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Tuesday, February 21, 2023

'The role of a writer'

“The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say.” – Anais Nin


Born in France on this date in 1903, Nin gravitated to writing at a very early age and started keeping detailed journals at the age of 11.  She didn’t stop until more than 60 years later at the time of her death, and much of what she kept in them became the basis for her long and impressive writing career.


Over her lifetime she wrote everything from essays to novels, critical studies and short stories.  But in the judgment of both herself and scholars are those diaries and journals, which provide a deeply explorative insight into her personal life and relationships. “My ideas,” she once said, “usually come not at my desk writing but in the midst of living.” 


And, of course, she wrote down daily about the life that she lived.  


Shortly before her 1977 death, she was asked what should be the motivating factor for someone seeking to make a life as a writer.  "If you do not breathe through writing, if you do not cry out in writing, or sing in writing," she said, "then don't write because our culture has no use for it."


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