“The old concept of chronological, orderly, symmetrical development of character died when it was discovered that the unconscious motivations are entirely at odds with fabricated conventions. Human beings do not grow in perfect symmetry. They oscillate, expand, contract, backtrack, arrest themselves, retrogress, mobilize, atrophy in part, proceed erratically according to experience and traumas. Some aspects of the personality mature, others do not. Some live in the past, some in the present. Some people are futuristic characters, some are cubistic, some are hard-edged, some geometric, some abstract, some impressionistic, some surrealistic!” ― Anaïs Nin, The Novel of the Future
Anais Nin is divine. She’s a women pioneer. Her writing paved the new way the world thought about women. We are all in great debt to her to be able to read her intimate life though her personal diaries. I started the Diary volume one months ago but decided to paused it and instead read “The Novel of the Future”, a literary essay that I ended up reading twice. As a person who knows nothing about literary and its mechanism, this book enlightens me enormously. I love the ambience of Nin’s writing. I adore her boldness. She broke all those rules and went her own way and created her own style. In this book, she begins the whole theory about “dream” which blew my mind away completely. I read this chapter over and over because first, I never thought about how could “dream” possibly relate to writing? Then I just fell in love with the way she elaborates the engineering of dreams. She begins “It is interesting to return to the original definition of a word we use too often and too carelessly. The definition of a dream is: ideas and images in the mind not under the command of reason. It is not necessarily and image or idea that we have during sleep. It is merely an idea or image which escapes the control of reasoning or logical or rational mind. So that dream may include reverie, imagination, daydreaming, the visions and hallucinations under the influence of drug-any experience which emerge from the realm of the subconscious.” Imagination and dreaming are the foundation of creativity. There is no doubt that the act of creation is very similar to the act of dreaming.
Proceeding from the dream, she writes about her writing process, abstraction, the importance of keeping the diary, writing novels, the chronology or emotion, eroticism, as well as the influence in her writing from her relationship and experience with her family and friends. I want to highlight her view on literary criticism where in France, the art of criticism is very highly developed, books are skillfully evaluated with a constant interest in the innovators whereas in America, it is only the game of sales numbers. She also talks about D.H. Lawrance, Henry Miller, Virginia Woolf, Lawrence Durrell, Margaret Mead and so on. This book is timeless. I completely complied with her suggestion that to be the writer of the future is to write fearlessly, be authentic and create greater liberation of imagination. Surely, Anais Nin is the writer of the future.
I’m glad that I picked this book as an introduction to the real Anais Nin. I prefer to listen to her directly and read about what she believed despite all the gossip around her. (People love gossip, don’t they?).