In this 1946 diary entry from Mirages: The Unexpurgated Diary of Anais Nin, 1939-1947, Nin discusses her complex relationship with—and unrequited love for—then 21-year-old novelist Gore Vidal.
February 25, 1946
Last night Gore came. After writing under the stimulus of benzedrine, he was depressed. I talked about analysis, had to confess I had been to [Dr. Clement] Staff because “I wanted to die.” Although Staff said if Gore were analyzed I would lose him, I want him free and strong. We aren’t lovers anyway, and what he wants is impossible to me, to live with me, to be close to me, possessively, emotionally, but to sleep with boys. When he takes me out he does not conceal his interest in boys. He wants me to share this. I get hurt, though I try to act cynically. He discusses them with me, undresses them, tells me how it will be: “This one will be too white, and he will want all sorts of things I don’t want. He will be complicated and make a scene. They do terrible things which I don’t do. My approach is entirely non-phallic.”
I tried then to know more. What does he mean? “I do the least of all, and I am glad when it is over.”
In the taxi he takes my hand and talks about our life together. Upon leaving me, he kisses my mouth. He moves me emotionally and erotically. Yet it can’t be, this life, but on the other hand, because he has power over my feelings, I can’t envisage not living near him at all. Curious. Mentally, he is full of aggression, thrust, directness, essentially active, not passive.
When I hear Gore’s voice over the telephone, I am so moved, and I want so much to be with him. I get lifted by yearning, as if I were going to melt into him again, then I awaken to reality and seek to quiet my feelings. I was afraid of this: frustrated in my élan towards Gore, my desire and feelings for Bill have reawakened.
The studio decorated with Hugo’s two new immense copper plates. The mattresses are taken off the beds, making four low oriental divans. I installed more lights, hired a flamenco guitarist. Guests brought their musical instruments and sang with great animation. Steve Heidrick is a handsome, suave, elegant young man who dances beautifully, who loves to dance with me. He dances clingingly, caressingly, with his brow against mine, cheeks touching. Gore saw us dancing often together, and although he doesn’t like to dance and does not dance well, he “cut in” and said, “I wanted to take you away—no more dancing with him.”
“Release me from my promise.”
“I will not. You are mine. You said you’d be mine for a year.”
Immediately his reaction is to seduce his rival. Steve is homosexual and wears the sign ring on his little finger. I love his active self, acting on impulse. Here, not out in the world, he becomes soft and gentle.
Though I have suffered tension while preparing for the party, once it was on I abandoned myself to the magic of it, and it became beautiful.
After I made Gore jealous, I melted with pity. He is young. I do not enjoy causing him anxiety.
The enormous labor, only four hours’ sleep, and cleaning the house this morning exhausted me. I spent the day in bed. Gore calls me. He has written a poem, which I help him sell to Harper’s Bazaar. He talks about my work to everyone. My responsive man. I say to him, “We teased each other last night, and I always get uneasy.”
“You shouldn’t.” (He has confidence in my love, the rascal.)
“But you can always read something in the diary to reassure you.”
“And you always get a poem, and that is even better.”
He asked me what I put on my nail polish to give all the colors a warm gleam. “Gold.”
“Like your writing,” he said.
This material is used by permission of Swallow Press, ohioswallow.com.