Notes On Attention Paid

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The Journals of Denton Welch

… DW was continually meeting strangers, having extended conversations with them and often being invited into their homes… he seems to have met people easily… more easily than i do… was it an easier time for people meeting?…

… DW has incorporated the people he knew into his fictional work without much disguise, often changing their last names while retaining the first… i have a feeling that i should read at least one of the fictional works, but i am anxious to move on to the so-many-other books i have waiting… to dive further down the rabbit hole or not, that is the question…

… after 10 years, Evie leaves him to work for some ladies in Cornwall though it seems it didn’t last more than a month and it seems Eric and DW didn’t expect it to last long…

… this:

 I know tonight it is best for me to be alone most of the time — near people who wish me well and like to see me, but alone; for in loneness everything seems to grow into its proper place and there’s hardly any waste of spirit. What little there is does not offend, it’s is one’s own fault, one lets it pass.1

… how well i relate to this sentiment… precisely the way i like my world to operate…

… and this:

 yet it is most important to have people near one that one need hardly see. Without this consciousness of other human beings I think almost all of us are liable to be swamped by the power of matter. One’s strength is not enough to bear this with no other help near.2

… this makes me remember the countless hours i have spent in coffee shops and lunch shops, just to be near people but not, generally, to talk with them, unless they were attractive young women…

… i miss pre-covid life… i felt comfortable with more people around me then… i have chosen Trax on 52 as my winter “headquarters,” precisely because so few people go there in the morning… i would rather go to Big Mouth or even Kitchen and Coffee (despite it’s plain vanilla decor and music)… there are more people there as the hour gets later… i like to start with a place virtually empty, then watch the regulars and newcomers come and go… i like to observe and write about them in this journal… the pandemic has not been easy, but i have been well suited to what it requires of us for safety… my habits didn’t change much at all…

… DW has an old doll house he got from a friend… he lovingly restored it… he mentions it in his journals when he finds something suitable to add to its interior… at this moment he mentions a little pin cushion in the shape of a stool that is so much more the stool than the pin cushion that he buys it immediately for the doll house… it is interesting to be furnishing one’s full scale living quarters simultaneously with a doll house… a house within a house, like the nested Russian dolls… one imagines that he wears the full-scale house and decor, as most of us do, as an extension of his psyche, but also, this miniature house… do they engage different aspects of the nesting instinct?… one could build a short story around this…


  1. The Journals of Denton Welch, p 270 [return]
  2. Ibid, p 270 [return]