.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1961, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 6 ()
  • New York has an electronic heart.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1965, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 6 ()
  • We [Tristine Rainer and I] taught the diary as an exercise in creative will; as an exercise in synthesis; as a means to create a world according to our wishes, not those of others; as a mean of creating the self, of giving birth to ourselves. We taught diary writing as a way of reintegrating ourselves when experience shatters us, to help us out of the desperate loneliness of silence and the anxieties of alienation. In the diary we discovered a voice for reading the deep sources of metaphysical and numinous qualities contained in human beings. We found in it the ultimate instrument for explorations of new forms of consciousness and ecstasy. We practiced it as a way of opening vision into experience, deepening understanding of others; as a way to touch and reach the depths of human beings; as nourishment; as a means of linking the content of the dream to our actions so that they become harmonious and interactive.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • in Tristine Rainer, The New Diary ()
  • I learned very early in my life that music could transform, could transfigure, could transpose a human battle into beauty. When I was 16 and I became a painter's model ... I was learning about color from the painters. Later on, I learned the importance of the image, which I have always used in my writing as coming from the dream, a way of thinking which no modern life has ever been able to eradicate. As a writer I wanted simply to take all the various expressions of art into writing, and I thought each art must nourish the other, each one can add to the other. And I would take into writing what I learned from dancing, what I learned from music, what I learned from design, what I learned from architecture. From every form of art there is something that I wanted to include in writing, and I wanted writing, poetic writing, to include them all. Because I thought always of art not only as a balm, as a consolation, but I thought of art, as I said, as a supreme act of magic which is contained in certain words that I always tell students to write on a large piece of paper and to live with. These were all the words concerned with trans-: transcend, transmute, transform, transpose, transfigure. All the acts of creation were to me contained in these words, and I felt that no matter what we were living through, we had to find our strength, our harmony and a synthesis by which we could live, and make a center to resist outer events and whatever experience shattered us. I always used art to put something together again. That is why I favored the artist, because I learned from him this creating out of nothing.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1973, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 7 ()
  • Great repressions create dualities.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1966, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 7 ()
  • Asia discovered two remedies for the cruelty of man, art and religion. America discarded both and is drowning in hate and aggressivity.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1966, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 7 ()
  • ... only love begets love.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1969, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 7 ()
  • Travel is seeking the lost paradise. It is the supreme illusion of love.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1969, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 7 ()
  • We travel, some of us forever, to seek other states, other lives, other souls.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1969, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 7 ()
  • ... perhaps the only magician we have is the artist.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1973, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 7 ()
  • ... America is the greatest humiliator in existence. It is always cultivating the power you get from humiliating others.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1973, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 7 ()
  • Life, religion and art all converge in Bali. They have no word in their language for 'artist' or 'art.' Everyone is an artist.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1974, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 7 ()
  • The one who travels like a lover searching for a new passion is suddenly blessed with new eyes, new ears, new senses.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1974, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 7 ()
  • ... notes fly so much farther than words. There is no other way to reach the infinite.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1976, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 7 ()
  • In music I feel most deeply the passing of things.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1976, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 7 ()
  • To love and to labor is the sum of living.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1922, Linotte, the Early Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 2 ()
  • Through love, through friendship, a heart lives more than one life ...

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1922, Linotte, the Early Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 2 ()
  • To the woman with the least intelligence, there must come, at some time or other, the realization that housework is animal work and that there are other occupations in the world a thousand times more refined, more enriching, for which she is also suited and to which she has a right.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1924, Linotte, the Early Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 3 ()
  • ... gold never comes to the dreamers — except in dreams.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1924, Linotte, the Early Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 3 ()
  • I find that life, day by day, is composed of at least one joy, one problem and one sorrow. Then there are the smaller ingredients: you always learn something, whether useful or harmful — that is difficult to analyze until later; you always give something; you alwayou always grow a little in one direction or another.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1925, Linotte, the Early Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 3 ()
  • When I stand at the top of the Champs-Elysées, with its chestnut trees in flower, its undulations of shining cars, its white spaciousness, I feel as if I were biting into a utopian fruit, something velvety and lustrous and rich and vivid.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1925, Linotte, the Early Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 3 ()
  • I know why families were created, with all their imperfections. They humanize you. They are made to make you forget yourself occasionally, so that the beautiful balance of life is not destroyed.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1926, Linotte, the Early Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 3 ()
  • ... the cynic is a coward. He foresees all barrenness so that barrenness can never surprise him.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1926, Linotte, the Early Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 3 ()
  • ... although I love a rich life, I hate an overcrowded life. I believe in rumination and lose half the beauty of all things when I am deprived of the time to ruminate.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1927, Linotte, the Early Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 3 ()
  • My trunk, valises and my mind are overpacked.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1927, Linotte, the Early Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 3 ()
  • The sap rising in the trees does not rise each year with greater strength, but life rises in me each year with greater strength, and can I endure it? The symphonic concerts of the birds do not get louder, but my cries of exultation, yes, and can others endure it?

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1929, Linotte, the Early Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 4 ()
  • All unlived emotions turn to inanity ...

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1929, Linotte, the Early Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 4 ()
  • I don't tell the truth any more to those who can't make use of it. I tell it mostly to myself, because it always changes me, does something to me.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1929, Linotte, the Early Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 4 ()
  • To write at the same temperature at which I live I should write nothing but poetry.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1931, Linotte, the Early Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 4 ()
  • 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.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • "The New Woman" (1971), The White Blackbird ()
  • The period without the diary remains an ordeal. Every evening I want my diary as one wants opium.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • in Ronald Blythe, The Pleasures of Diaries ()
  • Trust the fragments.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • in Jennifer Stone, Telegraph Avenue Then ()
  • The bed must be a beautiful place, not only because you make love there but because you dream there as well.

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

    • Anaïs Nin
  • A war regarded as inevitable or even probable, and therefore much prepared for, has a very good chance of eventually being fought.

    • Anaïs Nin
  • I take pleasure in my 'transformation.' I look quiet and consistent, but few know how many women there are in me.

  • If I had not created my whole world, I would certainly have died in other people's.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1924, Linotte, the Early Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 3 ()
  • Love never dies a natural death. It dies because we don't know how to replenish its source, it dies of blindness and errors and betrayals. It dies of illnesses and wounds, it dies of weariness, of witherings, of tarnishings, but never a natural death. Every lover should be brought to trial as the murderer of his own love.

  • Throw your dream into space like a kite, and you do not know what it will bring back, a new life, a new friend, a new love, or a new country.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1945, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 4 ()
  • Art is the method of levitation, in order to separate one's self from enslavement by the earth.

    • Anaïs Nin
  • My diary is a mirror telling the story of a dreamer who, a long, long time ago, went through life the way one reads a book.

    • Anaïs Nin
  • The imagination is far better at inventing tortures than life because the imagination is a demon within us and it knows where to strike, where it hurts.

  • The potion drunk by lovers is prepared by no one but themselves.

  • I have never found a way to get what I wanted except by lies.

  • ... if the personal life is lived deeply enough, it becomes really everybody's life.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • in Wendy DuBow, Conversations with Anaïs Nin ()

Anaïs Nin, French novelist, diarist

(1903 - 1977)

Full name: Anaïs Jeanne Nin.