My first exposure to Anais Nin was in the movie, Henry and June. My then-girlfriend and I were living in Santa Cruz, California, and going through a phase where we went to the local "artsy" theatre every week to see whatever the latest film was. I was enthralled, to say the least. Not only was the movie erotic and mysterious, but I was totally envious of Henry Miller's lifestyle and his relationship with Anais.

Ever since I saw that movie I have fantasized about living that hand-to-mouth, bohemian lifestyle that was Henry Miller's life, but I can never seem to summon up the nerve to take the chance. The closest I ever came was the time I got a free one-way ticket to San Francisco and I flew there from Detroit with only $10 in my pocket. But alas, I ended up staying with my ex-girlfriend for a couple of weeks, then with a friend of my sister in Orange County, and in the end I went back to Ann Arbor. So much for my plan to be a hippie living on the streets of San Fran. The thing is, once I got out there and really faced the prospect, it just didn't seem all that attractive anymore.

At any rate, I went on to read several other of Anais's books (erotica, such as Delta of Venus and Little Birds, as well as her journals) and I love them as much as I loved the personification of her in the film. Every time I pick up one of Anais's journals and read a few pages, I feel a flash of lust for life that comes rarely these days. I own a few of Henry Miller's books but I haven't found the will to indulge in more than a few snippets yet. His writing is powerful and dark, and reading it requires me to be in a fairly stable mood, which I rarely am.