A few decades ago, a dear friend introduced me to Anaïs Nin’s writings. He quoted her in a letter to me, saying this particular piece reminds him of me:
“Ordinary life does not interest me. I seek only the high moments. I am in accord with the surrealists, searching for the marvelous. I want to be a writer who reminds others that these moments exist; I want to prove that there is infinite space, infinite meaning, infinite dimension. But I am not always in what I call a state of grace. I have days of illuminations and fevers. I have days when the music in my head stops. Then I mend socks, prune trees, can fruits, polish furniture. But while I am doing this I feel I am not living.”
Anaïs Nin – The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 1: 1931-1934
It was a light-bulb moment for me, reading his letter. Suddenly I realised that I was not alone in my frustration that life was supposed to be more than work, cooking, cleaning, children and commitment in general. Daily life was rather vampirical for me – it sucked everything out of me, leaving a shell that went about daily duties.
If you asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would have told you “a writer”. It’s been a long road to growing up, and the pressures of life and it’s endless demand for funding have seen my priorities steered towards children, rather than self-actualisation activities like writing. The children have grown up themselves, now, and thanks to the world of the internet, I can write and be published with the tap of an Enter key. Thus I can blog.
“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospection.” Anais wrote. By sharing my favourite moments, I will admit to a little self-indulgence – I am writing as much to treat myself as I am for others. ‘In Search of the Marvelous‘ is a collection of musings and memories that may make you smile, or think, or both – but for me, it is about self-reflection.
And I am putting together the framework for my first novel.
Thank you, Noel Bailey, for pointing me in the right direction.