Love makes us delusional, and loneliness makes us liars. Sometimes love is unrequited, sometimes it dies, withers, and wilts changing it texture like the seasons. But loneliness enters us into relationships that makes us deny someone for who they are, we are presenting ourselves as ready to create love, but truly, internally, we confess to not know love, can’t love, and to just be utterly bored with our existence. Through giving ourselves without being ready we lose the other person, and soon grow impoverished rather than enriched each other’s life. However, one must accept that seasons change, and the person we want to love us has gone with the season. Henry Miller guides us through a love that ends in heartbreak.
A lonely Henry Miller sits at his desk with his broad and curved back hunched over writing love letters to Hoki Tokuda. We follow Henry Miller, in Letters from Henry Miller to Hoki Tokuda Miller, through the 3 stages of his love with Hoki: Falling, Marriage, and Disillusionment. He yearns for Hoki’s affection, but she remains cold and distance eventually leading to him begging for her love saying:
I want to get more familiar with you. I love you. You arouse in me such a mixture of feelings, I don’t know how to approach you. Only come to me–get closer and closer to me. It will be beautiful, I promise you.
You must be life for me to the very end,” so he writes. “That is the only way in which to sustain my idea of you. Because you have gotten, as you see, tied up with something so vital to me, I do not think I shall ever shake you off. Nor do I wish to. I want you to live more vitally every day, as I am dead. That is why, when I speak of you to others, I am just a bit ashamed. It’s hard to talk of one’s self so intimately.
Being, or feeling, unloved has the possibility of destroying us. But we must come to the conclusion that when our lovers put themselves beyond the reach of love we have to walk away, the love we desperately want unreciprocated must be accepted. Henry Miller behaves heartbroken, confused, and upset over the indifference Hoki shows, and rationalizes by saying:
If you do not love me back it would be a kindness if you told me so. As it is, I am left in the dark. I don’t know what you think. Its like a cat and mouse game. Its not only painful to endure but its riduculous and, if you are doing it deliberately, its unworthy of you. Do I deserve such treatment? Have I ever wounded you in any way. I know one thing about you for certain, and that is that it is very difficult for you to reveal your true feelings. Why it should be God alone knows. Maybe at some time in your life you were badly hurt. Maybe you are simply trying to protect yourself. But why make me suffer, I whom you regard as a friend, a friend forever.
The fell in love with a woman that wore the sun and rearranged it to her pleasing. She walked upbeat like she was always excited to get to her location, and smiled with a gentleness that made its way into her poetry. I wanted her to reciprocate the love I felt for her the moment I met her; I wanted her through the trauma, the ego, the fears, and even the indifference. I believed laying on her lap was worth the pain of her mood swings, aloofness, and criticisms. Henry proclaims to take Hoki anyway she is willing to come–I understand. Some people contain a beauty that causes us to follow them wherever they go, some appear to be angels that have graced us with their presence. However, aloofness breaks the soul, and Henry Miller, being a hopeless romantic, continues to have faith in love saying:
I need to be alone. I need to ponder my shame and my despair in seclusion; I need the sunshine and the paving stones of the streets without companions, without conversation, face to face with myself, with only the music of my heart for company. Life moves on, whether we act as cowards or heroes. Life has no other discipline to impose, if we would but realize it, than to accept life unquestioningly. Everything we shut our eyes to, everything we run away from, everything we deny, denigrate or despise, serves to defeat us in the end. What seems nasty, painful, evil, can become a source of beauty, joy, and strength, if faced with an open mind. Every moment is a golden one for him who has the vision to recognize it as such.
Being a westerner, I have always thought of love and marriage as two distinct things. I never thought it a dishonor to love a woman without marrying her. In fact, I even think that because I married I lost the love which led up to it. I had faith in love, not in you, not in me, but in the power of love to create beauty and harmony. At my age it must sound naïve–romantic if you like–But I know of no greater power than love, do you?
I depended on my lovers for nourishment, and when a lover decides to move along without us its like a river has dried up. In a painful letter Henry Miller describes losing her to being destitute, homeless, and malnourished saying:
I see myself forever and ever as the ridiculous man, the lonely soul, the wanderer, the restless frustrated artist, the man in love with love, always in search of the absolute, always seeking the unattainable. Real love is never perplexed, never qualifies, never rejects, never demands. It replenishes, by grace of restoring unlimited circulation. It is life illuminated.
I have live without money, without a home, without food even for ungodly periods of time. I have never been able to live for long without love. If I must do without your love I am doomed, for there is no one who can take your place. I have offered you my heart and with it the last shred of masculine pride. Trample it under foot, if you like, but do it with dispatch, I beg you. I have loved you desperately, I still love you. I will love you till hell freezes over. Kill me with one blow, if it must be that way, and then I will know that you really are my friend forever.
At 75, Miller was enjoying belated success in his native land and living at his new, very pleasant California home when he fell in love with a magnetic 27-year-old Japanese jazz singer, newly arrived in America, who was playing at a piano bar. This book contains his letters to Hoki, who, for three years, was the fifth Mrs. Miller. The marriage was the usual Miller crucifixion, with Miller leading himself by the nose directly up to the cross, providing hammer and nails, and reduplicating his childhood with a cold mother and his famed second marriage to taxi dancer June Mansfield (the “Mona” of the Tropics novels).
Apparently, their marriage remained unconsummated physically, a fact she broadcast in Japanese gossip rags, much to his disgust. As Miller learned with a vengeance, some Japanese never speak of love. “Never once have you shown me any love, any affection, any consideration—not even the respect due me as your husband. You have gone your own sweet way, doing only what pleased you, expecting devotion but showing none yourself. A spoiled, discontented child, thoroughly selfish, and acting as if she were a prisoner in her own home. . . But you show me no appreciation—only boredom, discontent. You can’t bear to remain home for an evening. If you do, it is only to cut your toe nails, shampoo your hair or some such nonsense.”
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