Tag Archives: Anais Nin

Nick & Amy | Tricking the Narcissist

Gone-Girl-Gillian-Flynn** Spoiler Alert – Parts of the movie “Gone Girl” are described in the post below **

Nick and Amy. Amy and Nick. Who are they really? Characters in Gillian Flynns novel transformed into the sensational cinema hit “Gone Girl. Nick the malignant narcissist. Amy, his borderline sociopathic wifey.  The imperfect beautiful couple. I went down to Union Square, in NYC, to the Regal theatre located in the epicenter of the most plugged in center of the universe! I needed a distraction and, being a reading addict of the grossest proportions, read this gem 2 years ago, knew the plot line, and was curious to see the plot unfold in technicolor before my eyes. The theatre was packed,  jamming with 20, 30, 40, New York City hipsters , boomer, tourists, all eager to watch the suspenseful debacle unfold!

The book presented an attention grabbing dissection of two young married people fronting, posing, pretending ,ultimately unravelling, the energy of their toxic emotions exploding, their psychological dysfunction, their blatant narcissism, their empty souls spewing cinders of their crumbling relationship. Love gone wrong.

This film, portrays a scenario, where “WHO are you?” Is key. Nick thinks he knows his wife, but nothing could be further from the truth! While caught in his narcissistic web, Amy plots in full view his demise. She will not allow him to escape without paying for his dismissive, inattentive failure as her husband.

texts-about-gone-girl-movieThe seventies movie, ” Waiting  for Mr. Goodbar,” reminds  me of the neurotic interplay where you know the characters are dodging a mental minefield, a neurotic brainstorm, which could explode at any moment. Yet, they seem so charming, so friendly, so attractive! And it’s all a facade. A lie. Like Amy and Nick. Pure crap!

Many artists share that mentality. The genius/narcissist promoting himself as god, while simultaneously torturing the people who have the misfortune of fate to show up in their personal lives. Ugh. It’s the crazy maker looking for that special candy, feeding his hunger for more crazy. The crazy that makes him feel ALIVE! Picasso did it with his many submissive women, victimizing, abusing, ruining them, and…….Gertrude Stein, with her self indulgent, obsessive writing, that insane repetition and her statements of deluded grandeur!  Road kill incarnate! Can’t stop reading, while loathing her narcissistic ploy as she identifies as “genius” .

gertrude-stein-narcissistStein cuts and caters to the artists in her ex-pat Parisienne world. She makes or breaks by her acceptance or her rejection, the artists seeking recognition. Stein, star – maker incarnate, unsurpassed in her mind of complete authority and power! She pens the “Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas.” In it she pretends she is her lover, Alice, writing through her mind’s eye. In it, she identifies her take on real genius. There are three. Picasso. Herself. And Alfred Whitehead. No shit Sherlock!  Only a narcissist could write ” a rose is a rose is a rose” and call it literature! But she is not alone! There are so many others. Ever read the journals of Anais Nin?

In Norman Mailer’s expose, “Genius and Lust,” he delves into the artist/gertrude-stein-narcissistnarcissist enigma, with a scalpel, revealing the complicated world the narcissist dwells, especially in the artist role relating to another artist also narcissistic. Miller and his lover, June-two narcissists , recounted in his 1600 page novel, depicting his affair and marriage, “The Rosy Crucifixion”. A complete failure as a novel, because as Mailer’ critique states, “the narcissist suffers from too much inner dialogue. These words turn us away from the psychic reality. The narcissist is the scientist and the experiment in one.” It’s a turn off.

anais-nin-narcissist-06Miller’s lover and literary cohort, Anais Nin, shared the bond of loving themselves more than they could ever really love each other, in spite of their rapturous physical love affair. Nin’s journals are love letters to herself. They are written on infinite pages,  gushing word vomit, about her, from her, into her, etc. If you manage to get through one of her famous “Diaries”, you will be so overwhelmed by her personality and throbbing EGO, that the prospect of reading another is daunting! I dare you to try! Every thought, every idea in her head, is placed on her personal operating table for dissection. She performs the autopsy and, and the results are her own. anais-ninWhatever she wants them to be. Nin is detached and aloof to other people unless they are as consumed with her as she is with herself. An impossible task, because her narcissism is all consuming.  Miller, himself the obvious protagonist, in his “Tropic of Cancer” , and the rest of his  tropics, is the center, the beginning ,middle, and end of his realistic fiction, unraveling the tales of  his starving, lust consumed days in Paris. On and on he goes, leaving nothing out, he is so important and simultaneously so grotesque. “Narcissists after all do not hand emotion back and forth through their bodies so much as they induce emotion in one another through their minds.” Nin and Miller. Miller and June, “electric and empty, perfect and hollow” – Mailer says it !

picasso-narcissistPicasso, also a narcissist, his self love, reveals an ultimate disregard, a brutality, towards the women in his life, described vividly in Francois Gilot’s  “Life with Picasso”. Picasso was the center and circumference of his being, and the specks of humanity he encountered outside were irrelevant. His art was the penultimate cause d’être of his being. Ferdinand Olivier, his first love, was treated like his slave, as she froze and starved while he toiled away in the Bateau Lavoir, proving his genius, painting canvas after canvas, while keeping his prisoner captive in the pitiful shack of a studio, not letting her go out unless he accompanied her, as she froze, huddled on a straw cot, trying to keep their love alive, through her worship of her lover’s art.

But the narcissist fails in this in the end, because the underlying problem with the narcissist is boredom. “Vanity is the antidote to claustrophobia.” It is the reason narcissists like Miller, Picasso, Nin, are forever falling out of love, jobs, places, and addictions.” Mailer has his magnifying glass, highlighting this phenomena in his “Genius and Lust.” Boredom is the catalyst that sends the narcissist hunting for new supply to live his otherwise empty life with the blood of his new chosen victim.

the-sociopath-next-door-bookIn “Gone Girl”, we observe the classic narcissist husband floundering in their marital cesspool with his borderline wife. What a crazy mix, a real bond, they possess, feeding off each other in their vampiristic thirst for survival. Of course, they destroy themselves individually, and each other, as their need to consume the others attention becomes fatal, when satiated, they are left alone to  drown  in their own personal self love.  These two neurotics cannot exist as a couple. Impossible! As Amy festers in her rage and the need to exact revenge and punish Nick, Nick portrays the ultimate narcissistic failed artist. The writer who quits, delusioned, but so self-absorbed, he is oblivious to the contained rage his wife is consumed with. The narcissist’s attention is all about him, blind to what’s going on around him, only to be shocked when the blowback spins him back into reality! Reality is not pretty for the artist narcissist, living in a dream world of himself and the art he creates. It is difficult to see anyone outside of that bubble world. Diego Rivera’s relationship with Frieda Kahlo was one of the Narcissist with the sickly borderline female. Textbook. His multiple affairs, and personal successes in the art world left little for her, but she clung in  desperate dependence , accepting her second place status as all she could maintain in his life. Her death would not be from her paralyzingly illness, but Rivera’s abandonment of her! She hung on for “dear life”.

gone-girl-movie-nick-amy-04In “Gone Girl”, Amy does fight back, as she attempts to hold onto a shred of pride, as she sees Nick’s abandonment as a cruel betrayal.  She is not about to allow him to win! Her revenge is exact, thorough, and evil. He is left spinning in the wind, her intent, a success, until the end where we are left with a question. Who is the real winner here in this twisted psycho drama?

artist-narcissistsThe life of the artist, in whatever the particular genre may be is one of focus, isolation, imagination, and genius. These qualities can lead to an over obsession with ones own inner life to the extreme. Often there is nothing left for anyone else. The failed artist is at risk for this as his failure won’t be accepted or admitted to, but rather the fault of extenuating circumstances, people, events. Nick, the failed writer had to find another exciting channel, to obtain the supply narcissists thrive on. The vampire’s blood so to speak.  Amy had to punish him, in order to claim his attention once again. And like the vampire draining his victim, of their life’s blood, their pursuit of more victims continues to keep them alive. The hunt makes the victims being pursued ru . The vampire needs the supply, in order to live. His victims need the narcissistic vampire in order to feel alive! Their death is his life! While his life becomes their death! A paradox intrinsic in every narcissists life!

Truth or Fiction????

Like Amy?

Writers & Artists Love Affair

patti-smith-just-kids-art-blog-nycWriters and artists have always carried on a clandestine love affair between the pages and on the canvas. Life gets expressed through the visual, and the literal, and both genres meld as they influence and are influenced in a mutual admiration society giving to the world the unique perspectives through the combined literary and art expression. This is a blending of spirits, of like minded souls, and it’s pretty awesome! Check out “Just Kids” Patti Smith’s, personal expose of her artistic journey with her soulmate, the avant, underground, photographer, Robert Mapplethorpe. These two comrades in their artistic journey into the unknown, wandered through the East And West Village, in the 60’s and 70’s, searching,  dreaming,  ultimately knowing that their future was intertwined in the Netherlands of art, its pain, it’s passion, the fuel driving it’s undeniable rewards. She is enamored of the French poet Rimbaud, and her dual identity as both writer and singer is clarified by her own words, “Please no matter how we advance technologically, please don’t abandon the book. There is nothing in our material world more beautiful than the book.” There. She says it. And she means it. Her story, ” Just Kids ” is pure gold, for us pioneers, the writers and painters, who have walked the walk so to speak. If you are a “creative”, ignoring this book is a BIG mistake! Get it ASAP! It is a love story, a trippy art journey, and it also gives the younger reader a chance to experience a glimpse of the downtown hippie lifestyle of the past, far removed from today’s hipster world of tech, commerce, and astronomical student loans!

patti-smith-quote-art-blog-nycOn the other hand, let’s go on a vastly different trip with Steve Martin as he takes us from North to South, literally speaking, from the authenticity and earthy Greenwich Village experience of Patti and Robert, to the cold culture where Cash is King, and art is a commodity of the pocketbook first, not the innate soul purity of “Just Kids”.

Reading Steve Martin’s, “Object of Beauty” took me into the upscale art world of business art, and the inner workings of the personal lives involved, as Martin illuminates his particular characters, these bodies, who define his novel, in his style, so that the reader not only reads it, but also lives it, meeting the characters, and recognizing them, maybe, or maybe not. His protagonist, Lacey Yeager, hot NY art dealer, social climber, Sotheby’s star, she exemplifies the apex of art world social climber, with dollar signs in her eyes, she is the “Monster Goddess” of Bill De Kooning’s “Woman I”. In “Object”, Martin combine his own personal art collectors vision, residing in this world, with a passion for writing, spinning his tale of the status driven art world, a world that Martin knows very well. He buys. Collects. Spends. Just like the characters in his novel. Included we find prints of images of artists work, from Milton Avery to Andy Warhol. As if to remind the reader that this is all about art, though it’s fiction, the truth is that art is the foundation of his novel! sometimes Truth can be translated through fiction!

gaddis-the-Recognitions-art-blog-brooklyn-nycBut getting into the nitty gritty so to speak one should start with “The  Recognitions”, published in 1955, Bill Gaddis’s, lengthy, detailed, wordy, story of the life of Wyatt Gwyon, art forger, describing his craft of fakery, this book is an expose of the contradictions life offers in Wyatt’s counterfeit world where real is fake and fake appears to be real, and the perception as seen from the outside is everything, similar to viewing a painting, so subjective, yet coming from that intangible mix of the inner and outer mechanisms of mind and matter combined. In this fat novel, books and paintings are intertwined. The philosophies expounded by the characters release so much expertise and insight from the writers, artist, painters, business, point of view, that though a heavy read, it’s challenging, and it forced me to delve in with the persistence of a miner digging for gold in that pit of dirt. The results SO worth it!

“The Horses Mouth”, by Joyce Carey, also another art novel, published in 1944, shows us the life of a painter, who doesn’t cater to the popular fads, and survives by criminal activity in order to afford to maintain his craft. Caught up in his passion, he is willing to do whatever it takes at any cost. Morality, and conforming to the social standards of his time are rejected as the painter, Gulley Jimson, exploits, and tricks his friends and acquaintances in order to further his own ambition driven artist needs. Keeping it Real – Not all artists are saints, not then, not now!

philosophy-of-andy-warhol-art-blog-brooklynLa creme de la creme for me is “The Philosophy of Andy Warhol.”He NEVER disappoints. His philosophy is sooo simplistic, yet in it’s simplicity, abstract and really profound. I just Love his statement on page 112- where he talks about the “So What?” Saying “so what” puts every big awful “thing” in its place and instantly you feel better. This gem is full of nuggets like this one, and if you haven’t gotten acquainted with Andy’s philosophy than you are really missing some cool observations from the Master of Cool. This guy made a soup can famous! Remember??? The brilliant Voyeur whose quote “Everybody will be famous for 15 minutes” made headlines with it’ Andy Fabulous Truth! The Reality Shows of today prove Andy’s prophetic words beyond what anyone would have ever imagined!

max-jacobs-picasso-nyc-art-blogThere are many reminders of the indisputable link writers have with artists and vice versa. Witness Picasso’s best friend Max Jacobs, and the poet Appolinaire, known for his “AlCools,” devoted, bonded in their artistic life, in their Montmartre Bohemia, where eating, and sleeping came far behind creating, and dreaming. The true sustenance being, the preferred art of the subjects at hand, be it Satie and his classical Gymnopedies,Lautrec and his bordello posters, Picasso, and his circus paintings of harlequins and acrobats,  or Valladon and her nudes. Perhaps it was Baudelaire and his absinthe infected poetry, or Jane Avril, friend and model for so many of Lautrec’s posters, celebrity of Montmartre, as star attraction at the Moulin Rouge, they all had a common goal -Art- the making, living, eating, breathing, the food they thrived on that kept them alive, and provided them with nourishment that  no simple meal ever could!

Somerset Maughm’s, ” The Sixpence “, written about the painter,  Gaugin, ” Lust for Life,” Irving Stone’s, representation of painter, Vincent Van Gogh, and of course the famous , made for cinema, Girl with the Pearl  Earring, based on Tracy Chevalier’s novel, the subject originating with Vermeer’s masterpiece,  now prominently displayed in the The Hague. All chains in the link that is soldered together between artists and writers. We get a literary view to back up the visual experience we have while looking at a painting, and we get a complete picture.

henry-miller-pop-art-blog-nycHenry Miller, the novelist of all times, love him or hate him, he can’t be ignored! He was a self taught water colorist, which he claims was fulfilling, in a way that transcended his writing. Thousands upon thousands of watercolors, he produced joyfully, giving away randomly, at his will, to friends and fans.  Talk about a writer – art love affair, Miller, epitomized this duality with his novels , his Tropics series, and his future essays, where he talks as if he’s sitting with us , about his favorite subjects like, art, writing, spirituality, people, Big Sur, Anais Nin, and Paris! In Big Sur, The Henry Miller Museum, is a unique dream place, a stone’ s throw from his old hangout Nepenthe, the former love nest of Orson Welles and his lover Rita Hayworth. It was recreated into a bar, restaurant, hanging off a cliff over the Pacific Ocean, a favorite hangout for Miller and his friends during his Big Sur years. The museum, a picturesque cabin, and the former home of his best friend Emil White, displays his works, paintings, and obscure writings, not commonly found in your local Barnes & Noble. Standing under the majestic Redwood trees, Pacific Ocean crashing below the rocky coast, this humble cabin holds a wealth of artistic bounty, that only the fortunate traveller is led to discover!

henry-miller-canvas-pop-art-nyc-blogMiller’s watercolors are a spontaneous, pure, colorful expression of his thinking, always soulful and pure. In his novel, Big Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymus Bosch, he confirms his spiritual relationship to the Divine, as authority for the creative genius he has expressed through his prolific writings, his paintings, and his individual life story, from Brooklyn to Paris to California!

Again, writer, artist, – Seamless!

Yes, IT IS the Love Affair of all time! This writer, artist combo. If you are writing, you’re also probably, in the galleries, or fooling around with your paints and brushes whenever you can. You enjoy a hearty discussion on the merits of Dadaism, and your disenchantment with the Fauve Period. If you are deep in the well of your studio, I know you are hitting the bookstores, and have a couple of novels on hand, and can talk for an hour about why you either detest “Infinite Jest”, or why you love it!

spending-mary-gordon-nyc-artist-blogOne of the most interesting artist stories in contemporary fiction is “Spending”, by Mary Gordon. A sexy, hot and spicy, page turner, depicting a tale of the relationship between a powerhouse commodities broker, who decides to collect her work while also being her Muse.  It’s a lush, witty, sophisticated story of this complex relationship in which art and commerce meet and lead to an emotional quagmire. He spends and she spends and both of them achieve an ambiguous cocktail of experiences as they mix the artist with the money man.

This discussion, highlights that YES, in fact and fiction, art and writers share have a metaphoric womb, like Siamese twins. The poets of the day hung with their artist friends with the common bond that painters and writers intrinsically possess. Gertrude Stein,  with her famous salon in Paris, at 27 Rue de La Fleuris, were legend as the hotspot for all up and coming painters, of the day with only the best writers thrown in, like Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and and while Stein’s talent was writing,  “a rose is a rose is a rose” everyone knew that  she had an insatiable passion for art and collecting! In “The Autobiography of Alice b Toklas,” by Stein, when asked had she ever met a genius, she states that yes, she indeed knew three geniuses: Pablo Picasso, Gertrude Stein, and Alfred Whitehead. Not exactly the humble, shy type, Gertrude made the unknown painters and writers of the day in Ex-Pat Paris, the “Lost Generation” as she coined that infamous phrase; crave her attention, and sit at her feet, beholden to her charisma, intellectual brilliance, and her love of art! These qualities drew those pioneers to her like the moth to the flame! . That’s heady stuff. It’s interesting when I read her quote on genius: “Being a genius means sitting around doing nothing nothing nothing.” Tongue in cheek, so typical of Stein, when what she is really saying is that it LOOKS like they are doing nothing, but their thinking is so far beyond most people, that nothing is actually Everything! Amen to That!

Her writing involves a lot of repetition and perplexing statements. One can only interpret subjectively, because of the vast collection of multi meanings. Always with a question attached. And of course the artists, the painters, flocked to her, she cultivated her favorites, and they went on to great success.  She was one of the highest standards for acceptance, the 27 rue du Fleuris, where Hemingway sought an invitation,  when he arrived in Paris , an unknown at age 24. He got the “word on the street”, that Stein was his ticket into the art world. And he was right, and along with his mentor Sylvia Beach, of Shakespeare and Company, he moved to the head of the line, working hard at his craft, and eventually became a published writer.

Painters and writers. Writers and painters. Ny, Paris, Rome, London, from the depths to the heights, from obscurity to fame, they create an indisputable bond throughout eternity.

john-lennon-quote-art-blog-nycThe San Francisco Beats, hung at the Cedar Tavern, in Nyc with the ab – ex painters of the day like, Kline, De Kooning, Pollock, all sharing a similar life force, mutual interest and ambition. Rarely will you find a division. when people love painting, they usually have a fully stocked library as well. It’s a natural match.

Bookstores adorned with posters is a given expectation. A shared and compatible pairing like wine and cheese. Like Gertrude Stein, and her lifelong roommate, Alice B. Toklas! Like Picasso and Max Jacobs, like, Lautrec and Avril, like Warhol and Basquiat, like KiKi and Man Ray!

The Love Affair, is documented historical evidence of the shared passions between artists and writers. It is and will continue to be a match, an arrangement natural to this psyche that embellishes, and enhances the artistic world, giving it an infinite and profound character, a blending of the written and the painted, the sculpted, the designed, the ying and the yang, the color with the black and white, the multi dimensional personalities that bring these individuals together, in a harmonious blending, providing for everyone, a concert of harmonious notes, entertaining and nourishing the soul.

We experience this Love-In is right here in our city! NYC has cast us into the vortex of a hyper creative atmosphere, as the voyeurs watch the scene, groove to the beat, living vicariously off this powerful synergy, that brings Everyone here and Keeps them here!

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