If you are a fan of Henry Miller and his writings, including "Tropic of Cancer," you will love this intimate portrait of the last years of his life, as well as personal anecdotes from throughout his life, as told by Twinka.
Henry Miller was a larger-than-life all-American writer. His work was ground-breaking and breath-taking. But he could also talk. Until the day he died, he had what he called the “gift of the gab.” At his own table, laden with the food he loved and surrounded by famous writers, actors, painters, musicians and fans, Henry held forth on every topic imaginable. What he said was rollicking, open, honest, revealing of himself and the fabulous assortment of huge personalities he’d met in his long life, as well as ultimately showing a side of Henry few outside his circle ever saw. In this warm and charming memoir of her years under Miller’s Pacific Palisades roof, artist and model Twinka Thiebaud captures his table talk with an unerring ear… as well as penning her own intimate impressions of one of America’s greatest writers.
Twinka Thiebaud is an artist's model who, along with posing for her father, American painter Wayne Thiebaud, collaborated with many notable photographers of the 20th century. In the work of Judy Dater, one particular photo, "Imogen and Twinka," created in Yosemite National Park, became one of the most recognizable and iconic images captured by an American photographer. In it, 92-year-old Imogen Cunningham, a groundbreaking photographer in her own right, confronts and locks gaze with Twinka, who appears as a wood nymph frozen before her camera's lens. The image can been seen in private and major museum collections around the world. For three years Twinka lived with the aging novelist Henry Miller in his Pacific Palisades home acting as his cook and caretaker while working as an artist's model, posing for art students and other noted photographers; Mary Ellen Mark, Arnold Newman, Lucien Clergue, Eikoh Hosoe, and Ralph Gibson among others. At home with Miller, Twinka was captivated and delighted along with other dinnertime guests and celebrities by Miller's nightly tales of his past exploits. Listening, she began to keep a notebook of her version of what he said each evening. Eventually showing him her notes, he expressed immense enthusiasm, encouraging her to write a book. The result is a compilation of both Miller's intimate conversations and Twinka's memoirs about the years she spent living under his roof and his lasting effect on her. The fascinating topics that Miller expounds upon include Picasso, Charlie Chaplin, Norman Mailer, feminists and former wives June Miller and Anaïs Nin.
Twinka, who now lives in Portland, Oregon, is currently working on a memoir entitled "Twinka From Six to Sixty: Collected Images From the Life of an Artist’s Model." Included will be recollections of working for her father at age six in his converted chicken coop studio as well as a detailed account of what led up to the iconic photograph, “Imogen and Twinka,” taken by Judy Dater in front of a group of rowdy students at a photography workshop in Yosemite.