Saturday, May 11, 2013

His Night In London With Anais Nin

“It’s always nice to wake up and see a photo of Anais Nin... It goes well with coffee.” I wrote this to my good friend Ellis Amburn after he posted a photo of her on my timeline in the wee hours of the morning. If you’re a writer you know these hours well…


Ironically, I’d just finished reading, Under A Glass Bell by Anais the previous day... I've been reading a lot of Nin’s work lately... So I found it interesting that Ellis sent me a photo of her… 


Ellis is a great writer and is among good company as a writer of Florida. Folks like Janis Owens, Ernest Hemingway, Harry Crews, Marjory Kinnon Rawlings, and Donn Pearce to name a few… A group used to pouring out every ounce of energy through the scratch of a pen, all while blanketed by the thick humidity of the day falling into night.


Along with being a writer, Ellis was Jack Kerouac’s editor… He has had many encounters with Hollywood types and other famous writers. So, naturally when we have lunch together or talk on the phone my eyes are wide and my mind eagerly awaits stories from his past. People he has run across in his lifetime,  like my first crush as a kid, Kim Novack. It was a surreal moment to be talking to him about her. Shelley Winters, May West, and of course Anais Nin were also topics of conversation…


So, I thought it would be fun to ask Ellis questions about a dinner he once had with Anais for my blog… Cool stuff, like did she still have an accent when she talked? Or did she wear perfume? Was it the kind a poet like her would wear?  Did her eyes pin him with a gaze that made him forget all about his dinner?


Ellis, being gracious as he always is, took the time to tell the tale of his time with Anais once again for my blog. He is a true wealth of knowledge and life experiences few only dream of… 


Here is his night in London with Anais Nin


Hi, Jason. Here goes: Anais Nin was as gentle and beguiling as a butterfly, enhancing and endorsing rather than challenging. I could see at once, when she greeted me at the door of her London townhouse, why men like Henry Miller had fallen in love with her. Without smiling, she had an expression that took you into account as a human being and specifically as a man, making you feel not only accepted but original and . . . tall. Her voice was soft, matter-of-fact yet friendly, her touch firm, letting you know she was yours for a moment. I don't recall any perfume other than the metaphoric one--congeniality--surrounding her and the subdued, elegant party she was hosting. And hosting well: She introduced me to two of her guests I would never forget. Young Christopher Reeve, who was in London shooting "Superman" but loved talking literature, and Luise Rainer, who had won two best-actress Oscars but wanted to discuss (and evoke) the horror of Kent State, which had just happened. "Oh, you poor, poor thing," she said, oozing geuine compassion, when I told her I was an American. What a contrast between the two women--Luise, as intense as she'd been in her famous phone scene in "The Great Ziegfeld" when she said, "Oh, Flo," and Anais, exuding serenity. Both lovely in radically different ways. That's for your blog, my friend, and have a wonderful day.


  1. I love Ellis Amburn. A more gracious or generous man never laced a shoe.

  2. What a joy to learn this new story of my believed Anais. "I love the abstract, delicate, profound, vague, voluptuously wordless sensation of living ecstatically." ~she wrote to Henry Miller, and it sticks in my memory like a tattoo. I am sure you will enjoy my Nin blog -