Artist Resources

Daily Inspiration: Anais Nin Talks Changing Course

“One word I would banish from the dictionary is ‘escape.’ Just banish that and you’ll be fine. Because that word has been misused regarding anybody who wanted to move away from a certain spot and wanted to grow. He was an escapist. You know if you forget that word you will have a much easier time. Also you’re in the prime, the beginning of your life; you should experiment with everything, try everything…. We are taught all these dichotomies, and I only learned later that they could work in harmony. We have created false dichotomies; we create false ambivalences, and very painful one’s sometimes -the feeling that we have to choose. But I think at one point we finally realize, sometimes subconsciously, whether or not we are really fitted for what we try and if it’s what we want to do.

You have a right to experiment with your life. You will make mistakes. And they are right too. No, I think there was too rigid a pattern. You came out of an education and are supposed to know your vocation. Your vocation is fixed, and maybe ten years later you find you are not a teacher anymore or you’re not a painter anymore. It may happen. It has happened. I mean Gauguin decided at a certain point he wasn’t a banker anymore; he was a painter. And so he walked away from banking. I think we have a right to change course. But society is the one that keeps demanding that we fit in and not disturb things. They would like you to fit in right away so that things work now.”

Anaïs Nin is considered a cornerstone thinker of feminist literature from the last 100 years. She is well known for her tremendous diary writing and letter writing endeavours which helped shape feminist critique. Nin lived a bohemian life with Henry Miller in Paris during the 1930s and famously managed to leave literally any mention of her husband out of her diaries and letters during this period (deliberately of course. Weird, but deliberate). She had many creative friends and collaborators and starred in experimental filmmaker Kenneth Anger’s film “Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome.” She makes an interesting observation in her journals about the need to change course when it calls for it, and points out how society has often favoured fitting in, over getting things right for yourself. Anaïs Nin is a total boss in our book.

"Where I Fit In" by JMFenner