Monday, October 02, 2006

Letters To Hoki

Henry Miller's fifth and final wife was a young Japanese woman named Hoki Tokuda. Miller humiliated himself in his attempt to win her love, as evidenced in the collection of letters called Letters From Henry Miller To Hoki Tokuda Miller. The letters began in 1966 and increased with desperation until their marriage in 1967 (was she after fame or a green card, one wonders). The letters continued (while she was away in Japan) with feelings of doubt about her love (the lack thereof being obvious to everyone but Henry), finally ending in bitterness and divorce in 1970. He was 74 and she (seen below, left) was 27 when they first met.

The purpose of this entry is to direct you to rjhudson's Livejournal posting about these letters. On it, you will find excerpts from Miller's letters, editorials about these letters, images of postcard-sized watercolours he'd sent to Hoki (one of them is shown below, right), along with the transcribed notes that came with them (as well as annotations of references made in these notes).

Here's an excerpt of his desperation:

"I hope I have the courage to mail this letter and not put it away in a drawer, as I have with the others I wrote you. For with this goes the last ounce of pride I possess. I have to know, I must know, whether you really love me or not. I have been in absolute torture for months now. I can't hold out much longer. I am truly at the end of my rope. I can't work, I can't sleep; my mind is on you perpetually, without let up. It's not a sickness any more, it's a mania. I am obsessed and possessed."

Hudson points out that there are rare moments of insight visible through the repetitive and sad romantic mud of this collection. Here's Miller on growing old:

"The older I get the more I struggle not to make plans in advance, not to think of tomorrow, or yesterday, either, for that matter. I try my best to live day to day, as we say in English. This is a result of my philosophical strain rather than of my innate temperament. I have been all my life a most active man, perhaps too much so. All I ever wanted of life was the freedom to write what I had to express and to do so with perfect freedom. It has been a long hard struggle, and I suppose one might say that I won out. But at what a price! As a result of a my achievement, my fame or success, whatever you wish to call it, the word tries to involve me in things which no longer concern me. Every day of my life, for the last ten years or more, I have to struggle to win a couple of hours which I my truly call my own. The consequence of all this is that I do less and less creative work. I am at the mercy of the world. And since my time on Earth is running short you can well understand how desperate I sometimes feel. I have thought of running off to some remote corner of the Earth, where I might live in peace and do only what I wish to do, but where is that place? Years ago, I thought of going to Tibet or to Nepal or some remote corner of India, but today I haven't the heart to pick myself up and go to such outlandish places. I need some comforts and also some medical attention. And I don't want to leave my son here alone should he be drafted into the military service."

I'll supplement this information with my own posting about Henry and Hoki in the near future.

22 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks a lot, man. I'm just a brazilian woman that loves him and his books.

I'll be always back to read this blog.

Sorry about my english.
As Fernanda Montenegro, a brazilian actress said: "My english is not good, but my soul is better."

That's it.

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