Friday, December 23, 2011

Wayne McEvilly's Letter From Anais Nin

This letter was sent by Wayne McEvilly
I thought of sending you some Nin material for you to use (or not) in your blog. I know she would have liked sharing this material with others. Here's a first.
Please let me know if this is in a format you can place in the blog- and if you would like for me to send more.
Thank you.

We look forward to posting other sharings in the New Year! It would help if we had a document
transcription of Anais's words for those who are accustomed to zooming in on material to read.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Rochelle Holt: Sharon Spencer Papers

Sharon Spencer and Rochelle Holt January 1979
First an inquiry from Rochelle to Donna regarding finding a home for some Sharon Spencer papers
Donna, I'm in the process of cleaning and findng again. A while ago I remember you said there was a Swallow Press library for pertinent information? I have some of Sharon's books and not sure if they are in there, i.e. WIRE RIMS, VOICES FROM THE EARTH, her last unpublished ms. "Gentle Revolutionaries," a letter from Gabriel Alcocer Sanchez in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico regarding Sharon's last days which I reread, very sad. Anyway, do you think the collection would be interested in any of this??? If so, where would I send?

Then a response from Donna Ippolito

I'm aware of two collections, U.of Illinois Chicago has a Swallow Press collection, but I don't have any contact information. You can look it up online, however, because I've done so in the past, back in 2004, I think. Also, Northwestern U. has an Anais Nin collection. I was there with Valerie some 30 years ago and saw only materials from Nin & Henry Miller, but who knows what other kinds of documents they'd be interested in. When we corresponded about this before, I also suggested that you contact Montclair College. Maybe they have a Sharon Spencer collection by now or would be interested in starting one. Someone in the English Department might also know who else you might contact. These are all just suggestions, of course. I have no specific email links or contact names to provide. Last time this came up, Moira & I tried to find Sharon's sister, who had all Sharon's papers, but the contact information for Pat was out of date and led to a dead end. Also, aren't Anais's papers in California somewhere? Moira might be able to help by putting up something on the website--perhaps a notice that your materials are available, with a call to anyone who might know where they could find a home. I wish I could be more help than this, but if you have time to Google, I'm guessing you will eventually turn up something. Unfortunately, I'm not able to do the legwork. Hope all is well - Donna

Then a reply from Rochelle, who had no luck with Montclair

Someone suggested I start with Montclair where my late friend Sharon Spencer taught a number of years; she passed in 2002. I've found papers, books and her last unpublished ms. I'm wondering if Montclair ever started a special collections for Dr. Sharon Spencer? Let me know. Rochelle Lynn Holt She and I were part of the Anais Nin Circle

No collection was ever started of Sharon's work. I don't know that we have done that for any present or former faculty member.

but did have luck with Northwestern University.

Northwestern U Special Collections will take anything regarding Sharon Spencer which is where I'm sending her last ms. correspondence, etc.

Scott Krafft, Curator of Charles Deering McCormick Library of Special Collections Northwestern U Library 1970 Campus Drive Evanston, Il 60208 has agreed to accept correspondence, books by and about Sharon Spencer. Best to write to him first. Scott Krafft

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Anais Nin As A Teacher and Theorist of Creativity

I'm interested in Anais Nin as a teacher and as a theorist of creativity.
I'd like to bring that very important dimension of her life into the foreground of the discussion about her. Nan Hunt, Leah Schweitzer and I were in a M.A. program with her in the last years of her life. We'll be reading our own work, and discussing Nin's long-term effect on us as poets, teachers, essayists, etc. Let all who might be interested know to show up. All 3 of us did good work then and are doing good work now.
We'll put on a good show. Nancy
Please forward to all who might be interested

visit my newly designed website

681 Venice Blvd. West of Lincoln
December 16, Friday 7:30 PM
ANAIS NIN'S students read their work and discuss her impact on their lives

"Eroticism is one of the basic means of self-knowledge, as indispensable as poetry…”
Anais Nin, In Favor of the Sensitive Man
Nancy Shiffrin's new collection of love poems GAME WITH VARIATIONS is now available on-line. Click on the link below to read more and order
“Nancy Shiffrin's poems are gut-land responses to a personal life of risks, frustrations, and celebrations. Her writing is lean, sensitive, erotic. She celebrates the female body with a rare vigor.” Robert Peters
THE VAST UNKNOWING collects a wide spectrum of poetry from Nancy Shiffrin...One of her main questions is Who are we? What made us that person? She explores a number of sources of our identity....(in the poem) “My Shoah” (Shiffrin) brings together many of her disparate threads—family religion...evil...details from her personal history—and makes them work together. When she is at her best, as in this poem, Shiffrin produces deep powerful poetry. G. Murray Thomas,

Monday, August 08, 2011

Rose of Sharon and Purple Jacaranda Mist

"Sharon did not die. Sharon is not dead. Sharon simply decided to live...over there, in another part of the garden...where a half moon floats sustaining the balance of day and night....knowing anytime, she can cross again that red curved bridge. "...I can see her now, standing under the thick purple mist of jacaranda...laughing."

Kazuko Sugisaki

from a memorial booklet on Sharon published by Rochelle Holt of Lioness Press

Today is scholar Sharon Spencer's birthday. She would have be celebrating
her seventy-fifth birthday today.

Her piece Forever Anais graces our web-site as a lovely gift of scholarship she presciently did for our site in it's early days.

We myth you Sharon! Here are the original pieces that were written for the booklet. We posted them on this blog on Sharon's birthday in August of 2007.

Thanks to Wikimedia and their common license allowing our site to reprint this photo of a lovely purple mist of jacaranda. The photo was taken in Bhutan.

The photo is from the Wikipedia entry on this remarkable tree that so defines the far reaching blessings of the spirit of our Rose of Sharon.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Anais's Editor at Swallow Press Has Written a Book

Donna Ippolito, Anais Nin's editor at Swallow Press has written a book which is reviewed by writer and poet Rochelle Holt. Ms. Holt titled her review
"Dangling Lure" and referenced her poem at the start of the review, but to focus attention
on her review of Ms.Ippolito's work, we are editing her referencing words, and putting her poem at the end. To order Donna's book, please go to her website. Writing Fiction: Ask The Editor

Dangling Lure

Drawing on twenty-five years experience as an editor for Swallow Press that first published Anais Nin; and editor-in-chief for FASA (novels in science fiction and fantasy published by Penguin and Times-Warner, i.e. Battletech; Shadowrun; MechWarrior; Earthdawn), Donna Ippolito has written a unique reference and guide to not only writing fiction but publishing as well.
Succinct responses to questions writers pose comprise Craft; Writing Well; Roadblocks and Inspiration; and Getting Published. Not only apprentices and novices will gain much from this truly supportive source, but experienced writers also can read the craft book to brush-up or re-hone their skills.
CRAFT includes twenty-six responses, lessons, so to speak, that range from Titles; Setting the Scene; Characters Need Plots through Seamless Inner Dialogue; The Antagonist to Reading Like a Writer and Literary versus Commercial.
In Beats and Dialogue Tags, “you can handle multiple speakers with a nice mix of dialogue tags and action tags (or ‘beats’). “Beats” are the gestures, facial expressions, small movements, and even thoughts or feelings that occur in the midst of dialogue.”
The author uses a brief or longer example from a story to illustrate her advice. For “The Antagonist,” usually another person, she says “it could just as easily be an animal, a spirit or nonhuman creature…also a force of nature. In Titanic, it’s an iceberg….”
In WRITING WELL, readers learn to Kill an Adjective. She uses quotes throughout the book to support her advice, i.e. Mark Twain. “If you catch an adjective, kill it.” As she affirms, “Adjectives (and adverbs) do tend to tell rather than show….Readers are looking for an experience…” Knowing the color of a character’s eyes isn’t a way to understand his character unless he’s as cool or cold towards others as his aquamarine peepers!
In ROADBLOCKS AND INSPIRATION, she quotes Jodi Picoult, “who trained herself to grab even 10 minutes at the computer when her three kids were all under the age of 4.” The novelist says, “Writer’s block is for people who have the luxury of time.”
GETTING PUBLISHED is also too glib regarding the ease of publication for novice or professional. “Slush Pile (from which Twilight had luck) or not, your job is to keep writing and to keep your manuscripts circulating. If you know what an editor is looking for and then deliver it, your work will always stand out.”
What writer wouldn’t like to believe this to optimistically and blithely keep sending out work, snail mail preferred (according to the editor) to the tune of what must be $400. a month now. In my day, forty years ago I spent $200. a month on same. Perhaps, the main complaint with this excellent guide book is the absence of truth regarding publication.
Somewhere in the last section of the reference tool should have been mentioned the plethora of self-produced books in the last decade or more. This is due to the ease of publishing that exists via computers with many reputable presses, including Kindred Spirit. Most writers have weighed the decision, i.e. continued wasted postage and long waiting vs. publication and instant gratification regarding a book of poems, stories or a novel.
However, I do believe one should struggle for a short period, maybe a year with the editor’s recommended methods before launching your own work into the public arena and only after consulting some reputable readers who are not family members though they might be friends.
Otherwise, this veteran recommends the veteran editor’s book to everyone who seeks succinct and serious advice regarding writing fiction and publishing as well, hopefully not with the big commercial magazines in mind as they are now fewer than small press.
reviewed by Rochelle Lynn Holt


Can’t writing be a hobby, just pleasure?
Must writers become artists to prevail?
In these times, one can self-produce to share.

Not everyone requires fame, for sure.
In truth and in fact, most books rarely sail.
Can’t writing be a hobby, just pleasure?

In dire days only certain authors endure;
See, Alice Hoffman, Shreve, Picoult don’t fail.
In these times, one can self-produce to share.

Few magazines publish literature;
so many writers miss hammering nail.
Can’t writing be a hobby, just pleasure?

Reading and writing both offer cure
to philosophical struggles that ail.
In these times, one can self-produce to share.

Still, masses like fish reach for dangling lure
when manuscripts end up frozen in pail.
Can’t writing be a hobby, just pleasure?
In these times, one can self-produce to share.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Autograph Letter, signed ("Anaïs"), to Robert Kirsch of the Los Angeles Times

Not sure this offering is still current, but will post for the interest of the copy.

Thanks to Stephen Reigns for sending on this interesting link about a Nin Letter being sold on

Autograph Letter, signed ("Anaïs"), to Robert Kirsch of the Los Angeles Times


Nin writes to author and Los Angeles Times book critic Robert Kirsch, upset that after a favorable review of the first volume of her Diary, he has not responded to Volume II and seem to be ignoring her. Nin clearly craves his approval, and is distressed by his silence. The letter reads, "I am assuming you are still in Paris. I'm following an impulse to write to the man who wrote such a beautiful review of Diary One - I want only to remember that, as what followed baffled me - cancelled dinner, no real answer to my letter on the fate of Vol. II - You are too big a man to act capriciously or without reason. Yet I felt suddenly you did not wish for any friendliness. I made several entries in the Diary for you, first when I read your novel, then on some of your reviews, then on your lecture - at State College. Then I confessed my perplexity to Murrah Gattis who is so loyal to you and justified the eclipse as due to your over-burdened life. At Edelstein I offered you names and addresses of reliable underground sources, one a heroine who was my literary agent in France - Denyse Clairouin [French translator and member of the Resistance, killed by the Nazis] - Suddenly it seemed there was no contact. Are you or are you not a friend? Are you going to let Diary 3 fall into the hands of a psychotic girl who is no critic - If you disliked Volume II you are too honest not to say so. As Durrell wrote: 'everything depends on one's interpretation of silence' - Will the recent entry in the Diary be: Robert Kirsch, once a friend -" Kirsch did in fact write a favorable review of Volume II, which Nin did not see at the time of its publication. In Volume VII she includes a letter she wrote to Kirsch in 1969: "I was on a lecture tour when your review caught up to me - I was stunned as one is when one reaches the fulfillment of a wish and finds it suddenly granted beyond one's imagination. Of all things which have been said, written about the Diaries you wrote what has the deepest meaning for me -" Tall 8vo (12 5/8 x 6 in). 1 long page on air-mail mailer. Roughly cut at top edge, touching a few words of greeting and first line, else fine, in custom chemise. Bookseller Inventory # 248386

Monday, April 18, 2011

Kudos to Alexandra Johnson: Hidden Motives, Hidden Writers

We have wanted to mention The Hidden Writer: Diaries and The Creative Life by Alexandra Johnson for awhile, because of the chapter on Anais entitled "The Professionally Private Writer

"Inside the vestibule at 215 West Thirteenth Street, a row of doorbell, as tiny as the buttons on a woman's blouse, awaited callers"begins the chapter on Nin, who Johnson dubs the professionally private writer.

Johnson mentions that she worked at UCLA's University Research Library when researching the diaries of Nin and she expresses her thanks in the introduction to this little gem of a book on diaries and the creative life.

"My gratitude to the estate of Anais Nin, especially Gunther Stuhlmann. and to Rupert Pole. for his kindness in granting me access to still private material."

It is this still-private material that makes this tiny chapter both illuminating and painful. This site was started before certain facts were known and Johnson handles this sense of what it was like to read these diaries at the time those of us who founded this site experienced. Although I can't speak for Valerie Harms or Donna Ippolito, this account sums up my current feeling
about the Nin I both loved and respected. Although I no longer share my earlier illusions, I bless the connection and applaud Johnson's brave and astute analysis. Her work is psychologically attuned to the disappointment that the Diaries have brought to those who believed the "spirit" of the work. Johnson doesn't blame as much as just pull off veils. Nin's transparency was not real but her being that touched the young, still seems to touch them, and for this I suggest that we read and experience the diaries as "fiction". Kudos to Alexandra Johnson. My friend William Rossa Cole, years ago, when he introduced me to Frances Steloff at Gotham Book Mart, called me and fellow lovers of Nin " Ninnies" I fear he was too kind. We were ninnies, but thank goodness we saw other things in this bodhisattva of being. Alexandra Johnson outlines the mindset of the seventies ninnies.