Henry Miller Explains Women

The setting for Henry Miller Explains Women is a table at a bar late at night.  Henry is “bald, wears glasses, (and) has a Brooklyn accent.”  He begins by asking us what any man ever knows about a woman.  He says that any man who talks about women is digging his own grave, because whatever you say, you’re wrong.  Desiring a woman is like waking up in a coffin; you’re trapped inside.  Writing is something you do to keep from losing your mind while you’re suffering and being humiliated by women.  Nobody with a penis has ever been able to figure out women, not even Freud, who didn’t have a clue.  He tells us he left his first wife and child for June, who never got tired of sex and who supported him so he could write masterpieces.  She said that old men paid her at the dance hall to just sit and talk with her.  She denied taking drugs but somehow scraped up the money to send him to live in Paris and write.

In Paris, he met Anais who looked like a lovely, innocent child but who was insatiable for sex, foe everything.  She recorded everything in her diary but, he says, she ‘s the only person he’s ever met who is a bigger fucking liar than he is.  He thinks her Daddy, “a Fascist perfumed sleaze bag” probably taught her how to  lie.  He and she are an amalgamation of all the lies they’ve ever told.  If they can’t write, they don’t exist.  The important thing is to just keep moving, keep writing.  He says he was a bad writer until the part of him that gave a fuck what anybody else thought died.  He and Anais will never write a masterpiece because they’re both made of fragments and are always in the middle of something.

When he tells Anais that his grown daughter wants to see him, she says his daughter is very angry with him and asks him to promise not to sleep with her.  She says there are no limits.  He says Shakespeare had the problem of what to do with daughters.  He is terrified about going to see his daughter, but there is one true thing he can say about women:  nothing else means a god damned thing.

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