I consider myself to be a rather erudite person. I can dissect the written word and discuss its inner workings with others. I can write about allegory with ease. I love the way a well-written sentence pours off the tongue when read aloud. My dreams often have narration. I guess what I am trying to say is that I like books.
I have read books that I don’t particularly like for various reasons. I have a hard time with Tolstoy (although I won’t argue the man’s obvious talent) because his characters seem like a bunch of uppity snobs. I can abide that in English authors but when it comes to the Russian word I prefer the proletariat characters of Dostoyevsky. I am occasionally bored with 19th century American writers because I find their tone to be rather depressing, but not in an interesting way. I like new writers and old, simple and complex, verbose and curt. However, no matter how much I like or dislike a book, I can always appreciate it for what it is.
That is, until now. I have been defeated. Twice. I have read the word and the word has spat back in my face, vehemently and with glee. It has conquered my intellect, broken down my resolve, laughed at my despair. Joyce. Damn him and his words. To be fair, not all Joyce need be damned, only Ulysses. I read this book about a year ago. I read it cover to cover. I comprehended the majority of the happenings of each page, but as a whole I couldn’t put it all together. I realize that it corresponds to The Odyssey and that my Homeric knowledge leaves something to be desired. It’s been a long time since 9th grade. Maybe if I cared enough to reread that I would be able to understand the meaning of Ulysses, but I doubt it. I understand the book takes place in the span of one day and is a very involved telling of the day’s happenings. I understand that there is much stream of consciousness inner dialogue going on. All this makes sense and as it reads alone I can comprehend. It’s the sum of all the parts that escapes me. Earlier this month I decided to try again (although I still haven’t picked up The Odyssey so maybe that should have been my first step) this morning I took the cursed book from my satchel and defiantly left it on the couch saying, “You will torment my mind no more!”
I just don’t care enough. I have accepted that Ulysses has won. I am likely not the literary mind I thought I was. I can’t understand everything. I can’t interpret the world. I don’t like admitting this. I feel like maybe I should just get some Cliff’s notes and pick the thing up again. The thing is that I have never needed those before and I don’t want to need them now. I should just understand. I should get it. This is supposed to be one of the world's great literary achievements. I should appreciate it. I can’t. I don’t know where to turn or what to do. My world has been shattered. Damn you Joyce. Damn you and your Ulysses. You have made a fool out of me.
I now turn to my one solace, music I know and you don’t (but you might)
1. Hey people looking out the window at the city below. Hey people looking out the window for the fun and sorrow.
2. Ooohh I bet you’re wondering how I knew ‘bout your plans to make be blue. I heard it through the grapevine, Marvin Gaye. Identified by Mom.
3. Everywhere I hear the sounds of marching charging feet boy. Streetfighting Man, Rolling Stones. Identified by Mom.
4. Who you trying to get crazy with ese don’t you know I’m loco. Insane in the Mmbrane, Cypress Hill. Identifid by Brooke.
5. For years I have been waiting and hesitating to make a rap record that has the pace of a slow song quiet storm chillin while the fire is warm. Time To Chill, DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince. Identified by Brooke.
Easiest Shuffle Ever