Anais Nin

When in Paris...
Gaya Lynn 

“There is never any ending to Paris and the memory of each person who has lived in it differs from that of any other. We always returned to it no matter who we were or how it was changed or with what difficulties, or ease, it could be reached. Paris was always worth it and you received return for whatever you brought to it. But this is how Paris was in the early days when we were very poor and very happy.” 
Hemingway- A Moveable Feast 

When I was about twenty-eight, I went to live Paris for a few months. Back then, my goals were clear: I wanted to walk the same streets that Hemingway and Fitzgerald once did, visit the home of famed writer Anais Nin,  pick up some French words along the way,  and if possible, perhaps fall in love with a French man, someone who resembled Alain Delon. (I did everything except for the French homme).  After I moved into an apartment near the Jardin du Luxembourg along with my roommates (two American ladies),  I immediately unpacked and began to explore this enchanted city. Within days, I was enjoying my Parisian life while eating
croissants and fresh-baked bread (I did not have a weight problem back then), and writing in a thick notebook that I carried with me everywhere.

At night, I slept on the couch while my roomies  stayed in a second room. I am a light sleeper, and being so afraid of sleeping next to someone who snores, I always slept as far away from another human being as possible. (Ironically,  I am married to a man who who snores..)

My roommates were kind and lovely. One gal Lucy* was tall and skinny and wore glasses. Her main desire was to fall in love with a French gentleman. Eventually, this quiet unassuming young lady did just that. After a few days of walking around Paris with a big backpack, she met a young man (who was quite good-looking ) and fell in love.

I remember how this rather quiet young lady went from being somewhat shy to this vibrant talkative woman in love.  Back then, she took poetry classes with me, and the last I heard from her, she had become a successful and talented writer for television shows. I do not know what happened to the French lover though;  for all I know, she could be married to him, living together along the Seine. (hey, if you read this, and are "Lucy" write me  and let me know)

My other roommate was this exotic beauty who worked as an erotic dancer in Honolulu. Half Chinese and English, May* had long black hair, big brown eyes, and a curvy figure one could clearly see in her tight blue jeans and low cut shirts.  Needless to say, she was difficult to walk around with.  Men loved and followed her around (I became her bodyguard of sorts), and whenever she took one of the lucky guys home,  I was "politely" asked to take a hike. I can't recall May's real name,  but I do remember how she would flip her bangs up and gaze into the eyes of the men. She was quite a dancer, (: and every time, we went to the disco, she would squat down on her heals. Every time. It never failed. Indeed, she would create a stir with her squat.  I often feared she would fall back, but she was a true pro. Only once, when we were dancing around a group of teens who were much younger than us, did her squat fail to create any sort of reaction. While the boys looked at her for a second and then turn around without even so much as a smile,   I am sure poor May wanted to stay down on the floor and crawl under a table that night.

May,  though lovely, however, was not the best student: she never went to any of the classes she signed up for and preferred to sleep in. We had a wonderful time together, and often we went jogging at night. Once, we jogged for miles and reached the Eiffel Tower.  Tired, we then got lost (no GPS back then). When we finally found our way back home at one in the morning, she was as pissed off as a cat who had to take a bath.  She kept mumbling and grumbling about how odd it was we got lost and was in such a cross mood,  I doubt even someone as dashing Raphaël Personnaz would, at that moment,  elicit one of her famous hair tosses or squats.

During that time, I also hung out with a man from England named Rick*. He had thin body, glasses and pretty eyes. He was married but came to Paris for a month just to write. He and some other students would often tease me because I often fell asleep in class and didn't think anyone noticed. Rick had a soft spoken voice and we often went to read our poetry at night at the famous Shakespeare and Co. (I doubt if I would be as brazen as I was back then), and talked about the days of Hemingway and Fitzgerald.
Rick was about probably the same age I am now while he seemed ready just like Lucy for a juicy fling.

I too wanted love, but love would have to wait, because what I really wanted to do was visit the home of Anais Nin. In my twenties, I was completely enthralled with the works of the famed diarist and writer Anais Nin. A friend introduced me to her writing when I was sixteen, and gave me her book "Little Birds." I then began reading about her life, her marriage to Hugo, her little brother, and her love affair with Henry Miller. I do not know what took over me but soon, I was obsessed and I wanted to read everything of hers.

Being in Paris, I decided to visit the home where she once resided along with her husband, Hugo.  I then told Rick what I wanted to do, and he said he wanted to go with me. We then boarded the train to Louveciennes where she once resided. During the trip, I fell asleep to no one's surprise,  and awoke a few minutes before we arrived.

After looking at a map, we decided to go to the library and ask for better directions.  The town of Louveciennes was lovely and upscale with large sweeping estates and big yards.  The librarian was not overly eager to help us as she must have encountered a few dozen Anais Nin fans over the years. She told us curtly where the house was while this woman's face only brightened when a man behind us came up to her. He must have been a good patron of the library or someone she had a crush on because she began to smile and become giddy.

Rick and I walked up the road and saw Anais' home. It was behind gates and looked like a beautiful but forgotten estate. No one was there to care for it. It felt sad and abandoned. I do not know if the estate has since been sold but back, years ago, it was empty. At first, I,  who had always felt that Anais' spirit had visited me, thought that I would have been flooded by a wave of feelings and emotions. Instead, I felt only the cold iron bars and the cold breeze. It was very quiet and I remember Rick saying "Must have been beautiful at one time."

I nodded, feeling sad. Anais wasn't there anymore. Nor was Hugo,  Henry or June. But though she had passed, fortunate for us, her worked lived on.  The benefits of being a writer. You just never die.

Rick and I then headed back to the train where he had to leave me.  I decided to stay for a few more hours but sly ole' Rick had a date, un rendez-vous. No Doubt, Rick was a nice looking gentleman, but he was no Alain Delon. I had met the object of his heart, a young lady a few days before. His "amie" was a quiet French lady in her early thirties who somehow knew one of our French teachers. She liked Rick a lot. And well, in return,
Rick had hit the jackpot. His lover was curvaceous,  had a pretty face and was much younger. The two were soon enthralled in this love affair that seemed oh so French.

I wished him well and then proceeded to go a bookstore. It was quite chilly that day even though it was late summer. I went throughout the bookstore feeling somewhat disappointed about not being able to see the spirit of Anais or see a vibrant estate that paid the proper tribute to its previous owner.  I also was the only one who had not met someone French and fallen in love. Suddenly, I began to feel lonely. I was there in Paris alone with a book, and perhaps the ghost of woman. What I did not realize was that I was already in love. A love far richer than any fling. A love for words, and books and writing. But right there and then, I wanted my Alain Delon.

In the bookstore, there were several large wooden tables with books on top of them, and then while passing one, a book literarily flung off and landed at my feet. I stopped and almost instinctively knew who the author of this magical book would be. I looked down and picked up the book. To my amazement, it was a diary of Anais Nin. I then turned around, wanting to share this synchronicity with someone, but there was no one around me.

Looking back at those wonderful few months in Paris, I realized a few important things. One, that my heart and soul are a lot smarter than I give them credit. And second, that somehow this group of Americans who came to Paris looking and yearning for something eventually found what they were looking for.  I found the "home" of Anais Nin while Lucy and Rick found the love and romance they were yearning for. It didn't matter if they were quiet and unassuming, when the heart is opened, and the intent is there, love will eventually its way.

As for the exotic beauty, I only know that on the day we had to stay goodbye, she cried more than any of us. I looked at her. Her mascara had smeared, and she suddenly seemed so young like a lost little girl. And it was then that I realized that apparently, she had wanting to stay with me where she felt so loved.

*All names have been changed in order conceal their identities and to cover up for my poor memory.

With a MFA in writing, Gaya has been writing professionally for the past ten years. She has written for many online sites and is currently a writer for a marketing firm. She lives with her husband, children and dogs and gives intuitive readings on the side. She is currently working on a book about her ten years care taking for her sister who suffered from a grave mental illness. She loves to learn languages and watches Kdramas religiously. 

She is in the process of developing a course for a local college about writing. 

If you are interested in an intuitive reading (her intuitive reading business will launch in May 2019) or would like to have her teach an online course about getting in touch with your soul through writing,  please contact her at