First notes…

227.8 lbs

… first day of following No S diet… weight loss… it’s one day… i will see if i can keep it up…

… last night, as i was lying in bed i wrote a note… “i am beginning to imagine the unimaginable”… that is, i am beginning to imagine the United States as a failed democracy… i have started to give up hope that the ship can be righted… i did this partly on the advice of Oliver Burkeman, author of Four Thousand Weeks, and partly out of real despair that the political stars are aligned against democracy right now…

… this morning i read Heather Cox Richardson’s posts from yesterday and today… hope flickered to life… the stage is set… a battle for the soul of the country will unfold in the coming weeks and months as the January 6 Commission makes its case to the public… and the Senate will try to amend the filibuster in order to protect voting rights… if enough people believe the findings of the J6 Commission, and the Senate passes voting rights legislation, all may not be lost…

… in the meantime, what i can do is help make sure the small levers of democracy where i live aren’t corrupted and make genuinely good information available to anyone who will read/listen… and, of course, i will vote like democracy depends on it…

… more broadly however, in the department of letting go of hope, i acknowledge that this democracy may well be reaching the end of its run… the cosmos, as Burkeman and so many before him have pointed out, really doesn’t care if democracy continues in the US or not… it simply unfolds and humanity responds in whatever way helps it survive… it may even be that the welling up of intelligence on the planet is pointed to an advancement that will have little to do with human freedom… i prefer to think not, but this is the trend of the “dominant culture”, for a few powerful elites to be in control and for the rest of us to be subsumed in effective slavery…

… i think to myself, nobody asks to live in a time when the social order turns itself upside down… i think to myself, i did not plan for my old age to be lived out in times of social order dismantling… i planned for it to run out in relative peace and quiet… i wonder if senior citizens overtaken by WW II felt this way?… looking forward to a little peace and quiet and not being challenged by the rigors of making a living and what happens?, a devastating war… as a white, middle class male, am i one of the few to have this blessing?… it did not feel that way as my life unfolded… there were certainly disappointments and challenges… but was i ever really challenged the way, say, a black man is challenged in our society?… we all have troubles… some of us from positions of relative advantage… even with that, there are troubles…

… i was thinking yesterday, why do people write?… originally, to express and communicate, to develop and record collective wisdom… i was thinking about this because i was thinking about how the dominant culture turns writing from expression and communication into a means for economic ends… we are made to believe that we must have an audience because we can’t monetize if we don’t have an audience… for this reason, we don’t accumulate wisdom and share it freely… we put a price tag on it… and because the ability to put a price tag on it means the work must be marketed, we start to see a world in which wisdom doesn’t prevail, only what is marketable prevails… words are useless if one can’t monetize them in this society… but really, reading and writing is about developing and communicating wisdom…

… we started watching Station 11 last night… central to the narrative is a graphic novel written by a young black woman… she writes and draws, but nobody has ever seen more than little bits and pieces of what she writes and draws… one day, she delivers a copy to her ex and says, “i finished it”… until that moment, she does it only for herself… this to me is the purest form of creation… work done entirely for its own sake… work done because we feel compelled to do it… that is what this blog, this Notes On Attention Paid is… something i do trying not to hope anyone will read it and doggedly pursuing it even though nobody reads it… i apply time out of my precious 4K weeks to doing it largely because i don’t seem to be able to not do it… it anchors me… it gives me something meaningful to do…

Who Knew that Ulysses and Obsidian played so nice together?

… probably many of you, but not me… i have figured out how to get the best of both worlds and it involves a feature of Obsidian that i just stumbled on, which is ‘open in default app’… yesterday, as i was poking around, i clicked on it and low and behold, Ulysses opened up and was displaying the page i had just been working on!… i must have been asked what my ‘default app’ should be when i first installed Obsidian, but it was a complete surprise to me to discover the connection… so now, i start a page in Obsidian… open it in Ulysses and type away… post to Micro.blog when i am ready, tag it, etc… it continues to reside in Obsidian which becomes the archive upon which all the mapping magic can happen… what bliss!…

The Journals of Denton Welch

… DW says not to worry what people will think about his journal writing, time will eradicate what it needs to and embrace the rest… he thinks people will blush reading the journal, not in 200 years time, maybe a little in 100 years time… well, it is not quite 80 years time that i am reading it… no blushing here… i suppose he might have been referring to some of his remarks about people he met… he sometimes wasn’t kind… people who knew the people might blush…

… DW is more and more often sick… all of this flows from the accident he had when 20… i wonder what got so messed up the it should become a slow but steady decline until he dies in his early 30’s… what the cosmos serves up to people… it’s a crap shoot really… by any measure, the cosmic forces that be have smiled on me… i wish i felt better about it all… i still want to find that fundamental truth that makes it all ok…

The Journals of Denton Welch

… DW has been asked to write an article supporting nudity at boarding schools as a means of reducing sexual interaction… he believes it will have the reverse effect…

… he writes frequently about passing through army camps no longer in use… military ghost towns left from the Second World War…

… DW frequently has fans write him and even show up to visit… i have rarely reached out to anyone i appreciated the work of… once or twice to photographers… i am not very interested in celebrity if it isn’t my own and i have no celebrity myself to speak of…

… i have reached page 300, seventy to go… it’s been a long read, sometimes boring, often enough interesting to keep me going…

First Thoughts

Weight: 231.8

… i will be writing my weight down daily to help me get it back under control…

… started the morning with a review of the first week of journal entries in 2021… i am hoping to review all 52 weeks during the month of December and identify themes that emerged over the year… my system of tagging and saved filters is proving enormously valuable in this effort… i am able to gather together the attention i have paid to people, books and topics by person, title and topic…

… yesterday’s FT with M and J was a little fraught… M and i got into it briefly over January 6, 2021… they have bought the idea that it was a legitimate protest… that infuriated me… i had hoped for better from them… J also got on my nerves a bit over website optimization issues… i need to do some further research into how Square Space handles search engine optimization before we talk more about that… they seem to think i have not done what could be done while i think we pretty much have…

… my weight situation, disappointing, but what should i have expected given two Thanksgiving dinners etc…

… it is already proving enormously satisfying to read through the past year’s journal entries… it is turning out to be time intensive because i am having to fill in keywords and set up filters for a plethora of people, readings and ideas… i don’t think i got super religious about this until about mid-year and i didn’t start gathering things together in saved filters until the end of the summer, beginning of the fall… if i can keep the pace and get it done for the year, i should have an impressive list of ideas, people and readings to share as a summary of my year…

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]

The Journals of Denton Welch

… this passage:

It is quite true that a general unwillingness to appreciate robs most people of their eyes, nose, mouth, ears, limbs. They are trunks of wood always repudiating; although they have already been deprived of all sense and movement.

… there is an odd connection between the people DW describes here and the lunatic fringe that would hang their fellow citizens in this country in this time… the rabble roused to illogical belief in conspiracies of evil being perpetrated against them…

… the character of Evie interests me… she was, essentially, a housekeeper and cook for DW… she lived with him and moved wherever he moved… he describes her as inhuman, by which i think he suggests that she is a remote or distant sort of character… what led her to be this sort of figure in a young and damaged man’s life?… what personal life did she have?… it seems we are never told…

… i read about the Essays of Elia, written by Charles Lamb… DW relished them in his youth (while convalescing from his accident?)… i find a copy on the internet, offered by the Library of Congress…

… as i am reading, i am listening to a marvelous set of cello suites performed by Marcus Wagner… Paul Torelier has composed one set… we have a set of Bach Cello suites performed by Tortelier in our music collection that i have listed to over and over and over again… its good music to be going in the background while you are reading, studying, editing photographs, writing…

The Journals of Denton Welch

… this interesting passage:

We saw in front of us the little untutored Gothic revival church — how much better, sometimes, only a little knowledge is! The person who built this church was unclogged with “book-learning” and so his church is unrepulsive and almost pretty and good. But I am well aware how dangerous this gospel of ignorance can be. It is, I suppose, excuse for every inanity. Things only are good because they are good. But ignorance or book learning can help or hinder according to other circumstances that shall combine with them.1

… there is a potentially profound truth here… we make a big deal about book learning… high school, college, post-graduate learning… in general, these things are positive for individuals and society, but they are never a guarantee of wisdom and good judgement… wisdom and judiciousness are qualities that one has or doesn’t… they seem more fundamental to bringing forward good things than book learning… i don’t know if they can be cultivated or not… generally speaking, some level of restraint is needed in one’s personality to make room for these qualities…

… we are past the war in the journals, which, until the doodle-bugs arrived, featured pretty peripherally in them… but still, little things that are memories of the war pop up… windows in an historic church blown out and yet to be repaired… a friend stopping by with camping equipment issued during the war… a tartan rug with two round holes in it, bullet or moth?… he’s not sure…


  1. The Journals of Denton Welch, pp 247-48. [return]

The Journals of Denton Welch

… i read about ten pages… the book is long, almost 400 pages… i am a little beyond half way done… the entries have become more extended which i attribute to the happiness he has found with Eric… at times it seems endless, but mostly it is satisfying reading the relatively unpolished thoughts and observations… i have a desire to read some of his more polished writing and story telling, but i also have a long line of books waiting to be read… i keep buying them because they seem interesting… i am not a fast reader, especially because i make notes as i go…

… it’s later in the day… more reading in the Journals… i come across this:

Last night in the moon — head on my shoulder, and the screeching owl flickering across the lawn, through the trees and back again; while the cow mooed sadly for its bull. All stillness in the room, only the arch of grey light from the Gothic window living across the polished floor and the end of the bed. Moment that can never be made again, only known in years afterwards.1

… and this:

I suppose money is so fascinating, so repelling and so tiring because it has the power to draw all forms of ingenuity out of people.2

… fish pudding is mentioned as part of a meal… i look it up and find a recipe for Fiskepudding, Norwegian Fish Mousse… i save it to Paprika…

… he complains he has nothing to write or is not writing well, but since Eric came into his life he seems to write more and more completely… there is a gradual maturing goin on… he is having success, settling down… if only his health would improve, which we know it doesn’t…


  1. The Journals of Denton Welch, p 220. [return]
  2. Ibid. [return]

The Journals of Denton Welch

… i am passing through a stretch where journal entries are long and very detailed… the kind of details that flesh out a scene, make it more than matter of fact circumstance, people and objects described as if DW wants to take firm possession of them in his memory…

… i think about the Perec book, with the minimal detail of unremarkable things, only finding the barest representation of what the thing or person or animal is and leaving it at that… i begin to realize there are many ways to report out on the quotidian…

… DW seems to be most concerned with the objects that accompany his and other’s lives, the way that people impact him, noting his feelings about them…

… i am trying to put my finger on something… the way these journals unfold… they are tellings of daily happenings and impressions and you know that there won’t be a dramatic climax, but rather a series of smaller climaxes along with their attendant valleys… the rhythm of a life… none of it terribly important but all of it necessary…

The Journals of Denton Welch

… i might be getting bored with them… but i would like to get to the end, so i will persist…

… life with Eric settles, they live together now… despite the occasional bomb blast and sick day, all is bliss…

The moon shone through the Gothic window on my face. It had nothing to tell but stillness, dead wonder, magic that changes everything from heat and fear to the silver of the snails forgotten trail.

When Erik was away and I lay in bed so still with books, my thoughts, the pretty things I have collected, I thought that all I really wanted was to be alone, to think and to dream in a daze about work I shall do. But now that he is asleep on the bed, I find I can still think and dream, and I even feel better physically because someone is here if I should not feel well.

There’s always this question with me, to be alone or not. Really, to be alone is my nature. If it were not so, I would not have been alone as much as I have.

Is reverie really what people live for, and do they just do things to feed their reverie?1

… as i read the above, i see reflections of myself… as H would tell anyone, i am a loner… it’s partly true, i like my alone time and i do a great deal to feed my reveries… i have managed to work out a way to have the alone time… it’s why i get up at 4 AM… H will sleep to at least 7 (when i am usually heading out the door for my walk)… for three often blissful hours i read and write… feed my reveries then write them down and share them with the world, which really isn’t interested but i only care a little about that… i envy DW’s success in getting published, but realize that i would have to pull myself together and write something more contained than this sprawling journal which nobody has time, even if interested, to read more than a little of… the journal is the thing to me… this daily reporting of the randomly important details of my life and reveries… this window into the ordinariness of life, my life… yes DW, i at least live in large part for my reveries…

… this seems a good place to stop… the place where the reveries have been fed and then regurgitate onto the computer screen and fired off into the www…


  1. Welch, Denton. The Journals of Denton Welch. p 173 [return]

The Journals of Denton Welch

… the war injects itself more and more… deaths on the front… V-1 (doodle-bug) rocket bombs starting to fall…

_On Thursday last I went towards the river and I saw truck after truck with a huge red cross on it winding slowly along the road — quite 50 of them. And I thought of the soldiers inside — their wounds and torn bodies.

I picnic by the river in the boiling sun, in only my shorts; then I bicycled right along the banks until I felt the sun burning into the dip between my shoulder blades.1

… these two paragraphs together are surprising… DW observes the war from a distance, getting on with the pleasures of his life… it’s quite the juxtaposition…

… DW talks about Italian prisoners of war roaming the countryside and going for swims in the streams… no POW camps?…

… DW picnics all the time… the war seems of little consequence and concern, impinging on him daily and sometimes dangerously close, but his reporting of it is like the reporting of a minimal nuisance, like a mosquito… he sees it but it seems to have little impact… one wonders if he ever thought of volunteering his time?… if so, he never mentions it… overall, he seems very self involved… on the other hand, aren’t journals the place where we get to be self involved?…

_ in the past through the barley field by East Peckham sluice gates I found a little flat red stone or piece of glass with a masonic symbol on it; and I have put it in my pocket for my fortune. Up above, the doodle bugs are whizzing up to London with the guns banging black puffs in the sky.

Just in the river was a vicious plop, which is a spiked finger of shrapnel diving.2

… there is something surreal about the way he recounts all this… as if he is narrating a film, not actually threatened with death and dismemberment…


  1. The Journals of Denton Welch, p 157 [return]
  2. Ibid, p 160 [return]

The Journals of Denton Welch

… yes, titled posts when i am reading and writing about a book or an article… it makes sense then…

… this passage:

When you long with all your heart for someone to love you, madness grows there that shakes all sense from the trees and the water and the earth. And nothing lives for you, except the long deep bitter want. And this is what everyone feels from birth to death.1

… i suppose he is really thinking about unrequited love… my experience of love that is in any way returned, is that it is sweet, not bitter, even loves that can’t be consummated…

… DW’s torment over Eric…

And we had prawns and lettuce hearts and partridge eggs, and macaroni, and plum flan and peppermint cream and coffee and apple juice.2

… what a curious menu…

… on the sixth of June, he notes “that the invasion had begun on Northern France”3… the war doesn’t figure much in the journals even though they are written entirely within the war… i am trying to imagine living in Europe during WW II, keeping this journal, and saying very little about it… did he really pay so little attention to such a consequential unfolding of history?… was he really that self involved?… even this mention of the invasion is one made in passing…

… and now it seems the Northern France invasion has made ignoring the war all but impossible…

 I thought it was strange to sit with elderly ladies in such a clean, such a Tudorized house with radiators and frigidaires, while the most unspeakable atrocities were happening in mass is only 100 miles away at least.4


  1. Welch, Denton, The Diaries of Denton Welch, p 145 [return]
  2. Ibid, pp 150-151 [return]
  3. Ibid, p 150 [return]
  4. Ibid, p 151 [return]

The Diaries of Denton Welch

… been a few days since i have had time to read the diaries… when i left off, DW’s relationship with Eric is in the infatuation stage… he seems so young, he is in his 20’s, but he seems almost childlike in his racing about the countryside on his bicycle… he mentions something called a ha-ha… i look it up… a wall set in a ditch so as not to interrupt the vista…

… DW and E spent part of their lives in close proximity without meeting… it reminds me of H and i… we spent our teenage years in towns separated by a few miles… frequented some of the same spots… possibly were in those spots at the same time… but we were not to meet one another until much later… i too wish we had met earlier… would we have even liked each other?… i was immature for my age for a long time…

… E has been away but then comes home… they are reunited and the world closes in around their new relationship bliss…

… DW describes a watch he is given by a friend on his birthday… i remember a watch i was given or encouraged to buy by M, back in the day… i don’t remember if a birthday was involved…

It is happiness to have things liked, but when I’m ill as I was on Wednesday and other days lately everything pales to nothing and I want to die more than anything on earth.

I think all I can do is keep my work going as long as I can. And if I can no longer, then will I die.

… this is the primal condition for most of us… as long as we work, have something meaningful to do, are able to do it… we live… when we can’t, we proceed to the departure lounge… i keep thinking that before i get to that lounge i want to have understood what life is all about… i want it’s profound truth(s) to have been revealed to me… i have been earnest for so long… i feel life owes me that… but of course… it doesn’t…

… enough DW for this morning…

The Journals of Denton Welch

… Eric Oliver appears in DW’s life… it is interesting how matter of fact DW is about his gayness… he describes in great detail time spent with EO, makes it very clear that he loves him, but has yet to say anything much about a sexual relationship…

… a remarkable passage of existential angst…

 Again I felt nothing but all the sadness and parting and dying and diseases in the world. All the accidents and hate in the long, long everlasting going-on-ness of it all. I thought that I and Eric and all people living were nothing but the reflection of all the thousand million people who have gone before, and I thought that in a long time, almost no time at all, we would all be gone again and swept away.1

… it’s all EO all the time now… total infatuation… EO seems to be bisexual… DW describes the attraction between him and a woman friend, and how they go off together alone to do he knows exactly what… apparently EO thought the girl was “passionate”… sexuality is implied often but not talked about overtly… discretion seems to be the dominating force… finally, there is a kiss, one, to comfort… he so doesn’t make a point of the homosexuality… it just is and this is probably as it should be…

… i did a search on Eric Oliver who’s noted accomplishment seems confined to being Denton Welch’s companion and executor of his estate…


  1. Welch, Denton, The Journals of Denton Welch, p 125 [return]

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?…

The Journals of Denton Welch

… women continue to be “supporting cast” in DW’s journals… he is all about the men and seems to manage a level of intimacy with total strangers that is surprising given my understanding of the difficult time men have talking to one another… and i wonder if any of them suspect he is gay?… the men are brief encounters as he moves about the world… none yet has become a lover, or at least, that he is willing to tell about in his journals… i imagine him as an effeminate man who aspired to take the place of the ladies the young men he befriended would talk about as men do…

… an extended set of entries describing a rogue man named Monte… this set of entries becomes the basis of a book, we are told… Monte is an incorrigible liar and confidence man… one wonders whether these entries are entirely fact or already the fictional account that will make its way into a book at a later date… DW seems to have regularly penned things into his journal that were rough drafts or sketches for something more ambitious later…

The Journals of Denton Welch

… DW appears to be a bit of an aristocrat in attitude if not in actual wealth… he seems to admire the trappings of wealth, refined things, interiors, private pew boxes for the wealthy…

… and then, a passage describing an encounter with a young working class man… he seemed to be attracted to pleasantly muscled with labor and tanned from sun exposure young men… it’s his version of a pinup that he might pleasure himself to… it’s rather contradictory, a bit Lady Chatterly’s lover, LGBTQ+ version…

John Cowper Powys A Philosophy of Solitude is mentioned… Wikipedia describes this book and two other non-fiction products as better aligned with the self-help books of the modern era… offering advice on the achievement of happiness in an otherwise ordinary and mean existence…

… DW goes on at length about all the “boys” he encounters in the landscape… very few women and when encountered, a more matter of fact and brief assessment… well healed and well connected women are worth his time in description but mostly he has eyes for the men… homosexuality is a clear subtext of his observations of men and boys… so clear that it is frank and honest without being in your face…

The Journals of Denton Welch

… so far, i am not certain of the broader value of DW’s journaling… his descriptive powers and command of the English language are, as advertised, impressive… but he seems arrogant, self indulgent and often petty in his assessments of people around him… i am not sure i see the potential for any profound observations… an observation that dives to the core of what it is to be human in this cosmos… or perhaps he is the profound observation… a complicated human being that seems more honest than many in his journals…

… most who write about him or his work excuse his less attractive qualities because of his accident and the, reputedly, constant pain he suffered… they make him out as a kind of saint to endure such affliction and produce so much so well… i think at best one can excuse him for being young and vain, complicated by his unfortunate physical circumstances and consequent short life…

… i read further and recognize the over abundant passion of a young man responding to the cosmos around him… the lovely description of an oriental lacquer screen in the fading daylight…

… and then, a really lovely entry, from his sick bed, imagining an historic old house as it might have been inhabited more than a century before… observations of the solemn, harsh adults, the contrasting gaiety of children and of servants quarreling and making love… this starts to be less the arrogant, over passionate youth, and more the maturing writer who is beginning to understand restraint and, in any case, is focused on something other than himself for the moment…

… the description of a suicide attempt… the rough draft for a story… compelling… the editor of the book warns in a footnote that the scene is fictional… still, it compels me to think it real and i wonder whether there is some basis in facts as all DW’s work is autobiographical… he writes powerfully in this passage… i begin to be a fan despite his foibles…

The Journals of Denton Welch

… there is mention of an article on Gerard (Manley) Hopkins… DW apparently admires him as a genius and is disappointed in the article for making him seem ordinary… i have no idea who this is so I look him up… an English poet and Jesuit Priest who became widely recognized, posthumously, for his poetry… he was an innovator who influenced the work of T. S. Eliot, Dylan Thomas, W. H. Auden, Stephen Spender and Cecil Day-Lewis… i read about sprung rhythm… it does not make complete sense to me…

… Hopkins was becoming a recognized poet at the time DW was writing his journals… one wonders if he knew of him before his popularization or as a result of that… it makes a difference to his assessment of Hopkins… did he recognize him as a genius on his own?… or was he being told he was a genius?…

a link to the poetry of Hopkins…

… oh my, DW has such a huge opinion of himself…

This is a terribly muddled state to be in. It shows that I can never be true friends with anyone except distant women — far away. For I wish for communion with the inarticulate and can only fray and fritter with the quick. I would tinsel, tinsel all the day if I were so placed. Yet I love myself and my company so much that I would not even ask the soldier to come in for fear of his becoming a regular visitor. I even feel people pollute my house who come into it.1

… not much progress this AM… a little distracted…


  1. Welch, Denton, The Journals of, p 11 [return]

Me and my iPhone Camera

… i have all this camera equipment laying around… good equipment… equipment that has served me well… at the moment, just laying around… since the iPhone camera has started to deliver RAW format images of very high quality, it is my go to camera for everyday work, and i “work” every day…

… i am searching for a new voice, a different voice, with it… something suited to my concept of notes on attention paid… that is, when i am out and about, what do i notice?… what do i want to make pictures of?… it’s a journaling process and as such, i strive to make it part of my journaling effort… this effort…

Denton Welch, The Journals of

… read the the jacket flaps… read a wikipedia article discussing the varying editions… i have the 1984 edition which is expanded but noted as having several misprints and misreadings…

… as i turn to the introduction by Michael De-la-noy, i take note of the small type and the length of the book, 371 pages… this will take some time…

… astoundingly, i learn he could not read until the age of 9, but traveled far and wide with his mother… his family was well off…

He was, as Edith Sitwell never tired of telling him, a born writer, and everything he wrote was written after he was condemned to death.1

… just finished De-la-noy’s introduction… i am certain i will enjoy the journals…


  1. De-la-noy, Michael, The Journals of Denton Welch, p ix [return]

First Thoughts

… lots swimming around in my brain this morning… watched Derek Jarman’s The Garden last night… Senate Republicans blocked discussion on a pared down voting rights bill authored by Manchin who had claimed he could get ten Republicans to back it… that, since learning how to season and care for my cast iron pans, they have become my most used and loved pans in the kitchen… how well my Jelly Comb vertical mouse works and how all neck and shoulder pain in my mousing arm side has disappeared… that i will start the journals of Denton Welch this morning… that i had no alcohol last night and feel better this morning, though not as wonderful as the day on Block Island when i had no alcohol and drank sumac-aide, i was euphoric on that day, so i wonder, is sumac a tonic?…

… so, back to the top, The Garden, a strange and wonderful film… about repression of gays, especially by the church… about relentlessly invasive modern society… about capitalism’s relentless presence… the imagery, oh the imagery, so inspiring… so damn good… i had only an inkling of what the movie would be like from Modern Nature… knew that Tilda Swinton was in it… didn’t realize that Jarman himself appears in numerous places… the film concocted as a set of dreams… the landscapes of Dungeness spectacularly bleak and desert like, and in the shadow of a nuclear power plant… did he buy the cottage because it would make a fantastic filming location?…

… as for voting rights… ahhh the filibuster, whither the filibuster?… we are up against a wall, the moment when the country decides whether it is white, male patriarchal, or a multiarchy?… the numbers are on the side of the multiarchy, the power balance presently skewed in favor of patriarchy… what will be the outcome?… disaster, from my point of view, if the filibuster is not amended for arguably the most important historical moment of my longish life…

… cast iron pans, what a difference proper seasoning and maintenance makes!… i had always tried to take good care of them, but i finally learned how… past the basic seasoning routine (a thin application of grape seed oil, one hour in a 500 degree oven, repeat several times), learning to rinse with hot water, even soak briefly, has been transformative… then drying, heating up and application of a thin coat of oil before storing… that’s it… my pans are mostly non-stick and when they do stick, cleanup is easy… long live cast iron pans!… and they do, properly cared for…

… another piece of equipment that is working well is my Jelly Comb vertical mouse… i have been through so many input devices… this is the one that works and i love it!…

… the journals of Denton Welch… read the short bio on the cover flaps… somewhat sad but amazing figure… a bad accident when he was 20 partially paralyzed him and left him in continuous until his death 13 years later… reputedly a prolific and brilliant writer… he trended homosexual…

… about no alcohol… always feel better the next day… when will i be able to profit from that knowledge?…

… must see if i can buy sumac commercially… and i can… powdered for use in cooking, as tea, loose or in bags… the latter is expensive… i am going to check the health food stores for the tea, will order the ground version from Spice House…

… the horn of a freight train in the distance… Fiona exhales a deep breath while sleeping on the bed near by…

Journaling, A New Rabbit Hole

… it started with Modern Nature, a journal kept during the years 1990-1991 by Derek Jarman… it chronicles time following his initial diagnosis as HIV positive… it’s been a very interesting read, with several references to other interesting reads… one of them is The Journals of Denton Welch… DJ admired, as, apparently, most people do, the prose of Denton Welch… i wanted to see what precise, crystalline prose looked like so i ordered a used copy of the book which arrived yesterday…

… so, that makes two journals on my reading list… no wait, i seem to recall purchasing the journals of Sylvia Plath too… three journals on my reading list…

… this morning i read a review of No. 91/92: Notes on a Parisian Commute, by Lauren Elkin… it’s a journal of the quotidian… brief notes typed into a smartphone during her bi-weekly commuting routine… yup… something i have done, still do… from this review i learn about Georges Perec who had a cataloguing methodology and was a champion of noticing the small events that make up life… she was also inspired by the journaling of Annie Ernaux… some lengthy poking around to find an example of the journaling… nothing pops up as a journal per se, but her writing is autobiographical… more exploration later…

… and so, it seems the cosmos is driving me down a rabbit hole on journaling…

… it is time for my walk… i will have more to say on this rabbit hole…