a slightly modified version of my annual tribute to James Joyce:
June 16th 1904 is the day that James Joyce set his novel Ulysses, traveling Mr. Bloom around Dublin in a day. So, in honor of Mr. Joyce, have a good fry-up for breakfast and certainly a mustard and gorgonzola sandwich for lunch with a glass of wine,
“Mr. Bloom ate his strips of sandwich, fresh clean bread, with relish of disgust pungent mustard, the feety savour of green cheese. Sips of his wine soothed his palate. Not logwood that. Tastes fuller this weather with the chill off.”
There are a number of road races to celebrate the day, the Lilac Bloomsday run in Spokane being the largest and most well known. I can’t think of a worse way to honor the day. A pint in a pub seems infinitely more appropriate.
Ulysses is not an easy book to read to say the least. In college I tried moving through it many times without success. Finally, on the eve of my prolonged trip to Venice, I threw it in my luggage – surely when it’s your only book, you’ll read it through. And I did, after a bit. So, for me the book is inextricably tied with briny Venice. The challenging, circuitous text melds in my memory with the labyrinthine city, the language of the novel becoming clearer with distance from daily use of the English language..
So, raise a glass to Mr. Bloom, he has a helluva day in front of him.
Hey, and its my birthday.
“…yes I said yes I will Yes.”
a reading of the text, by Joyce himself: