Wednesday, June 16, 2004


Even GOOGLE is acknowledging BLOOMSDAY today!!!!!

BLOOMSDAY is the day when James Joyce's (BEAUTIFUL, DIDACTIC, SNOBBISH, INDULGENT) novel Ulysses takes place on. Dublin, June 16th, 1904. You know, who can possibly forget chapter three, Stephen Dedalus's solitary stroll along Sandymount Strand, "Ineluctable modality of the Visible, at least that if not more. Thought seen through my eyes. Signature of all things, I am here to read..." or Leopold Blooms sozzled cogitations as he stumbles home from the brothel, helping Stephen urinate. "The pre-ordained frangibility of the hymen. The pre-ordained frangibility of the thing-in-itself in id." Or Molly Blooms sixty page single-sentence fragment that transitions into lotus shaped orgasm, "Yes I will, Yes, YES, YES!!!!!"

The book was initially banned and rightfully so becasue it doesn't make much sense. It is considered by many to be the greatest work of quote 'literary fiction' ever conceived. It is difficult and abstract even for scholars, let alone the average reader to discern. For a long time, especially in my early-twenties, James Joyce was heroin and I was a junky licking my needle in anticipation of his linguistic high. I wanted to know everything about James Joyce and to prick his antics into my flesh. I figured that if I could harness Joyce's aesthetic and master his literary parlance (not too mention he's pretentious as all get-up)I would be a great writer myself.

For a long time almost everything I spat out of my literary digestive system was merely ego driven. I made the mistake that almost all naive young writers make--I didn't want to have the burning desire to write as much as I longed to be a conspicuous writer. I wanted to carp and be a critic and assent my clefted-snobbish chin up the snobbish realms of literary pedagogy; to write maybe one or two 'scholarly-shoveled' books deemed 'literature' in my lifetime, crack open the Western cannon, wedge my flatulant prose inside it, be immortalized on a Barnes and Noble montage smoking cigarettes, have one of my own epitaphs chiseled into the marble neck of my tombstone.

I tackled and re-tackled all nine hundred erudite pages of ULYSEES (not to mention Finnegans WAKE---UCK). I wrote conceited-fictional vignettes inked in Joycean physique. I wore berets, considered myself important, used 'ugly' voabulary words in public to sound overtly intelligent. I made HUGE deals about literary theories and brushed-shoulders with semantic scholars.

I wrote stream-of-conscious Kerouac novels where single run-on sentences streamed into waterfall paragraphs that bubbled into pages upon pages of drivel and doggerel. I hurt people. I fell under the class of writers that I used to admire (David Foster Wallace, James Joyce, William Gaddis, Thomas Pynchon) that I now diagnose as having the 'SHREK' factor---their noevls are so big and so lingusitically tortuous that they are obviously TRYING TO COMPENSATE FOR SOMETHING. 'Member mama bear warned you about dating guys with big vocabularies....

I was sick.

The summer of '98 was the summer I was going to master James Joyce. I spent over $600 on elucidatory texts for Ulysses. I had the Gilbert notes, the Gifford notes. I had slides of Dublin. I had annoted drafts of Joyce's epic cached in my own writers desk. I had six-hours of Joseph Campbell lecturing on James Joyce (these would later save me. Joyce was kinda Campbell's hero. Campbell sort've helped me out--more later)....

I was alot like that person you probably had teaching your ENG 101 class who publically corrected your grammar and enjoyed making a mockery of your ideas.

Here's what I've learned. Language works when you give. When you sit on your ass and your ego everyday and (for all you other aspiring writers out there)when you care more about the person you are writing for than you do for your own writing itself. When you care more about what that beautiful, faceless, (danielaesque) creature thinks than what you think--when you care enough to give enough. You have to hold a rapport with the reader, almost like a commercial pilot...I'll take you to that place you always wanted to be. I'll entertain you, I'll help you grow along the way. I'll give you everything inside my chest so that someday you can give everything inside of your chest for soemthing you believe in...that sort've thing.

But I've ranted long enough.

1 comment:

daku said...

Ajajaj Daviid you are a giant, and I need to put my picture up to end the mystery. I bought myself a cool camera cell phone, so at least the tools are available.
I tried to read Joyce, but did not get very far. But it's still my aspiration to get through Ulysses. What you are describing really is an essence of service, I think, and this way, also worship. Wonderful.