Why I will write — the James Joyce edition

Given the fact that I am enrolled in a Ulysses course this term, and have already been thinking A LOT about James Joyce, his writing, and his life, I figure, why not do a little of what this blog’s title convey?  Why not write about Joyce daily (or, semi-daily) and how he influences my life and my work, and what I find along this journey?

Episode One is due tomorrow at 10 AM, and I have been a little distracted by theatrical doings over the past few days, but I have already begun to make my way through all the referenced sources.  When I say “make my way through,” I truly mean it, and also have begun to realize that I will not be able to continue on in this fashion for all of term.  For instance, instead of just reading the passage referenced in Wilde’s “The Decay of Lying,” I am reading the entire play.   Familiarity with all of these works has already helped me to articulate why I believe Joyce is a genius, and why I admire him so much.

James Joyce chose his references on purpose.  He had to.  If he didn’t, then some sort of divinity guided his thoughts and his writing.  Why else, in the episode of which he himself stated that the “art” was Theology, would he quote the poem, “The Oblation” by Swinburne?

Ask nothing more of me, sweet;
All I can give you I give.
Those are the quoted/referenced lines.  It is a love poem.  It reads like a love poem.  It is one of the most beautiful poems I have read recently.  For me, it expresses true devotion.  (Bear with me, I am making my point.)
What does the title mean?  An Oblation is a gift or a sacrifice; formally, it is the offering of the bread and wine in the Mass to become the Eucharist.
Joyce did not choose any poem to quote.  He chose “The Oblation.”  Its title is not mentioned in the chapter; one would have no way of knowing the religious connotations of this love poem without searching further.  I don’t think Joyce necessarily expected any reader to search further; he did not do this for the reader.  He did this for himself.  Maybe, because he was fairly self-centered, he expected that everyone would know the reference, or look it up.

These kinds of discoveries await the dedicated Joyce/Ulysses reader, which I will be for at least the next fourteen weeks, if not longer.  My only goal is to write about Joyce eloquently enough to do him proud.


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Time passes.

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything. Or updated my Thesis Odyssey. Truth is, it’s been slow. And I’ve had a couple ideas for blog posts, but once I sit down to write one, I feel like I should be writing my project instead. In short, it’s been a rough week.

I wonder what the purpose of this blog is, truly? I’ve been looking at a peer’s blog. He went to my high school. I doubt he remembers much of me. But his writing is extremely elegant. And he exhibits a kind of control with his posts. Only creative writing.

I keep thinking that I’ll try to do this. Try to give myself days of the week to post on, or to limit myself to certain kinds of posts. I like the idea of the Missives, of the form of monologued-conversation with works of art/artists.

That’s why I titled this blog A Joycean Existence. Not to write solely about Joyce, but to engage with other works the way I engage with his — in a way that challenges me to think and to consider new points of view. I love having those moments when I seem to wake out of my normal existence with a realization.

It’s too much to expect that I have these realizations every day. I mean, I can’t always be writing Dear Elliot Stable, Dear Tina Fey, or Dear Jesse McCartney. I get into a zone with pop-culture, and I cycle through things, and I watch things or listen to things because they are easy and comfortable.

Of course, JMac was the first artist/singer I ever wrote to. That blog was actually called dearjessemccartney. It had it’s purpose. This one will have its. I will find it. And once I find it, I imagine it will be even easier to write.

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Writing Woes — the perils of distraction.

I have been painfully failling at my endeavor to update the Thesis Odyssey section of this blog daily, or even every other day. Why? Because I’ve been avoiding writing like one avoids the plague. I thought this would get easier and easier… but now, when I have a spare few hours, all I want to do is play my guitar or watch TV, or read for pleasure. (I have two new books of James Joyce’s essays sitting in my bookshelf. They are tempting me always, with those eyes… and those words…)

As the days tick on, I wonder if I can finish. And then I seemed to guarantee that I will not finish by distracting myself with blog postings, taking pictures of my food, doing that sun salutation. Will I be more successful today? Only time will tell. 5 hours until rehearsal… what can I get done?

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