Plowing Through Ulysses

Two weeks ago I found an old hardcover Modern Library edition of Ulysses by Jame Joyce in a bookstore and decided this was it, goddamn it, I'm going to fucking read me the mythically difficult Ulysses. I had a degree in English Literature, I had a master's degree in writing, I was unemployed, I was working on my eighth novel, I'd been to Ireland twice, visiting not only Joyce's statue, but the Irish Writer's Museum as well. If I wasn't the audience for this book, who the fuck was? Right? Right? Hahahahahaha!

After buying the book and taking it home, I (this is true) read the first 2 pages of Ulysses, set it down, and fell into a deep, trance like sleep. I didn't let this stop me, however. After I woke up I made a cup of black tea and went back at it, emerging from the bog with about forty pages read. And thus, I was on my way, at the pace of about thirty to fifty pages a day, and as I write this I'm on the downward slope, around 450 pages into the thicket. Here's what I've learned:

Irish people have way, way more thoughts than I do when they walk around a city.
James Joyce probably owned a plethora of encyclopedias.
If you write everything that springs into your head, you occasionally come up with many pages of streaming lingo gibberish.
It's possible to write an enormous novel by filling it with nothing but digression after digression, like a swirling whirlpool you have to just keep riding.
Ulysses can be pretty dirty in places, and funny.
Some books you just can't read while lying down.
Joyce must have had some sort of chip on his shoulder about proving how smart he was.
It is possible to just throw a 180 page surrealism play into the middle of your fiction novel! Go for it, everybody!
Irish people really do hang out in pubs!
So here's the source of Jack Kerouac and the like. I get it.

I think that's about it. I'll close with this: oh ta da ta da look at the wix wack on that paddy wack oh that reminds me to get soap she likes the jasmine she does oh there's Frank he's an oily one with those chapper clap tap trapping like the heebie Beejees wheely pop pop never catch a tram the likes o that again eye-tah-ty blooopie blew flapflapflapflap oooogie boogie boo!


neha said...

Hi Dave,

Just thought I'll hop over to say hello - Hello!

there i said it. you can reply and hello too, you know. just thought i'd say that too.

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