Saturday, April 9, 2011

joyce

this has been a victorious week for me my friends. In the light of one decision that has set me free so many other little moments of sweet revelation have followed. I received so much affirmation from you and others in my life and it has been utterly thrilling. God did not have to add other hearts to mine, as I was confident and happy in my decision to delete the thesis, but He did anyway. As always with God, He overwhelms my soul.

I've been buried in James Joyce this week and if you are aware of my academic history you know how happy that has made me. I first encountered the illustrious Mr. Joyce in HS where I attempted to read Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man - it is one of two books I didn't finish in HS (I've added many more to that since but I'm trying to stress how great my hatred was). I hated him.
In 2007 I decided to take a study abroad course in Dublin, Ireland. The course was a seminar in James Joyce. I didn't care anymore, I wanted to go to Ireland and that was my ticket. While there is a very special Dublin story that I could share here I will wait and save it for it's anniversary date in June - this post is for Joyce. 
In Dublin my classmates and I read Joyce's collection of short stories called Dubliners in the first week and in the subsequent two weeks we tackled Joyce's epic and monstrous Ulysses. The 700+ page book takes place in one day and each event happens on a specific and actual street or place in Dublin. I ate the same sandwich Leopold Bloom ate at the Davy Burns pub and walked the shores of Sandy Mount where Stephen Dedalus pondered "ineluctable modality." I have read a lot of books, mostly classic titles and I am proud of my reading list, my crowning achievement thus far is having read Ulysses. This book is not for the faint of heart, the casual or naive reader. You should probably be 24 before you read this book and even then, this is not an add to go read it. However, if you are an English major (and I suspect that many of you dear readers are) then this book is a must for you, it just might change your life. I didn't realize the impression the book, the place and the experience had made upon me until months or maybe a year after I got home. I had carried that book with me everywhere for three solid weeks and even after that I continued to carry it, we were dear friends, my companion in my first great journey. 
I got to re-read another story of Joyce's this semester, a short and lovely little story called "Araby," the name captivates me, I'd name my daughter that if I could, but I will probably have to give it to a second or third basset hound as the first one will obviously be "Ulysses." Anyway, this story I can recommend to you, snatch it somewhere, take 25 minutes to dig in and read it, fall into it, fall in love with it and then sit up and clap yourself on the back, you have read and survived James Joyce. 
Besides just wanting to talk about Joyce, I decided it was probably time to explain that "shellcocoacoloured" is a Joycean creation from one of the first chapters in the book. The phrase, like "Araby" caught me. It is simple, beautiful, with familiar words re-fashioned into a phrase that holds it's own meaning for each reader. I selected it because I find myself and most people feel that way about themselves. We are each made up of pieces of so many different words that we can hardly ever use just one. Joyce doesn't want to, doesn't have to because he's Joyce, so he writes "shellcocoacoloured" and prints a moment of the sublime onto a page.
I suppose in my own way that is what I have set out to do. I don't quite know what I am yet or what this will become, but being "shellcocoacoloured" is a sweet, and enchanting place to start.

molly

1 comment:

  1. that shellcocoacoloured looks good on you!

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