James Joyce, Throwback Thursday

I was 15. At least I think I was. 

We were studying literature from the Brittanica encyclopedia. 

It was an old Red Cross building. Old like I found newspapers from the ’40s when I went with the cleaning team.

It was our own school. Sometimes later I would call it Hogwartz because it wasn’t a normal school. It was very private. Like our own world. 

But the Brittanica had now entered our world. 

And now we were learning about Alexander Pope and John Donne and most importantly (to me) James Joyce. 

I liked learning about them and their writing. I liked alliteration. But I loved the concept of stream-of-consciousness writing that I learned about in James Joyce’s Ulysses. 

stream of con·scious·ness
noun: stream of consciousness; plural noun: streams of consciousness; modifier noun: stream-of-consciousness
a person’s thoughts and conscious reactions to events, perceived as a continuous flow. The term was introduced by William James in his Principles of Psychology (1890).
a literary style in which a character’s thoughts, feelings, and reactions are depicted in a continuous flow uninterrupted by objective description or conventional dialogue. James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, and Marcel Proust are among its notable early exponents.

(Definition from Google) 

I eagerly tried it, happy to start playing with the idea and making it my own. 

Just a small problem. I didn’t feel I could write what I was thinking. 

It bothered me that I didn’t want to write my thoughts. A lot. 

One day I would. In the meantime, I’d write books in my head. If I got real good at understanding my consciousness and what compelled me, one day I could write my books in real life. I suppose publishing was a more accurate goal. I’d publish my thoughts from memory. 

Because it’s all in there, right? Just a matter of accessing it. One day. 

This mental writing of my personal journey was encouraged more by ideas like automatic writing. I saw that in the TV show Alias when an agent had information coded into her mind. 

Virginia Woolf inspired me too. And other artists like photographer Diane Arbus. Araki was another one. 

The magic in the mundane, the raw, honest depictions of fringe societies and activities. 

Mostly I would forget about this idea. I’ve even created characters to oversee the work in my head. I’d think of it every now and then, usually when I needed to express something. Still, mostly I didn’t feel it was that compelling to bring to fruition. 

But some intentions seem to come to life. 

Twenty years later, like Anais Nin wrote… 

…the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. – Anaïs Nin

And what a day that was. 

me during chemo in late 2015
me during chemo in late 2015

When I’m better … More stories! 

2 thoughts on “James Joyce, Throwback Thursday

  1. Hogwartz? I believe I was also incarcerated there (for re-education). My nick name was “The Kitchen Cynic” applied for my caustic comments about the “prison” wardens.

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