Saturday, December 20, 2008

December 25 - The Day Before Miller

I apologize for the meager December output, but I've been toiling excessively for The Paying Job. Now the holidays are upon us and I will be busy enjoying tropical sun somewhere (this is not a normal Christmas for me, but very much welcome). That means I've got this Miller blog on hold until December 30th or so.

'TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE MILLER
and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a louse
Henry Miller was born on December 26, 1891. This year he turns 117. But, way back on December 25, 1891, Henry Fetus was doing just fine where he was, oblivious to the filth and beauty beyond the womb; ignorant to the fact that he was about to be hurled into the fray-in-progress.

"My first [Paradise on earth] was in my mother's womb, where I fought to remain forever, but the forceps finally prevailed. It was a marvelous period in the womb and I shall never forget it. I had almost everything one could ask for--except friends." [1]

Children unwrapped Christmas presents throughout the United States during that morning of the 25th, including New York youngsters on East 85th Street, where Louise Miller rested her hands on her swollen belly, awaiting her first born. 100 miles away in Camden, New Jersey, Walt Whitman--a man Miller would greatly admire--was suffering in bed, finding it painfully difficult to breathe, and constantly desiring water. Horace Traubel kept a detailed transcription of Whitman's December 25th, as he and others tended to the ailing, 72-year old poet. That night, Whitman made the request of a peach--with sugar. He would die three months later.

Midnight comes around. December 25th clocks into December 26th, 1891. For years, Miller beleived he had been born thirty-minutes past midnight, and blamed his mother for her "cluthcing womb," denying him of a December 25th birth. "It always seemed to me that I was meant to be the sort of individual that one is destined to be by virtue of being born on the 25th of December. Admiral Dewey was born on that day [*actually, Miller is wrong] and so was Jesus Christ...perhaps Krishnamurti too, for all I know. Anyway, that's the sort of guy I was intended to be" [2] The missed day, he felt, altered the configuration of his astrological destiny. After this missed opportunity, Henry saw no reason to move from his Paradise.

"[T]hey had a hell of a time bringing me out of the womb. I can understand that perfectly. Why budge? Why come out of a nice warm place, a cosy retreat in which everything is offered you gratis?" (Tropic of Capricorn, p.10). Finally, on December 26th, 1891, Henry Valentine was born around 12 noon. It would be another 45 years before Henry would learn that he was not born just past midnight. When Conrad Moricand read his star charts in 1936 and insisted that he must have been born at noon, Henry confirmed the revelation with his parents. [3]

Six days after Henry's birth, New York's Ellis Island began operation as America's greatest port of entry for new immigrants. June Mansfield would be proceesed through Ellis Island sixteen years later.

Happy Holidays.

_____________________________________

REFERENCES

[1] Miller, Henry. Book Of Friends v.I; p. 27. [2] Miller, Henry. Tropic of Capricorn, p. 61; [3] Orend, Karl. 2005. The Brotherhood of Fools & Simpletons. Alyscamps Press, 2005; p.172.

3 Comments:

Blogger Eric D. Lehman said...

Happy Holidays, RC!

I'm going to change "boxing day" to "Miller Day" in my personal theology this year.

2:51 pm  
Anonymous Don L Huchison said...

An arresting character indeed. Most interesting. Thank you for sharing
Don

8:44 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hope you have a great holiday too, RC. Enjoy the sun!

5:22 am  

Post a Comment

<< Home