Known most for her writing in Before Sunrise and Before Sunset, critically acclaimed movies which detail the serendipitous meeting of two strangers who meet on a train one fateful night, Academy Award-nominated writer Kim Krizan has never shied away from the complicated feelings of human attraction. In Waking Life, she was quotably featured discussing the shortcomings and limitations of human language— and how, in an instantaneous moment of connection, something magic happens: understanding. Those moments can be so fleeting, and that moment where humans understand each other seems to be something Krizan has chased through her work. In 2017, she starred in the film Language is Dead, written by Jermaine Manigault, which was actually inspired by her monologue in Waking Life. In Language is Dead, Krizan plays the therapist of a young man who desires to feel connected with the people and yet struggles with finding those moments.
In 2013, Krizan published her first book, Original Sins: Trade Secrets of the Femme Fatal, in which she breaks down the concept of what society deems as the ‘dangerous woman,’ by giving us a tongue-in-cheek guide to the behavior of the bad girl. The book works as a sort of psychological profile of women who rose up against standard rules of society. Her new book, Spy in the House of Anaïs Nin, seems to combine both of these interests: it’s a profile of a woman whose diary is full of the fleeting moments that make life romantic, and her thirst for her own independence.
Krizan spent hours digging through dozens of dozens of unpublished letters to and from Anaïs Nin, in Nin’s own home and in the UCLA archives, to construct a biography that felt both empathetic towards her life and also objectively looked at some of the controversy that has historically surrounded her, not just with her affairs with other men but also the brief affair she had with her biological father, the composer Joaquin Nin. Krizan has been studying the life of Anaïs Nin for over two decades, and has been so involved in the study and archiving of Nin’s life she was asked to become a member of the Anaïs Nin Foundation, an organization that works to keep Nin’s work and legacy alive, a couple of years ago. I found myself inspired by the body of work that Krizan has behind her, and her wealth of knowledge on Nin’s life felt exact, objective, and yet also empathetic at the same time. Nin is compulsively quotable and Krizan knows this— she fashions the stories of her life into one that could almost resemble a philosophy on finding and keeping those transient moments that keep us, as humans, ever pulsing towards our desire for connection.
In the book, you talked about Anaïs Nin’s behavior of keeping lifelong secrets from people who are closest to her. What I think is really interesting about that is, when you meet a stranger on a train, and you know that you are not going to see them again, in some instances maybe people feel more compelled to be more honest with them, because there is less fear, maybe of vulnerability, right?
Kim Krizan: Yes.
Anaïs Nin says, “a lie is not something you tell others, but yourself.” In Before Sunset, the 2004 sequel to your 1998 movie Before Sunrise with Richard Linklater, when Ethan Hawke's character describes the nature of his marriage to Julie Delpy, he reveals to her later how he's pretty unhappy in his marriage, which is probably unknown to his wife. I wanted to ask you, is there value in spouses who keep those secrets from one another, like Nin did with hers? Or is it really just a result of a natural deception in human nature, some people are just like that? A fear of connection, maybe. What do you think of that? That seems to be a common theme in Nin's work and yours.
I think people have complex private lives that are always shifting, evolving, and growing. We can feel differently about someone we are close to from one day to the next. Anaïs felt differently about the husband she married when she was twenty years old and the relationship evolved over time. She went through phases, as I think we all do with those we are close to, phases of being unhappy and frustrated, phases of falling back in love, phases of really appreciating and being grateful for what she had with him. Then she had this other man in her life, Rupert Pole. Their relationship was in some ways different, but she found, much to her surprise, that she went through a similar evolution with him where she found that he was much like her first husband, and she came to feel frustration sometimes and realized that in some ways she recreated the same relationship.
She believed she couldn't share her frustration with the people close to her because she felt that it would hurt them. I guess in our era, in our time, now, there's a tendency to believe that we should share everything: every feeling, every doubt, every moment of anger. And gosh, that's such a vast ocean, to share everything. I don't know that it's always productive to do that, because our feelings… There's so much there, and feelings are shifting all the time.
Yeah, they change so much.
They do. And she believed that people could really be hurt to know the negative things that we feel. I tend to believe that certain things should be kept to ourselves to be sorted out. You know? To be sorted out, before we potentially do lasting damage. Because who knows if something is a passing feeling? Who knows if we're just projecting feelings that are momentary; maybe they have nothing to do with the person. And yet, those words will ring in their memory forever, like some ugly criticism, or some horrible observation.
She really believed in not sharing everything and I think that's really diametrically opposed to the way people feel nowadays. They think it's honesty. I don't know that I agree that it's honesty. I think, sometimes, it's a bit self-indulgent to believe everybody has to know every last thing we feel and think, because our experiences are pretty private and we maybe should develop the ability to sort things out a bit, edit a bit, before we expect others to deal with our feelings. And I think that's how Nin approached it, too.
That makes a lot of sense. There's a lot of talk, obviously, about her diaries being her private world. But her other work, too— Nin lamented having to disguise a lot of her work in order to prevent her first husband from being hurt, or knowing the true extent of what was going on in her life. Somewhere in your book, you mention that she describes it as a sacrifice that she's made for her art. Almost as though, maybe her marriage to him, or her love for him, kind of held her back, that seemed to be the feeling I get.
On that note, what do you make of how an artist like Nin disguises their work? It's almost, at least for this particular time, and especially with the writers she was around and working with, it was almost all fiction was just a type of non-fiction disguised. Or, as if, all this work that comes from us is like the truth, truth but in a way that's able to be hidden. What do you think of that?
Absolutely. I absolutely agree with what you just said. She had a real conundrum. She was born in 1903 and married at age 20, without a high school education. As was the case of so many people and especially girls at that time, she just had limited opportunities -- limited opportunity to make a living, limited opportunity to be secure without a man and a family to support her. She had to find a way to express herself, and since she had such a complex life with so many experiences that were considered at the time to be immoral, because of her sex life, she had a find a way to express that without blowing up every relationship she had.
She was a woman who decided to indulge in certain freedoms, that we today think are absolutely all right, but in her day, especially in America, would be considered totally immoral, just death to her reputation. She really struggled to find a way to write and to tell her stories without hurting her husband. It was a terrible problem for her that she struggled with her whole life. She wanted to live freely and experience the world, experience people, fully, but she didn't want to hurt her husband. Or her mother and her brother.
One of the reasons for this was that her father was a glamorous womanizer. He was a composer who had many affairs and ended up abandoning the family for one of his young, rich music students. That so devastated Anaïs and her mother and brothers; it absolutely devastated them, and she did not want to hurt anyone the way she had been hurt.
And yet, here she took a similar path in some ways, because she wanted to live fully. For her, it was a real conundrum. She decided, first, to turn portions of her diary into novels. She struggled to tell the stories in fiction form. And then she ended up publishing her diary, but she edited out the parts of her diary that included all of these incendiary secrets.
And then it was her wish, as she was dying, she asked Rupert Pole to go ahead and publish the parts that had been cut out. It was something that she had a really hard time with, knowing full-well that people would judge her, but also wanting to be honest and to tell the full story. I think we can all relate to that.
Yeah. And it seems like she was trying to navigate, not just her interpersonal relationships, and not wanting to damage those, but greater society at large. If her reputation was damaged, that could affect how her mother could have tried to make money, and those kinds of things. How would you survive in that kind of environment without having those social relationships? Even more so, I think, than today.
Oh, absolutely. Just to give you an example: when she was a young wife in her twenties, and she and her husband were living in Paris. He was an American, but the bank he worked for stationed him in Paris. They were living in a fairly liberal and expressive environment, but she was invited to perform a Spanish dance, because she had been studying Spanish dance with this wonderful teacher, Paco Miralles, and when she performed on the stage, because she was a banker's wife, she had to come up with a stage name. That's how delicate an issue it was, because if she danced on the stage under her married name, the fear was that people would judge her, would think that maybe the husband needed his wife to work.
There were all sorts of judgments made about people expressing themselves, even in a place as liberal as Paris in the 1920s. I don't think that people now realize how much freedom we have to express ourselves. Maybe the pendulum has swung the other way, now, where everybody is just exploding in a huge outburst of personal confession.
In the book, you also talk a little about future social movements and the state of the internet, and you touch on whether or not Anaïs herself was a feminist, in light of the reaction of feminists that were surrounding her at the time.
You say something really astute, which is, female empowerment is in part a matter of freeing oneself from a prison that is constructed in the mind. You go on to describe how that process works. Do you think that today in society, and even today's feminism, would be more accepting of Nin if her work was just coming out today? Or do you think that it would still be shunned a little for some of its more controversial subjects? And if they were more accepting today, do you think that her work would have had the same impact?
I think she would be understood more today, because women today, and especially young women today, seem to be more cognizant that they have choices and that, in Anaïs Nin's case, she was really brave and bold in making some of the choices she did, though she was still constrained.
For example, she was born into an era that had a lot of Victorian values. She did not even get a high school education. Though she tried to get a job, she failed at that, because it was very difficult for her to find a way to support herself. She was struggling alone to free herself. She was struggling alone even to understand herself. You know how Betty Friedan calls it the problem that has no name? Anaïs was, in the 1920s, beginning as a young married woman to struggle with this issue that Betty Friedan wrote about forty years later. Anaïs was doing it on her own. She wasn't a part of a group; there was no movement. She was trying to understand why she was dissatisfied with her lot in life. She had a loving husband. She was living in Paris at the time. She was trying to pursue her writing on her own, and she was trying to understand why she was dissatisfied.
She ended up going down many roads, trying to find an answer to that. I think that women nowadays would understand her struggle, and I think they also wouldn't judge her so harshly. Because she was really judged harshly, especially by women after some of these diaries came out that revealed the secrets. Some female journalists and reviewers very harshly judged her, which I don't know is quite fair. She was alone, trying to find freedom.
I think women today, especially young women today, would get it, and would understand that Anaïs Nin was a part of her time, and struggling alone, and doing some things that were really brave for her time. I absolutely believe that she would be understood more today.
What I love about the book is that you treat her controversial moments with a type of empathetic objectivity. You just discuss these events that happen as they are, and you also talk about how she created herself as the hero of her own story. Lately online, there's been a narrative that has developed of refusing to separate the art from the artist. The idea that an artist must be judged for their behavior too, and that if their behavior is bad or immoral in any way, this warrants a blacklisting or a boycotting of their work. What I think is interesting is that, back then, Nin would complain about the Puritanism that exists in American culture, wishing that she could go back to Paris. In fiction, there’s been a trend of embracing the unlikeable narrator, especially the unlikeable female narrator, but in real life it doesn't seem to be that way. It seems that if you are in the public eye and making art, there is a kind of Puritanism that does punish you for being immoral— in whatever the current moral values are. I wanted to ask you, it's a two part question. One, do you think that the art should be separated from the artist? And two, what do you make of this dichotomy that exists between the Puritanical values that real life people hold for real life artists, but also this interesting demand for unlikeable, daring, femme fatale women narrators in works of fiction and movies? I know that's kind of a big question.
Yes. I think I know exactly what you're talking about. It does worry me. The fact that the judgmental quality, you used the word Puritanical, and I think that's the right word, the judgment is pretty interesting. I'm afraid that if readers, say, aren't able to separate the artist from the art, and understand that the art is just an expression, just a moment, what are we going to do with people like Dostoyevsky, or Camus? What are we going to do with Lolita? What are we going to do with that?
It seems to me that it's kind of dangerous to make these judgments because we'll close off all sorts of avenues for understanding human experience, even the dark parts of human experience, such as Lolita, which is an absolutely fantastic novel about a pedophile. And it strives to have empathy and allows the reader to have some empathy and understanding for the pedophile.
It seems to me that if we can't have empathy and understanding, and if our inclination is to just burn them on the stake, even if that's just on the internet via Twitter, then we're devolving back to some dark age.
What was the other part of your question?
The other part was that there seems to be this dichotomy between what people want from their artist, which is perfection, but what they want in works of fiction is this unlikeable narrator.
The femme fatale thing.
Like Humbert Humbert in Lolita, people seem to say, unlikeable narrators are interesting and dark. But when the artist themselves is flawed, there's a boycott and calling for things to be canceled and that sort of thing. It's very interesting that there's that dichotomy that exists, and I was curious if you thought about that.
It's the same with dangerous women, or femme fatales. Women who aren't necessarily likeable; there's an allure there, of course, I mean, I love those characters. But outside of fiction, there’s a huge social distaste for unlikeable women. I'm curious what you thought about that dichotomy.
This gets into a difficult area, because there are criminals out there who are violent towards people, who harm people, and we don't want them to get off just because they're a famous actor. We don't want that. I do understand the impulse to call somebody out and say, hey, here's the famous actor, or writer, or producer who is actually a violent rapist, and can we bring the whole legal system down on this person's head because that's what they deserve. I absolutely understand that, and that's what should happen.
But, then there's the person who is a flawed human being, who said something stupid, who made some idiotic joke, and if confronted with that they would be embarrassed and would apologize and say, “Please forgive me for my stupid joke, or my dumb ignorance on this or that issue. I'm a human being and I blew it in that moment, please forgive me.” And I think people need to separate the two situations and realize there are gradations of sin.
There are violent criminals, and there are people who just say something stupid. And yet somehow they're all getting lumped, it appears to me. The kind of lynch mob-y, burning at the stake thing that's happening sometimes on, say, Twitter, worries me because without the benefit of our legal principle of presumption of innocence before proven guilty... It gets a bit frightening. I think we all have occasionally been accused of things we're not guilty of, and we want to clear our names but it's a painful thing to say, “I didn't do that or say that.” It's painful. I hope people strive to be fair.
Yes, it seems like we've reached an era where it's really hard for people to appreciate a lot of nuance, I think, and human character, maybe.
But maybe it's always been that way, because even Nin herself, like she was saying, it was so difficult for her to gain any recognition because of the content of her work, until way later in her life.
Yeah, and one of her problems was that she wrote about the personal -- and that wasn't respected. It was considered to be a secondary world. It's too female, it's too delicate, it's too emotional, it's too European, it's secondary.
Her contention was, no, this is not secondary, this is primary, and everything springs from the personal. You can pretend that it doesn't spring from the personal. For example, fiction is hardly fiction, it springs from what is personal. However you want to disguise it or change it up, that's fine, but it's springing from something personal.
She stumbled upon these ideas on her own. It's interesting that she didn't get a college degree, she didn't formally study, she came upon these ideas, and in those days that was held against her, that she wasn't a graduate of some fancy... I tend to think that lack of formal education made her an original thinker and very creative, because she was self-taught. And English wasn't even her first language. English was her third language and I think that gave her an interesting perspective.
She was outside of the fold, and so she could observe it, looking in.
Yes. I think so.
I know that she had such a hard time getting people to want to publish her, too. There was a point in time where there was a bookstore owner that gave her a loan, so she could purchase a printing press, so she could publish her own work for a while. I thought that was really interesting, and I love that parallel. When I was doing a little research, I realize that you did a Kickstarter for Original Sins, your first book.
And you self-published, because you wanted to, I think you said that you wanted to be outside of the reins of Hollywood. I wanted to touch on that a little. Did you self-publish this one also?
What has that experience been like for you?
Well, it's been freeing. Fortunately, it's easier to self-publish these days because, with the advent of the internet, we can self-publish. Anaïs Nin self-published in the beginning because she was so frustrated, she kept having such bad luck with publishers.
First of all, her work was very unusual. And then, just to give you an example, she finally had a publishing deal and then World War II came about and wiped out the whole thing, because she had to run, fleeing for her life, back to America with her husband. It killed the whole thing.
She ended up, with the help of Frances Steloff, the bookshop owner that you're talking about, she was able to purchase an old fashioned printing press and set it up in New York, Washington Square, and publish her own books, which she said for her was a very romantic process.
For me, it's been freeing to publish on my own. It's been freeing because Hollywood is a business. They want to make money. To be perfectly honest, my main concern is not making money. I would like to express myself. I have things to say and I'd like to express myself and I would love it if I could share some of these ideas with people. My keen hope in life was never to make it rich.
Hollywood puts constraints on a person, on a creative person, especially on a writer. They are not that respectful of writers, especially in feature films.
Yeah, you'd be surprised. And it's been that way for decades. The origins of Hollywood are pretty interesting, never very respectful to the writer.
It just feels really good to write something, to put it out there and have people like you read it and then hear your ideas, you know?
There's a market, probably, that you have to serve when you're writing in Hollywood. Even in the larger publishing industry, if something doesn't serve the market, it seems like it doesn't get very popular, or as widespread.
There are books that serve the market, and those do end up getting turned into movies, and they become bestsellers because there's a market demand for them. It can be difficult, if you're writing outside of that, when you're like, this is what I want to create.
Absolutely. In Hollywood, a movie that makes a lot of money is called a tent-pole movie. I remember being in a meeting at a Hollywood studio and they said something about writing tent-pole movies. I said, what the hell is a tent-pole movie? It's really a movie that will make a lot of money, and they're not really concerned about the message or anything about the quality; they want something that's going to make a lot of money because they have a big business. They've got a lot of people that need work and a great big studio to keep running.
I am not good at business, or interested in it, at all. Imagine someone like Anaïs Nin. She's writing a diary. And in the twentieth century especially, people had no particular respect for the diary. Diaries were considered a woman's medium. Men really ruled in the publishing world. It was the era of Hemingway, Mailer, these very masculine writers who I do love. But, the woman's voice was kind of a side show.
She's got this very personal writing and at first there wasn't much interest. And then, when The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Volume One finallycame out in 1965, boom! The publisher thought it was going to be just this minor thing and it had a small print run, not a lot of copies. It sold out so fast that they had to quickly print up many more copies. It turned out people were hungry and starving for the more personal experience that she represented. That's why we even know what her name is now, because it turned out our culture was ready for it, dying for it.
But she had to keep pushing to make it happen.
Persistence seems like it is the big key, and she was definitely persistent, too.
Really, very persistent.
Could you talk a little bit about her influence on your own creative life? I know you're on the Anaïs Nin Foundation Board, and I think you stated that you did a thesis on her as well. So what is her influence on your more creative life, would you say? Or what inspired you to get involved with learning so much about her?
When I discovered her diary, I was a college student. Boy, it isn't even a decision I made; it was simply something that fed me. It fed me emotionally and gave me a kind of sustenance. I just couldn't help myself. Then I read through all the diaries sequentially.
I think the thing I was interested in was what was driving her. I came to the conclusion that we try to solve the problem of living by creating and trying to put order to our amorphous feelings via, in her case, writing, in my case, writing, in your case, writing.
But, I suppose, people are trying to solve things, because life is pretty chaotic and confusing, sometimes harsh, painful. I think I was trying to understand... She wrote a document that covered decades, a woman's life from age 11 until almost 74 years-old, when she died. I thought, this tells the story of the inner life and how we try to solve our problems and create a world in which we can live.
I think what this did for me is freed me up and give me confidence in my own voice, and it made me realize that fulfillment and pleasure can be private things. They don't always have to be played out on the big stage. One doesn't have to achieve fame, necessarily, or riches, or have the whole world deem you a success to create your own beautiful world where you have rich experiences that are fulfilling.
That idea really worked for me, and I've kind of lived by that.
What are your next projects? Do you have anything that you're working on that you want to talk about?
Let's see, besides the Anaïs Nin book... I do tend to feel interested in telling women's stories. I do have projects, I don't know if they will come to fruition, because sometimes it's related to Hollywood and whether something will be funded and backed.
I like to dig deeply into the real story and do so with a bit of empathy, while also being objective. There are female characters that interest me a lot. I try to tell their stories.
I suppose, in my own way, it's kind of a feminist preoccupation with me, of getting out the truth about women who have maybe been denigrated in society and exonerating them. That's just something that really seems to reoccur for me in a lot of my creative works.
Also, I'm really interested in the idea of people connecting and understanding one another. It's not easy to really connect and to communicate. Sometimes those are just moments, where you really hear somebody, and they really hear you, and then the moment passes, and then it's over -- you never see them again.
But a lot of those moments strung together can make things worthwhile, you know?
These are just themes that reoccur for me in my life.
I love that. I find myself really interested in that connection, or that spark of chemistry that happens between two people, and they don't really know why, but it's there.
It could be gone, or whatever happens.
Isn't that interesting?
Yeah. I am always thinking about chemistry and why it occurs. I think about it in terms of zodiac signs, or pheromones, or, I don't know, it could be anything. It could be so many different things.
Do you think that you can get that via an internet relationship?
I think that you can, I think that's possible. But one of the reasons why internet relationships are so interesting is, I've been thinking of it a lot in terms of how people write letters to one another.
You can construct a self in a much more, almost inventive way, because you have complete control over how that person sees you.
They are probably doing the same thing, you know what I mean?
Oh God, yes.
In the same moment. Because I have a social media presence because of writing, I find myself constructing a persona. Even in that sense, for some reason people will connect with that, and sometimes I'm like, well, is that really me or not? They see it as genuine, I'm guessing, because they enjoy it. In that way, in internet relationships, there's that sense of persona-building that occurs, probably even more so because you get to control every aspect of how they see you, you know what I mean?
Isn't that interesting?
Mm-hmm, how we build that?
I do believe it is a real part of you. I do believe it's real; it's just one part of you, though, right?
Yeah, like a little side.
You're editing out other parts of you for a reason, because you don't want them to be public. You're presenting a public face, which is a real part of you, because people are multifaceted, and they're intentionally putting out one facet. Or you could say mask, or face, or persona. But it is real, it's just that there is a lot more behind the scenes. I find that absolutely fascinating too.
I was thinking about that a lot, while I was reading your book, about how we only see Anaïs's experience of Hugo. We don't get to see Hugo's side until you uncover that letter in which we finally get to understand a lot of his feelings towards her in the relationship. It's interesting because she is constructing this image of Hugo in her diaries.
Yeah, I was revisiting Henry and June, the movie, today, just to get myself in the mindset. There's this part where June is sitting at the desk while Henry Miller is there and Anaïs is in the background. June just starts crying and she's like, you're not presenting me correctly, you need to make a portrait. And he's just like, I'm not a portrait artist, and she's like, you're a monster! Because she's so hurt by the way she was portrayed.
It’s about the struggle to want to be represented, and how social media gives us that absolute power to represent ourselves how we want to.
Oh God, yeah. As I was reading Anaïs's diaries, the portrait of Hugo was of a guy who… I guess I didn't expect him to have the strong voice that he had in the letter that you're describing. He's obviously a very intelligent person; he's articulate. He's no dummy. He understands that Anaïs has secrets, because he says, “…as I'm sure your diary reveals.” He knows there's a lot of complexity there.
He also understands her weaknesses. To me, that letter was really helpful, because her portrait of him had give a certain impression. And boy, in Henry and June, don't they make him out to be a cuckold?
He seems so passive in all this literature, but I don't think he really was as passive as he was presented.
No. He's a very interesting character to me. I believe a big key there is that -- and this is in one of the chapters I wrote that dealt with their early marriage, I believe it was “Secrets and Lies”— he had been severely punished as a child when he was discovered playing doctor with another child. We're talking about very early. He was born in 1898, so we're talking very early twentieth century when they still had Victorian attitudes. And he was so severely punished for playing doctor that he was then timid and feeling shamed about his sexuality.
I think that a big part of his personality went underground, so to speak. I think we all have complex inner lives, so discovering his letter, for me, was just proof that he was an intelligent man. He understood his wife's weaknesses. He was trying desperately to come into his own, as we all are.
Her portrait of him was her portrait of him. She kind of made him out to be a guy who wouldn't let her go, and I'm sure there was some truth to that, but there was also the truth that she did not want to make the split. So she had her excuse.
And I think we do that, people do that.
They still made a choice.
Yeah. We say things like so and so couldn't live without me, and that's a projection. We're the ones that can't live without.
I think it goes to the complexity of a relationship.
Do you think, because of how deep every individual's inner life can be, that we can ever really know another person?
God. You know, I bet the answer to that is no. I bet we cannot ever completely know another person. I imagine that a person is like an ocean, or a country, or a forest, and you can know parts of it at certain times and become familiar with large swaths of it. But know the whole thing? I don't know. I think no.
I think people are too complex. We're even struggling to know ourselves, and we'll struggle our whole lives to know ourselves. We'll be surprised by things that we do and say and feel, and then the game shifts underneath us and then there's a whole new thing we have to understand about ourselves.
I think the answer's no.
I like that answer.
I have one more question.
Do you think June Miller was also a femme fatale? I sometimes just wish that she had more of a prominent role in, I guess, their stories. She never wrote, but I always feel like, June was almost pushed aside. Am I wrong?
No, I agree. I think that June was a femme fatale. I believe that she did suffer from some mental illness. She did have a difficult life. She's been immortalized by Anaïs Nin and by Henry, and I'm sure that these portraits of her don't tell the whole story of her.
It is kind of amazing that she, later in life, was working a really mundane job. She must have settled down a lot because she had been a true wild thing. There's a little description of her in an article that was written in the 20s, I believe it was the late 1920s, and it sounds like she was a real… almost like a punk rocker. She was a real exotic, a rulebreaker, soulful and beautiful and wild. I'm glad that she was immortalized, especially by Anaïs Nin.