Happy Bloomsday!

Posted: June 16, 2011 in Uncategorized

“Ulysses, fuck that noise! Blow something up, Garrett Cook!”

What? No! It’s culture time, people. Today, June 16th is the day Leopold Bloom made his iconic journey through Dublin in James Joyce’s Ulysses. Why should you care? Leopold Bloom is a fictional character. Do we celebrate the day Jonathan Harker got on the train for Dracula’s castle? Nothing great is accomplished over this day. It’s a busy day, but not a day of even great fictional accomplishments. Leopold Bloom’s day is one of funerals, drinking at a bar and sending out dirty letters. But it’s more than that. Leopold’s day is epic. Leopold’s day mirrors the journey of Odysseus and man’s struggle for significance. It’s a day of life, death, lust, depression, shame and fear. It’s a day where a man is put on trial by his worst nightmares in the darkness of a Dublin brothel. It’s a day where young Stephen Dedalus is left trying to figure out whether he is an artist or a man and to get back to the place he came from. The plot is both banal and significant, elegant and silly. Never have I read a book that so capably shows what life is, all in one stupid day. It’s a book where language, reality, character and everything else is mutable and magical, a book that argues one of the things that I like most about being a surreal writer: that realism does not depict reality. That there are funkier, stranger better things going on in our subconscious, superconscious and the collective unconscious that we perceive. It is as much a guide to magical thinking as it is a great book to be emulated. Ulysses had a huge influence on me. I read other books and I wondered why they didn’t have the balls to try this years after this genius managed to do what he did. If you can write a book about everything and do everything you can, why wouldn’t you? Ulysses has something to teach every writer and Leopold Bloom and Stephen Dedalus have something to teach every person. I don’t need to tell you that Ulysses matters, but I’m glad that I took a minute to tell you why. And by the way, in my opinion the book has the second best last page ever.

 

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