Saturday, August 02, 2008

Anais Nin, Erotica, etc.


I recently got a copy of Anais Nin's (her first name is pronounced An-EYE-as, her last name rhymes with "pin" ) collection of essays "In Favor of the Sensitive Man." It has some good stuff in it. Nin had always been ahead of her time, but by the time she was in her 60s "second-wave" feminism came along and the times caught up with her. As you can see here:
The new type of young man I have met is exceptionally fitted for a new woman, but she is not yet totally appreciative of his tenderness, his growing proximity to woman, his attitude of twinship rather than differentiation. People who once lived under a dictatorship often are at a loss to govern themselves. This loss is a transitional one: It may mean the beginning of a totally new life and freedom. The man is there. He is an equal. He treats you like an equal. In moments of uncertainty you can still discuss problems with him you could not have talked about twenty years ago.

Nin funfact - "In 1947, at the age of 44, she met and began living with Rupert Pole (1919-2006), sixteen years her junior." Pole by all accounts was quite the hottie. You go, Anais!

Nin was also known as the author of erotica. From Wikipedia:
Faced with a desperate need for money, Nin and (Henry) Miller began in the 1940s to write erotic and pornographic narratives for an anonymous "collector" for a dollar a page, somewhat as a joke. Nin considered the characters in her erotica to be extreme caricatures and never intended the work to be published, but changed her mind in the early 1970s and allowed them to be published as Delta of Venus and Little Birds.
Nothing more satisfying than writing erotica for money. That is some easy money. I haven't been paid for mine since I wrote Wildwood Summer for a gay men's magazine. I'm currently turning that story into a play. I think I'm going to change the title to "Scuse Me While I Kiss This Guy."

I've written erotic sonnets as well as another short story, called "Victorian Boots" which is heterosexual but a bit kinky. It was accepted by - but no pay involved, alas. That's one bad thing about the Internet - it's made the dissemination of erotica - not to mention pornography - extremely easy, and so there's lots more of it and so it's not as valuable. Contemporary Nins and Millers are getting bupkis for their erotic narratives. I did find writing "Victorian Boots" therapeutic - I turned a very negative series of events I endured, through the magic of sexual desire, into something pleasurable. Basically that is what kink is all about - turning pain into pleasure.