Notes On Attention Paid

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The Journals of Denton Welch

… DW recounting a reunion at the boarding school he ran away from… the young men he describes seem to be gay, or willing to allow themselves close physical proximity to DW, who is… in an odd way, a partially closeted gay in his own journals… walking up to the subject of attraction to other males, and even sexual experiences with them, without being point blank explicit…

… DW receives news of his father’s death and confesses to little sadness about it… echoes of D’s death and the relief felt… engaging with M easier free of D’s angry, jealous presence…

… as i continue to read DW’s journals i am getting the sensation of Proust with the attention to detail and the amazing memory… i wonder if he really remembered in such fine detail or embellished with details as one might add color to the outlined spaces of a coloring book… that is, the outlines are accurate but the details are imagined and hung on the skeleton of the outlines…

… it is so interesting how he describes enthrallment with the body of a young man, a little older than DW, who walked up to him by the banks of a stream… removing his clothes and going for a swim… not minding DW’s longing(?) gaze passing over his body… no need to bluntly proclaim the obvious… he states it in every action and gesture described… it reminds me of my young manhood just after college… a young black man took an interest in me… he was gay and courting me, dangling his editorship of some design magazine… asking me to dinner and making his desires clear (did i really not know?)… i was not repulsed, even somewhat attracted, but demurred… i had a couple of sexual experiences with boys my age when i was a randy teenager exploring my sexuality… gay men were from time to time drawn to me… i didn’t mind but steadfastly proceeded down the path of heterosexuality where i have been since… sometimes i wonder what it might have been like if i were more adventurous, more willing to break the norms…

… i reach a place in DW’s journals where he is being compared to Proust by a critic… it’s nice to have such a thought confirmed from other sources… gives me confidence in my ability to assess and understand what i am reading…