“In the beginning was the word, but for the Word to come forth there had first to be a separation of some kind. To detach itself from the bosom of creation there had to be a need, a human need. The word is always the reminder of a more perfect state, of a union or unity which is ineffable and indescribable. Creation is always difficult because it is an attempt to recover what is lost. To regain we must first feel abandoned.”
-Henry Miller, Letters To Anais Nin, Feb. 21, 1939 (Her 36th Birthday?)
“The greatest men in the world have passed away unknown. The Buddhas and the Christs that we know are but second-rate heroes in comparison with the greatest men of whom the world knows nothing. Hundreds of these unknown heroes have lived in every country working silently. Silently they live and silently they pass away; and in time their thoughts find expression in Buddhas or Christs; and it is these latter that become known to us. The highest men do not seek to get any name or fame from their knowledge. They leave their ideas to the world; they put forth no claims for themselves and establish no schools or systems in their name. Their whole nature shrinks from such a thing. They are the pure Sattvikas, who can never make any stir but only melt down in love.”
-Swami Vivekananda, from the preface/citation of Henry Miller, The Air-Conditioned Nightmare
“About a year ago, upon reading Tropic of Cancer, Ezra Pound wrote me a postcard in his usual Cabalistic style, asking me if I had ever thought about money, what makes it and how it gets that way. The truth is that until Mr. Pound put the question to me I had never really thought about the subject. Since then, however, I have thought about it night and day. The result of my meditations and lucubrations I now offer to the world in the shape of this little treatise which, if it does not settle the problem once and for all, may at least unsettle it.” -Henry Miller, Forward to Money and How It Gets That Way, Paris, November 1, 1936
“I would a thousand times rather be the most incorrigible convict than this hireling of those who are trying to maintain law and order. Law and order! Finally, when you see it staring at you through the barrel of a rifle, you know what it means. A bas puissance, justice, histoire! If society has to be protected by these inhuman monsters then to hell with society! If at the bottom of law and order there is only a man armed to the teeth, a man without a heart, without a conscience, then law and order are meaningless.” -Henry Miller, The Soul Of Anaesthesia, The Air-Conditioned Nightmare
“Admitting this, I nevertheless firmly believe that no world order, no world harmony, is possible until the artist assumes leadership. I mean by this that the artist in man must come to the fore, over against the patriot, the warrior, the diplomat, the fanatical idealist, the misguided revolutionary. It is not against the gods man must rebel–the gods are with him, if he but knew it!–but against his own mediocre, vulgar, blighted spirit.” -Henry Miller, When I Reach For My Revolver
Henry Miller’s 11 commandments for writing (that Tommi doesn’t live by).
- Work on one thing at a time until finished. (Too many things in head.)
- Start no more new books, add no more new material to ‘Black Spring.’ (When working on novel thinking about a play.)
- Don’t be nervous. Work calmly, joyously, recklessly on whatever is in hand. (The reckless part. Doesn’t that counter #1?)
- Work according to Program and not according to mood. Stop at the appointed time! (And what when you work according to a wine full of belly?)
- When you can’t create you can work. (Oh, now that makes sense.)
- Cement a little every day, rather than add new fertilizers. (Ok. A new definition of the word ‘cement’.)
- Keep human! See people, go places, drink if you feel like it. (How ’bout doing this without keeping human.)
- Don’t be a draught-horse! Work with pleasure only. (Then it would be called pleasure and not writing. Embrace the pain.)
- Discard the Program when you feel like it—but go back to it next day. Concentrate. Narrow down. Exclude. (Ok. Makes sense.)
- Forget the books you want to write. Think only of the book you are writing. (Same as #2. Come on Henry!)
- Write first and always. Painting, music, friends, cinema, all these come afterwards. (What if you can’t paint, have no friends and there is only AppleTV and no cinema anymore? Oh Henry.)
Stand Still Like The Hummingbird by Henry Miller
We’ve all been there. (I hope.) The moment where text is before you and you’re not sure what will come of it. So you read on and before you know it, what you read starts to drift off the edge of something and it all becomes a Dali painting. Happened to me all the time in school. All that industrial learning krapp that they put before my mind. You know how they say you have to find your voice? A voice for singing or preaching or forging steel? One also has to find his voice when it comes to writing–or as in my case–worst-writing. But I want to expand on that. Not only does one have to find his voice so that birds may sing but he also must do it in order to fill the mind. What voice will fill the mind? Finding the stuff that my mind wants me to read is just like finding a voice to sew the seeds of nevermore but not quite like Elvis sang. Which means that it would take a long time before I would find the voice required to make my mind (want to) read. But when I found her she was as grand as the repetitiveness of most forms of intercourse. Ah, desire. But leaving procreation aside. Henry Miller is the man. And this particular work of his proves that. A book of essays about life and what Henry thinks. And speaking of repetitiveness. I always foundHenry’s thick novels to be somewhat repetitive. That is not a criticism, I love them for it. They are brilliant but somehow similar. And on the seventh day he made it good. Nomatter. Henry’s cynical take on money from the essay “Money and How It Gets That Way” is wonderful. It should be required reading for bankers and politicians. Now there’s the ticket. Solve the world’s problem by making them read (study) Henry Miller.
Rant (and read) on.