From David S. Reynolds, Walt Whitman’s America: A Cultural Biography, one of the too-many books I bought today:
At bottom, [Whitman’s] distaste for pornography was linked to his hostility to prissiness and sexual repression. The scabrous and the repressed, he thought, were two sides of the same cultural coin. Both reflected skewed versions of womanhood and manhood.
That quote was basically the point at which I stopped skimming and said, “This book is too interesting not to bring home.”
Today was one of the best days I can recall in some weeks, possibly since I left Princeton. I slept late, had coffee and a sandwich at my neighborhood coffeeshop; wrote an essay that is not particularly PC, but with which I’m quite pleased; discovered a canal with a very pleasant accompanying towpath; bought and ate a very expensive but very delicious cupcake; bought and began to read some awesome books from my thus-far favorite DC bookstore; and even put in a good three hours’ worth of work-I-get-paid-for. For the first time in quite a while, I sat and read 100 pages at a stretch—one of the books I bought. I assuaged my guilt at having spent the money, and at the fact that it is yet another gay male book, with the thought that at least I was reading for pleasure. I don’t do that nearly enough.
I realize that this is the sense of perfect life I’d built for myself by the time I left Princeton in May, revolving around the Bent Spoon and Labyrinth and walks down to Lake Carnegie and afternoons and evenings spent in the library. All that is absent now, in DC, is meals in the Rocky dining hall with my friends whom I miss daily. It’s a very weird experience to go from seeing a set of people every day to not seeing them at all for months, and I suppose that’s what happens to normal, well-adjusted people with social lives every summer—I remember my first summer after I began to have a social life in my sophomore year of high school, and how desperately I missed my friends then; how I, too shy to phone them, begged them to call me while my family was on vacation in Canada. I have built up more independence and self-sufficiency since then, and I congratulate myself on my ability to move to Washington and live on my own; I look forward to the isolation that our yearly family vacation in Canada imposes. I’m excited, after all, about all the books I’ll have time to read.
Not wanting to eclipse the issue to which I most want to draw attention, I should mention that today, too, I celebrated Stonewall by not feeling guilty about how many gay books I bought, how many gay issues I wrote about, or how many gay links I posted on Facebook. We’re here, we’re queer, and we’re going to post silly things about our personal lives anytime we damn well please.