The Art of Giving: Lana’s Anaïs Weekly (7)

Posted by: on Apr 13, 2016 | No Comments

Anais-Nin“I’m hellishly lonely. What I need is someone who could give me what I give Henry: this constant attentiveness. I read every page he writes, I follow up his reading, I answer his letters, I listen to him, I remember all he says, I write about him, I make him gifts, I protect him, I am ready at any moment to give up anybody for him, I follow his thoughts, enter into his plans — passionate, maternal, intellectual watchfulness.

“He. He cannot do this. Nobody can. Nobody knows how. It is an art, a gift.”

–Anaïs Nin in Incest: The Unexpurgated Diary of Anais Nin 1932 – 1934

Isn’t this just the way with those of us who give, give, give? I feel like I’ve spent my life working on boundaries — figuring out when to give with glorious commitment and when to say no, when to stop and look after myself. There are many great books about learning to say no, but one thing I’ve rarely been told is that giving is an art.

'Love Will Come' appears in A Cafe in Space vol. 13 ed. Paul Herron:

Read more from Lana on Anais Nin in “A Cafe in Space vol. 13” ed. Paul Herron

Anaïs knew this, however, and tells us freely. In the diary entry I’ve quoted from, she quickly finds a way to pull herself out of the bleak mood she feels when she recognizes the lack of reciprocity…and she does so by rushing out and buying the best feather pillow for Henry! I love that. She shows us that the art of giving can be a burden but also a healing joy when we give because we truly want to, because it makes us feel good, because it is us being artists, creators.

Anaïs gave a lot. Too much? I can’t judge that. But she also knew a lot about giving. And I’m excited to read Trapeze and see how she juggled her art of giving to two husbands on two different coasts.

What a rich life. Thank you, Anaïs!

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