Thursday, June 07, 2012

Henry Miller

Just to watch Nys eat was inspiring. She enjoyed every morsel of her food, which she selected with great care. By care I don’t mean concern about calories and vitamins. No, she was careful to choose the things she liked, and which agreed with her, because she relished them. She could drag the meal out interminably, her good humour constantly augmenting, her indolence becoming more and more seductive, her spirit growing keener, livelier, brighter. A good meal, a good talk, a good fuck – what better way is there to pass the day? There were no worms devouring her conscience, no cares which she couldn’t throw off. Floating with the tide, nothing more. She would produce no children, contribute nothing to the welfare of the community, leave no mark upon the world in going. But wherever she went she would make life easier, more attractive, more fragrant. And that is no little thing. Every time I left her I had the feeling of a day well spent. I wished that I too could take life in that same easy natural way.
From Quiet Days in Clichy, Henry Miller
Anais Nin said, ‘Life made him drunk, like me.’ These days with no religion or tradition that mentored us in the past, we are lost in the world, but there is literature, Henry Miller and his self-possession, phlegm, indolence, insouciance, readiness to go hungry over being a salesman, his struggle to be human and an artist.

Also rereading  Anais Nin’s wonderfully prismatic diaries. She too is a guide. It’s great to see their influences on each other, and their mutual obsession with June Miller, Henry’s second wife, due to her beauty, seductiveness and her elusive way of spinning tall tales.

 June Mansfield Miller

Forget yourself. Develop an interest in life as you see it, the people, things, literature, music, the world is so rich, simply throbbing with rich treasures, beautiful souls and interesting people. He spoke of two deaths, the inevitable one we are all waiting for, and the more tragic one some of us choose to live. It comes on by getting lost in inertia, and pointless work and routines we make for ourselves that stop us realising we’re alive. 

Two great little interviews on youtube below…

Henry Miller. Asleep and Awake. Interview Documentary 1975, so watchable, he talks through all the pictures in his bathroom – ‘a microcosm of the universe’ to ‘the maniac who built that castle’.

Anais and Henry

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