Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Odyssey in Ulysses Part Three: Calypso's Kidney Stoned

The further adventures of one man trying to read James Joyce’s Ulysses

Later: Jack and Heather both convince me to try something new: listening rather than reading. A group called librivox has volunteers recording themselves reading public domain works, which one can download for free.

Since I have a teaching gig that will require regular commuting for a week, I give it a try.

The first chapter I listen to was clearly read in a pub. People drinking while reading Joyce aloud. Not a bad idea.

Three things that work better while under the influence:

Surgery (as the patient, not the doctor)
Pink Floyd’s The Wall


Later: I figure out that Stephen, the guy I grew to like in the first part, isn’t the hero of the book. Rather some guy named Bloom is now center stage.

So that’s why Bloomsday book is called that – since the whole book is one day in the life of Bloom. Apparently the Irish celebrate Bloomsday once a year, by drinking and visiting spots from the book.

Mostly by drinking. See above.

Later: Back to my method – don’t worry about understanding the nuances, just track the situation.

Bloom is making breakfast – I’m good.

Bloom is shopping for kidney – I’m good.

Bloom is sitting on the john – I’m go… What?

I rewind the tape. Yep, our protagonist is on the potty, thinking grand thoughts.

I feel like I’m violating some personal space here. Like I should run the tap or something.

Hey, I joke with the best of them about the lack of privies on the starship Enterprise, or the curious fact that Jack Bauer seems to be able to hold it one day at a time. But there is such as thing as tmi in entertainment.

Bloom thinks on, as I can only wonder if Joyce coulda cut thirty pages from the opus just by having a Reader’s Digest in the men’s room.

Just my thoughts,


1 comment:

Susan Kaye said...

"Notes On A Scandal" affected me the same way. Cate Blanchette's character in high crisis, and have we see here on the toilet ... finishing up. Blew me out of the moment, the movie, the whole bloody experience.