It has become a tradition that Anaïs Nin is my faithful travel companion. She goes with me through check-ins, to the beach, to the cafés, and even so I can’t always take the book out and read, I can feel her presence, I can share her joy for color, for sun, for life.
To this trip to Alexandria Eskhata I took “A literate passion. Letters of Anaïs Nin and Henry Miller 1932-1953”. A short description of Booklist says it all: “Frank, lyrical, impassioned,…the letters may disturb some with their intimacy, but they will impress others with their fragrant expression of devotion to art.”
I need to be disturbed right now: I am sitting at a hairdresser with carrot-colored hair, anxiously waiting for my turn, looking through the window at azure waters of the Kairokkum-Sea. As usual I open the book on a random page and it happens to be 187:
“Coirier’s Grand Hotel
Sunday, July2(3), 1933
Yesterday on the road there was a man pushing a wheelbarrow. On the wheelbarrow a barrel full of turquoise liquid. With a sprayer, he sprays the insecticide over the vines. The vines turn a blue-mauve-green tone. Beautiful. He also sprays the faces of the houses, incidentally, when there are vines over mouths of the houses. The spray falls back over him, so that his cap is turquoise colored, his shoulders, his neck, his hands. Turquoise! Can you imagine what pleasure to meet this turquoise-colored man, a barrel overflowing with the color, a wheelbarrow stained with it? The man who goes about painting the world! I have seen the world being painted, quietly, while the sun splashed. To paint the world, the vines, the houses, one’s self. I would like to come immediately and spray your moods turquoise. I will come to you splashed with sun. The man with the turquoise cap walks through my dreams. If he can paint the vines we thought everlastingly fixed in green, I can paint your moods, your butcher-red Clichy away.
I’m preparing a barrel full of joy, of drunkenness for you, of turquoise paint. I will splash it all over you, Monday night. Don’t write me any more forced letters. They disillusion me. Moods, I forgive and understand moods. I let them pass. Let things flow. When I return we will drink to the sun, (…), to the man with turquoise paint on his hands, to this act of painting vines which are growing, painting leaves which are trembling, painting moods which are drooping, living, pushing a barrel, walking, drinking sun.
As it happens I am too flying on Monday, leaving behind turquoise sea, cerulean sky, and carrot-colored hair. Other colors are waiting. Sienna, perhaps? Sienna is a name of a very charming art café I discovered recently in my short stopover in Riga. Anaïs Nin and Henry Miller would fit perfectly in: paintings by local artists hanging all over the walls, art books are scattered on the windowsills, tables, shelves filling space with bright images. Ancient silverware and fine china. Fragrant coffee and the finest tea brought from France. I had a nice conversation in French with the owner Liene Jelinska, a charming elegant young woman.