This photo is from 1976. My dear friend Twinka Thiebaud was living with Henry in the Pacific Palisades then. She grew up in Big Sur next to the Miller's and when she left her first marriage she moved in to sort of take care of Henry in his later days. This is after his Japanese wife moved out. The house was in a very posh Palisades neightborhood, the kind of neighborhood where you would find the homes of doctors and lawyers and famous old school actors. Henry's house, a colonial edifice, manicured lawn, perfect hedges. Both Twinka and I were aspiring chef's then even though we were pursuing other forms of creativity. I was still in art school and exploring my first glimmer of a deep love of cooking. One day Twinka asked me to come cook dinner with her for Henry and some folks who wrote for Saturday Night Live (back in the day) and her ex husband , Avedis. She said wear something feminine and pretty. Henry loves women. Ha, yes did I know that ! I was consumed by and passionate about his books, those of Anais Nin and Lawrence Durell. I lived and breathed that period of literature. Meeting Henry for me was Church.
I was pretty much neck deep in the punk rock art scene happening in LA at that time so finding something "feminine and pretty" was a bit difficult, not to mention cooking in a dress was nearly impossible for me to imagine. This turquoise dress was my mother's, as was the quirky deco brooch. Twinka and I made a Coq au Vin, and that night I flirted shamelessly with Henry Miller, as he held court in his ratty plaid bathrobe. We drank a lot of wine and Henry told story after story with his voice distinct, all Yankee twang and gravel. We were all drunk with delight. I spent nearly a half hour in his collaged bathroom reading the walls. in this photograph, everyone is looking at the camera except for me. I was looking at Henry's art room. A big sort of family room with french windows that opened out to a large lawn and swimming pool. His art room had a huge pool table in the center that was covered in paintings and paper and pots of paint. there were poems painted on the walls near Picassos and iconic photographs of his days in Paris Anais, Larry Durrell, his kids, friends. My young eyes feasting on an impossible miracle.
Henry was massively adorable. His home was filled with his paintings and collages and people came and went all the time, dining and story telling. I was very lucky to have had this night there, and several others afterward. Henry's intelligence and whimsy, his generosity of spirit and true genius was life altering. In his later years, even though he was Henry Miller, he did not have an arrogant bone in his body. He really seemed to me the embodiment of an amazing, inquisitive, expansive mind. A great mind . A tremendous heart and spirit. To this day Henry Miller was the sexiest, most beguiling, captivating, man I have ever met.