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The Opposite of Linear
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Anaïs Nin is the opposite of linear. She goes all over the place in her paragraphs, and all over the place in a single sentence. There is no sequence to anything, all her experiences and thoughts merge and are mixed up in a crazy collage.

Obviously she writes as she thinks: as a woman, and women do not think like men. Men are chained to logic, sequence, cause and effect. Women are more concerned with the opposite, whatever that might be, and actually I don't care because it seems somehow false, although I admit that's only because I'm not a woman.

I have feminine aspects to my personality, but not enough to embrace that kind of thinking, or that kind of writing.


Reading Anaïs makes me look down at her because she is so intentionally illogical and formless and lacking in a sure direction. Yet at the same time I feel that she's achieved a kind of liberation or transcendence. I can fully understand how fulfilling the act of writing her journal was for her.

Sometimes my description of the day's events brings me not liberation or transcendence but a vague dissatisfaction, because I know I have not fully captured what I see, like the creek at dawn this morning during my walk. Which is why I always carry a camera.

But that may be the journalist in me, whining that I didn't do a better job of journalism. Who, what, why, when, where, and how. You can never do enough in this respect because reality is infinitely elusive. You can capture only a fragment here and there.

Anaïs is absolved, or free of that responsibility.

My journalism can be measured, graded, ranked, or refuted because it can be compared to the event or scene or conversation I'm writing about. Anaïs escapes that because nobody can ever get inside her head to see if she's telling the truth about what she thinks or feels.

Fantasy!

I don't trust fantasy, I trust only what I can see, touch, smell, taste, hear.



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She can easily drive me nuts with her "meandering" (I may be female, but I too appreciate the linear/logical!) OTOH she's author of some really great quotes, one of which is my journal header :) For me, that probably comes from my scant-compared-to-your journalism background plus a penchant for nonfiction.


Edited at 2013-04-11 12:02 pm (UTC)

It occurs to me that the masculine tendency to favor linearity might actually be an ancient fear of treading on the unknown, or unknowable. Stuff that lurks in the shadows. And so forth!

If that's true, that debunks the stereotype of women always being fearful of the unknown and will "cling to their man" in times of uncertainty!

There's definitely a difference in thinking styles. My MIL, for example, can participate in X number of conversations at the same time while doing Y and supervising Z. She claims it comes from raising six children, and I agree with that, but she also has to have more of that Anais Nin-type "meandering" within her in order to navigate everything. It drives not only SO, but also his brothers AND his father nuts! Meanwhile, my SILs are just like my MIL in that respect...

Now that I think of it, when I would encounter a woman in a free-ranging discussion in which she would go from one thing to another totally disparate thing, and then still another without missing a breath, I'd think: wow, this gal is so friggin' scattered! And yet I was envious of her mental gymnastics, her great leaps.

i think it true there are different kiss of writing, and you can classify those different styles by identifying what side of the logical vs nonlogical binary they fall on, but i don't think its fair to either sex to say male = logical and female = nonlogical. thats a bery antiquated way of looking at it. youre more creative than that.

kinds* (writing fr phone, apologies)

At 71 it's quite natural for me to take an antiquated view of things (ha,ha,ha!), although my intent was not to claim that one type of writing/thinking was superior/inferior to the other. I've come to believe this society has a moral obligation to eliminate sexual discrimination or discrimination of all kinds, but at the same time I feel deep in my gut that the difference between men and women is profound and mysterious.






Never liked her; her writing is disgusting/disturbing.

I feel sheepish admitting that I've never read her stuff (despite knowing who she is), but I was nevertheless moved by your sentence:

Obviously she writes as she thinks: as a woman, and women do not think like men. Men are chained to logic, sequence, cause and effect. Women are more concerned with the opposite, whatever that might be, and actually I don't care because it seems somehow false, although I admit that's only because I'm not a woman.

That is just an extraordinary phrase; darkly beautiful, if there is such a thing.

Nice of you to say, thanks.

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