iscussions with J.D. McClatchy during a trip in June 1974 to Sea Island, Georgia showed Paul Monette that there was not just gay sex but a gay sensibility: ".[I]t was a watershed, to think that I could tap into that sensibility, however little I understood it yet. Certainly, my writing would never be the same .." That same trip later gave Monette the setting for a sex scene in his first novel.
During Monette's years in the closet, he longed to see "two men in love and laughing." He "also felt this hollow dread, that I'd finally meet the laughing man and let him slip away because I didn't really believe I could bring it off." On September 3, 1974, Monette was introduced to Roger Horwitz at a party given by Richard Howard in Boston. In Horwitz, Monette had met the "laughing man," and together they brought it off: "And from that moment on the brink of summer's end, no one would ever tell me again that men like me couldn't love."
Horwitz was born in 1941 and raised in Skokie, Illinois, and had traveled and worked in Europe. He had two degrees from Harvard, first a doctorate in comparative literature, writing about the French novelist Henri Thomas, and then a law degree.
The photographs displayed show Horwitz probably in Europe or Israel as a young man, at his 1972 graduation with his father, Al, and his mother, Bernice, and with Monette, probably around 1980.
Also in the papers are photographs of Horwitz, Kikel, and Craig Rowland nude at the beach, each young "laughing man" looking fit and happy physically. Poet Allen Ginsberg said that after Stonewall and gay liberation in 1969, gay men "no longer looked afraid," or as if they believed they were "twilight men" doomed to neurosis and depression. This photo is one small example of that change.
In 1977 Monette and Horwitz moved to Los Angeles, "like Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer," Monette noted in an interview, "though I couldn't tell you which is which." Horwitz established a private law practice.
Horwitz's half brother was Sheldon Andelson, a prominent gay man living in Los Angeles. When the gay economics of the late 1970s and early 1980s came into play, Andelson had made investments and prospered and held political influence in the gay community and the political communities at large. In 1980 he was appointed the first openly gay Regent of the University of California by Governor Edmund G. (Jerry) Brown, Jr. Thus, Monette and Horwitz had entrée to an elite level of Los Angeles gay and political life from the beginning. Roger had a private law practice and they both were active supporters of the gay and lesbian community's social services organizations and A Different Light, the gay and lesbian bookstore in Silver Lake, among other LGBT organizations and causes.
Their lives were prosperous and golden until the advent of AIDS. During a trip to Paris in 1983, Horwitz noted at the bottom of the first page of a Clarefontane notebook: "These spells of fatigue.age? Some virus? Nothing at all? Time to get up & move on, says Paul."
It was something, and nothing was the same when Horwitz was diagnosed with AIDS. Monette became Horwitz's caregiver but also contracted HIV. Horwitz died October 22, 1986. Monette gave Horwitz's memorial stone the inscription "the wisest and justest and best," as Plato had said of Socrates. Monette received dozens of letters of sympathy from friends and strangers, letters preserved in the Monette papers. One from Los Angeles writer Michael Grace shows typical shock and sadness: "What can you say?- when someone who was so sweet and kind a person is stuck with something so ugly and devastating ."
Roger Horwitz as a young man
Roger Horwitz with his mother and father at graduation
Horwitz, Rudy Kikel, and Craig Rowland nude at the beach
Roger Horwitz and Paul Monette
Roger Horwitz's notebook in France - the cover
Roger Horwitz's notebook in France - the first page
Letter of condolence from Michael Grace