mia loves henry miller
Letter 17 – Lusty Needs, Deep Desires, Puking in Portland, and the Henry Miller Book Made of Gold at Powell’s Bookstore
“When you are convinced all the exits are blocked, either you take to believing in miracles or you stand still like the hummingbird. The miracle is that the honey is always there, right under your nose, only you were too busy searching elsewhere to realize it. The worst is not death but being blind, blind to the fact that everything about life is in the nature of the miraculous.” –Henry Miller, Stand Still Like the Hummingbird
12/19/2011- 6:36 p.m.
Dear Henry Miller,
This past September, I travelled on Delta with Mr. B to Portland. Our schedules had previously been jammed with many other obligations, my art and his book deadlines – hardly having the opportunity to see each other over the past few weeks, prior to us leaving. I was anxious and excited to spend some quality time him, profoundly in need of good, dominant – submissive sex! We had planned this trip for months – to see Portland and indulge in a road trip when we arrived, by travelling by rental car on the beautiful pacific coast to Manzanita. We even thought about indulging our kinky side by booking an appointment with a sexy, beautiful Dominatrix, when we returned from the coast and were in the city. It was something we’d looked forward to for many weeks. We had travelled to Portland, before, a couple years prior, and really enjoyed it. We had a very erotic time which I will soon write about.
For days, I erotically dreamed of succumbing to extreme submission to Mr. B – I wanted to be bound to our quaint, simple hotel bed, in our cozy room near the ocean – My naked body vulnerable, defenseless, teased, tormented, and satiated for the entirety of our days in Oregon. I felt a deep desire to escape from my recent weeks of stress. I sought great pleasure fantasizing about being entirely submissive – to completely let go, every night, prior to drifting off to sleep, days before we departed Minneapolis. I needed it like a potent drug flowing through my veins. I had been working so hard with my painting and my burlesque shows – I wanted to feel the sublime sensation of bittersweet acquiescence.
“So, whether the world is going to pieces or not, whether you are on the side of the angels or the devil himself, take life for what it is, have fun, spread joy and confusion.” –Henry Miller, Sextet
My trip didn’t go as planned – I got really sick after we landed in Portland – Mr. B and I got into a fight near the end of our trip – I felt very lost and confused during this time about so many things – my family, my art career, my burlesque show, as well as with my, “at a stand – still,” writing career, and balancing two relationships in my life. My body was tired, my emotions drained, my immune system weak. And, I felt sick as a dog with the fucking flu! I was having a terrible time! Sometimes life is definitely not what I expect.
We did share some good times on the misty, gloomy coast. It was raining intermittently. I was grateful that the severity of the flu only lasted a little over 24 hours. We walked the cold, brown, sugary, sandy coastline, searching for sea shells – we ate salads, warm bread and butter and delicious, hot, creamy clam chowder in Seaside, where we also shopped for candy, souvenirs and trinkets. We managed, regardless of my weakened state, to have much tamer sex than I initially anticipated and day dreamed of only days before, in Manzanita by the flickering flames in the fireplace. And, we took a fabulous scenic drive to Tillamook, after breakfast in Nehalem.
I wrote a few letters to you, Henry, while I was there, and after I arrived home, to help me regain my balance – to purge myself of so many toxic emotions, which I brought home with me, as if ugly unwanted, gaudy, heavy baubles. I am going to paste a few of them into this email.
September 16, 2011
Dear Henry Miller,
I arrived in Portland today. I only had a few hours sleep before we had to be at the airport. I had been working around the clock for the past few weeks, getting ready for an art show. It’s close to Halloween. The theme for the art show was, A Night of Art and Poetry. I had a strong desire to illustrate a poem I wrote many years ago, based upon Edgar Allan Poe’s Tell Tale Heart. There were so many details to the six illustrations which accompany the poem. I worked hard and diligently on this tedious series. I felt bad that I wasn’t going to be able to attend the art event, due to my trip to Portland. I’m fortunate that Mr. C, his son, and my son’s fiancé are attending, to represent me. I’m lucky to have such a wonderful family!
Tell Tale Me a POEm
Hell’s blood hounds hailed a man one night
A mad man with a nervous twitch so slight
Obsession tormented in his insane brain.
His boarder was peculiar and queer
Possessed with an eye that instilled a shiver of fear
Until a deep echoed blood stain remained.
He loved an old man who bid him no harm
However, ’twas his gruesome eye that did so alarm
His blood ran cold when his eyes did see.
Insanity trickled the mad man’s veins
Subduing a strange sensation of panic and pain
Whenever that vulture eye was staring back at thee.
When the clock struck twelve for seven nights
The mad man poked in his head with a dim lantern light
Into the room of the old man with the vulture eye.
Each morning when the new day broke
The mad man to the old man spoke
“How did you survive the night?”
Upon the eighth, starlit night
The midnight air was chilled with fright
Ever so cautiously the mad man entered the old man’s room
‘Twas the right twilight
The mad man had planned for seven long nights
He would be rid of that mind chilling eye real soon.
A twitch and cold quiver
The old man felt a stalked shiver
The mad man moved steadily through the blanket of dark
The old man sprang up in bed,
“Who’s there?” He cried out in dread
But he could only hear the loud beatings in his fearful heart.
For an hour the two remained very still
Both of them kept silent their whispers of will
Neither of them made a move in the thick, eerie night
The old man could feel that Death stood very near
In the darkness he waited in fear
Until the mad man released a glimmer of lantern light.
It was open-extremely wide open
No words spoken
A ray of light hit upon the old man’s vulture eye
Chilled bones by a dull blue hue
The vulture eye was in his view
It was open-open wide!
Thump, thump, thumpety, thump
The old man’s heart did jump
Louder and louder – his heart pierced the velvet dark
Beat by beat
The mad man’s ears did meet
The sound of terror beating in the old man’s heart.
The mad man could take no more
He pulled the old man to the floor
Until the heart fluttered no more sound.
Heavy like lead
The old man was now dead
Stone cold he laid a victim upon the ground.
Pleased with his reaction
The mad man smiled with satisfaction
The old man’s eye could bother him no more
Dismembered in severed pieces
The horror of this poem increases
Now the mad man buries him under the floor.
The night waxed and waned
Until no more blood spot stains
A tub had caught it all-Ha! ha!
Upon the wee morning hour of four
There was an unexpected knock on the door
A shriek had been heard by a neighbor -Ah ha!
He opened the door with a light heart
Painting on the face of an angel, like art
He simply smiled, for he had nothing to fear.
He stood in the doorway smiling
A dashing one so beguiling
But nothing about him showed the officers anything queer.
“Sorry officers I was just dreaming.”
He told them, “It was I in the night that was screaming.
It’s just me here – the old man has left the country.
If you’d feel more comfortable within
Please be my guest and step on in
Come on in, and take a look for yourself and see.”
He took the officers all over the house
Nothing revealed – not even a mouse
He bade them to search-search well
He brought chairs into the room
Placed them over the veiled bloodshed and doom
In the old man’s chambers – where death had previously fell.
The mad man placed his chair above the very spot
Confident he wouldn’t get caught
The officers were satisfied – his manner convinced them
Nervously he chattered away
His thoughts pulling every which way
A colloquy of guilt and of sin.
During the course of small chatter
He heard a faint hearted patter
His face grew pale – he wished them to suddenly be gone
His head throbbed with an ache
His ears rang with a thumpety clank
Something awful was going wrong.
The noise was not in his mind
The mad man began to soon realize
The daunting sound was coming from the floor
Oh God what could he do?
Would someone connect the dots of the clues?
Deep within his mind – he foamed – he raved – he swore.
It was a mockery of horror!
A distinct sound beneath the planked floor
Did they suspect? Did they know?
It grew louder – louder – and louder!
Until he could bear those deceptive smiles no longer
Of course they heard the haunted echoes in his soul.
Spinning round and round
In the mad man’s mind he heard the sound
The thumping beneath the floor board parts
“It was I! I admit the deed!”
The mad man admitted; he shrieked
Tear up the planks! here! – It’s the beating of the old man’s heart.
Today, my hands ache very badly! My finger tips are so numb from working with Sharpie pens and Prisma Color markers for so many nights, days, weeks, hours! My wrists are weak – every inch of my body is bombarded by aches and pains, from hovering over a small drafting table for endless hours, night and day. I’m staying in a quaint hotel on the Oregon coast in Manzanita. It’s grey, chilly, damp and cloudy here, reminding me of Portland Maine in the fall. I have an incessant cough. I’m feverish with the chills. I’m nauseated. I’m miserable! Mr. B’s sitting at the small, round, table. He has to work on his book – an approaching deadline. I’m going to sleep. I hate feeling sick! This is not a fun way to spend my time here! I must rest. I will write soon.
(I’m only going to post a few lines or paragraphs from this next letter – it was long – much too wordy – this letter may seem fragmented)
September 17, 2011
Dear Henry Miller,
I was so sick last night! It isn’t very sexy to puke when you are in a hotel with not much bathroom privacy and good sound proofing. Although, I felt fortunate and consoled that Mr. B held my hair back while I wretched my freakin’ guts out. I’m sure it wasn’t a pretty sight. I felt so embarrassed! Afterwards, he wrapped his arms around me, closely snuggled together in bed, until my chills subsided and my fever broke. It was like I was a little girl again, embraced by Mr. B’s paternal comfort – it was a very nice, intimate moment with him – one of the positives of this trip.
I felt a little better when I awoke this morning. We went to Wanda’s in Nehalem. I love that cafe, because it’s so retro in style, filled with so many vintage knick knacks and classic creativity. It’s truly unique. They’ve even transformed vintage televisions into fish tanks and an electric fireplace. The nausea I experienced yesterday has subsided quite a bit. I was able to eat scrambled eggs, 3 thick strips of hearty, crispy bacon, and part of a cinnamon raisin bagel. Everything tasted so good. I was hungry! Afterwards, we drove around the rainy coast for awhile. The scenery reminds me so much of Big Sur, California, only the landscape is thicker, greener – there’s much more lushness. Because the Portland coast reminds me so much of Big Sur, it reminds me of you, Henry. You are always on my mind – more so today, because of my memories of Big Sur. I can no longer put off writing letters to you. Many words and sentences sit on the edge of my soul, a waiting for my fingers to dance over my computer keyboard, as if Mozart playing the piano.
I’m going to keep this letter short. I’m still not feeling the best. I need to sleep some more. I have a horrible cough. My nose is stuffy. I feel exhausted.
“From the beginning it was never anything but chaos; it was a fluid which enveloped me, which I breathed in through the gills.” –Henry Miller, Tropic of Cancer, 1939
September 18, 2011
Dear Henry Miller,
I’m feeling better than yesterday. I still have an awful cough and runny nose. I feel so unsexy! We are now in the city of Portland, at the Ace Hotel, which reminds me of the Chelsea and the Gershwin Hotel in NYC. Mr. B has a meeting in the morning with an editor from Tin Book Publishing. Our hotel room is very artsy. There is a black stenciled mural on one of the walls of a magician pulling a rabbit out of a hat. I like it! The bed kind of sucks. There is no bounce to it, or even a place to kinkily bind my ankles and wrists to – so disappointing. It’s a single mattress on the floor, with a scratchy, wool blanket with the Ace Logo on it. Our hotel room is very artistic and unique, but definitely not sensual. The bed reminds me of when I was younger and would sleep on the floor next to my Korean grandmother, when she visited.
Our hotel room is decorated ingeniously, very simply, with vintage, wooden boxes and crates for end tables, an antique record player and records, and silver, metal lights one might see in their father’s basement workshop. Thick, dark grey curtains, one might see in a hospital emergency room are used as walls to separate the bathroom from the rest of the hotel room. Which I thought sucked when you had to barf and you didn’t want your lover to hear you! My favorite part is the deep, claw foot tub! I cannot wait to soak my chilled body in it! I really like this room, regardless of the bed. I think it would be amazing to have the opportunity to be able to paint a mural on one of walls inside another one of the hotel rooms here at the Ace! I think it would be fun!
September 19, 2011
Dear Henry Miller,
I spent the morning and early afternoon alone in Portland. Mr. B had to meet with his publishers. The streets are filled with a myriad of pan handlers. I have given away at least ten dollars in change and about four cigarettes. I’m such an empathic sap or a stupid fool! Nonetheless, I like to give, even if the huge amount of beggars can be annoying.
I felt empty and alone as I walked the city streets. I think I’m feeling low because I’m not feeling the best and I haven’t quite recovered from working on so much art before we left for Portland. Last night we went to Powell’s bookstore, after eating gelato nearby. I always visit Powell’s whenever I am here. I found this rare book of yours in the locked, rare book room, behind glass, on the top level – a very large addition of Insomnia – and a very expensive book! I thought to myself when I saw the price, “My fucking God! It must be made out of gold!” My good friend, Mr. D had given me a first edition copy as a gift – a few years ago. But, this copy was more tantalizing to my heart and soul. Only twenty copies were made. There are many, large prints of your art work inside it, unattached to the book, which delighted me, making my head so dizzy with infatuation when I touched and viewed them. Your handwritten book is so beautifully wrapped in elegant, ornate fabric. I don’t think that I have ever wanted something so much in my life! This book makes my heart race with excitement and drool with deep desire! I am infatuated beyond extremes! This wasn’t a three or four hundred dollar book – this was $2, 800, 00. I wanted to puke when I saw the amount. I know that I shouldn’t be so attached to a material item!
Why do I have such a deep fixation on you, Mr. Henry Miller? Do you know what I can buy with 2,800.00? Do you know how many burlesque shows I could produce? How many costumes I could get? The magic tricks I could have? Yet, my mind and heart deeply desires that fucking, beautiful, rare book!
I must end my letter. Mr. B and I are going out to dinner. His birthday is coming up soon. I want us to go somewhere special. I bought him a rare book at Powell’s for his birthday – a fourth printing of Nabokov’s Lolita, published in two books – two parts. I hope he likes it!
“I am alone and working like a slave….Am I coming into my own? I think not. I am a very wretched, forlorn, miserable person.” –Henry Miller, Tropic of Capricorn
September 21, 2011
Dear Henry Miller,
I’ve been crying all night. Mr. B and I fought most of it. However, we had enjoyed a very nice day together, before everything went wrong. We toured the Japanese gardens. I was enamored with the beauty and positive energy I felt. I have never witnessed something so amazing, serene, exquisite, and so breathtaking! However, my allergies were crazy mad, due to the pollen, thick and heavy on the tall, spiraling pine trees, surrounding the garden areas. By the time we got to our cheap hotel near the airport, I was exhausted and crabby. I fell asleep on the crappy hotel bed for several hours. When I woke up, Mr. B wanted sex, urging me to fuck him. I wasn’t in the mood, which escalated into a fight. How could I not be in the mood? What the Hell was wrong with me? I hate to fight with anyone – especially people who are close to me!
I was heartbroken by the time our plane landed in Saint Paul. We had resolved things, but the sadness still echoed inside both of us when we said, “goodbye,” then departed. It was nice to see my husband when I arrived in the Twin Cities. Mr. C was waiting patiently for me at the airport. His warmth flooded over me, heating up the chill in my bones and the coldness in my heart. His embrace comforted me in a way that I desperately needed. He could tell that I was upset. I don’t think I had ever felt so lost before. I told him about the fight I had with Mr. B. I also told him that I thought that my horrible mood was triggered by not feeling well, my disappointment for feeling so sick on this trip, and the exhaustion I felt from rushing to complete all of the art work before I left for Portland. I worked up until just a few hours before I needed to catch my plane. I did not sleep a wink before Mr. C took me to the airport.
I always experience an emotional landslide after getting ready for art exhibits. My moods plummet when I get sick as well. I masochistically work around the clock for many days prior to an exhibit – barely sleeping – barely eating. And soon after, I emotionally crash – feeling like a mad woman with insane PMS. Defeating, pessimistic questions dance with doom inside my head. “Will I ever make it as a successful, financially stable artist? Or, will all my creations remain in a spare bedroom collecting dust?” I know deep in my soul that being an artist is my path. I know that creating art is one of my utmost passions in life. It gives me joy. I breathe art minute by minute, each day of my life, for the past ten years. Creativity in some form has been a part of me all of my life. The journey has been long – so very long – I’m exhausted! I’m desperately seeking guidance and direction.
“In my short life I’ve experienced the two tidal impulses: I’ve known evolution and involution, and stalemate and paralysis, and despair and ecstasy. What I thought was courage I’ve seen later was cowardice, and visa versa. I’ve had to learn to distinguish between hope and desire, between prayer and communion. Every time I finish a book I realize that nothing is finished, that the book is not important but writing itself, and not even writing, but expression, which can be on any plane. When I speak of ceding everything to the enemy I am thinking not only of pride, possessions, place, prestige, but all the evidence of creation. I don’t wish to be attached to anything I’ve created any more than to a home, a country, an idea, or a memory. The act was important, not the product of the act. To become more and more creative is to become more and more detached, free, flexible, alive, to burst with life – that is my goal. Anything which must be defended is a fetter, only arrests the flow. No situation can be ignominious if one is detached.” –Henry Miller, Hamlet Letters
Mr. B and I did manage to have pretty good sex when we were at the Ace Hotel. It wasn’t super explosive. But, toe curling – erotic, semi -ecstatic. My mood and erotic energy was off, from feeling so weak and ill over the past few days. I was hoping that the sex would snap me out of it. It generally works when I am in physical pain.
One of my favorite parts of this trip was touring the Japanese Garden. I remember the area where they raked white sand in a large area – how the energy dramatically changed – elevating my spirit – making me feel at ease, heightened, and at peace. I felt calm, centered. The garden was absolutely stunning. So were the pretty, Asian women working here. It was difficult not to stare at them with lust filled eyes.
The sales clerks at Powell’s must have thought I was an overly obsessive Henry Miller nut. I was madly, deeply, obsessed with that book made of gold! I had them unlock the rare book section, three times, while I was in Portland, just to fall in love with the beautiful pages of your book and paintings. If there truly is a Santa…which is so childish and foolish of me to think…But…what the Hell…. please! please! please! Drop that gift wrapped book, cushioned carefully with bubble wrap, down my chimney on Christmas Eve. I promise to be good!!! Well…sort of…in a naughty sort of way. 😉
Good night Henry!
“We live in an age when art and the thing of the spirit come last. The truth still holds, however, that through dedication and devotion one achieves another kind of victory. I mean the ability to overcome one’s problems, not meet them head on.” –Henry Miller, Big Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymus Bosch.