White heat

Photo by cottonbro

Because I seem to come alive again one evening, at a time when the world seems to be dying, I naturally reached for a book of such epistolary beauty I think everyone who knows me will not be surprised. I have always been in love with correspondence, and A Literate Passion: Letters of Anaïs Nin & Henry Miller (1932-195), edited by Gunther Stuhlmann, is one of my favourite books.

Here are some excerpts that I carry with me this afternoon:

“…we both love to work on living, palpitating stuff, at white heat. But I believe it is only after the white heat that the story really ripens. The white heat re-creates the emotional experience…”

― Anaïs Nin, in a letter to Henry Miller, 12 February 1932

“You don’t know what men are like…I’m always ready to love, always hungry to love…I am quite sane, too sane almost, madly sane…I’ll let you explain me to myself—that sounds intelligent and fantastic…”

— Henry Miller, in a letter to Anaïs Nin, 13 February 1932

“Please understand…I am in full rebellion against my own mind, that when I live, I live by impulse, by emotion, by white heat…but afterwards, understand me, when all basis, all awareness, all control has been knocked out of my being, afterwards I make the tremendous effort to rise again, not to wallow anymore, not to go on just suffering or burning, and I grasp all things…I want to be able to live…in utter madness, but I also want to be able to understand afterwards, to grasp what I have lived through…understand me, what comes first is the rest, the sensing through emotions…[but] I come up for air, for understanding…I’m so full, so excited, so feverish—language will always drag and lag behind.”

— Anaïs Nin, in a letter to Henry Miller, 13 February 1932

It’s peculiar how I’m beginning again, but here I am. It’s been more than a decade since I last had a journal like this. I was still growing into myself then. I guess I still am.


T. xx

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