Notes On Attention Paid

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The Journals of Denton Welch

… what an interesting entry:

 I seem to have spent a great deal of my childhood in prison — other people’s prisons. The Black Tulip prison, the French Revolution prisons, the Spanish Inquisition prisons. And the horror of those prisons was so real to me that I often look back and vaguely remember straw, the filthy food, the oozing walls and the toads on the floor, as if I were really once in that situation. Whenever I hear about prisons, I seem to imagine that I have experience confinement myself.

… would one engage so strongly in prison fantasy if one were not feeling in a prison themselves?… i wonder what DW’s prison was… certainly it was his physical infirmity in adulthood, but this memory takes place in childhood before the accident that ruined his health… would it be closeted homosexuality?… that would be the major suspect, but without knowing more about his life, i don’t know if there were other prisons to be endured…

… DW describing a visit to a wealthy woman to deliver a painting of her pug… DW seems to be comfortably bourgeois… i think to myself that a painting of a pug could not be breaking any new ground in art… is it pandering to the wealthy for sustenance?… the journals so far leave me with the impression that while DW was open to experiences, and rendered them in often considerable detail in his journals, that there isn’t anything particularly extraordinary about him other than his penchant for prose writing… i will have to read one of his fictional works before i arrive at a firm opinion… in any case, my efforts are no more groundbreaking or notable… not even as notable, because i’ve had little success at being noticed in general… he is going places and doing things that i can only imagine the equivalent of in my time on earth… my movement through this time and space is more mundane… yet i write about it and publish what i write… am i any less arrogant?…