Happy Birthday Mr. Joyce
Dear Mr. Joyce,
I just wanted to wish you a very happy birthday and many happy returns on the day. I know you’re dead and all, but why should that stop anyone from celebrating a birthday?
Today is also the anniversary of the first publication of Ulysses, but duh, you don’t have to be reminded of that.
But I betcha don’t know that today is also the day that I made it to the end of Ulysses. Yes, yep, yes, yes, yes, yes, yep, I finished it this morning. Hah! Hah! Hah! I did it! I did it! I did it!
Okay, maybe you know that too since you are looking down from the great café in the sky and you’re probably wondering why that chick in LA keeps looking at a tourist map of Dublin while reading the book. All I can say, Mr. Joyce, is some readers like the scholarship and the cliff notes, me, I like the tourist map. It’s colorful.
I gotta tell ya, Mr. Joyce, just between you and me, so many smart men have told me they can’t read your book. They try too hard. They think too much. They want to understand it all. I’ll tell ya, straight up no ice, I didn’t understand it all. I don’t have your brain. I only have my brain. Sometimes my brain would glaze over and I would think of other things---mostly sexy things, you bring that out of me, Mr. Joyce. Still, I liked all the things I didn’t understand and all the things I did. I even laughed out loud a bunch of times. Dude, dude, you are so fuckin’ funny.
Most importantly, your book made me lose time. Your book which is all about the time of a single day made my internal clock go completely off. Sometimes, after reading for awhile, I would look up at the clock and an hour passed, but it didn’t feel like an hour. It felt like only ten minutes. Still, I wouldn’t have traded that intense hour for anything. It’s like wow. It’s better than movies.
People talk so much about escaping into books and how a great novel can take you out of yourself and your life. Your book didn’t do that. It brought me more into myself. Like that scene on the beach with Gerty and her friends and their annoying children and how Gerty looks over at Bloom with all her seventeen year old virgin romanticism and oh what you say in that section is so beautiful about how her previous suitor was so far away because she saw her whole destiny in Bloom. Then, then, then, how you switch up the point of view over to Bloom who views Gerty with an experienced sexual eye. And there are fireworks! Sweeet.
And then in the next chapter, you had to be an asshole muthafucker and go into heightened language. But I got through it because I’m just that crazy, and I knew you’d change it up again and again---which you did.
You see, Mr. Joyce, I am child of television and internet. I grew up with rapid editing and images coming at me so fast that it could make one half blind. You might shift fast and dodge and duck, but I’m right there in the ring with ya only we ain’t fighting. We’re just doing our dance. Reading you is a dance, it’s salsa, and I’m letting you lead. Same song and dance. Same song and dance.
Do you know about rap music, Mr. Joyce? I think you’d like rap music. I think you’d get along with the rappers up there on your cloud. Maybe you guys could go and beat up some scholars.
And by the way, that whole Molly Bloom final chapter, where did you learn about all that woman stuff? You must’ve known a really great woman. And why didn’t you write an instruction manual for men?
Anyway, say hello to Flann O’Brien for me. You might want to let him know that a movie adaptation is being done of his At Swim Two Birds. Damn all if I know how they’re gonna do it, but some really good actors are involved. I wonder if any of them will turn into swans.
That’s all from me, Mr. Joyce. I really did love your Ulysses. Don’t worry, I’m not gonna quote it back to you or anything lame like that. I just hope you have a nice birthday up on your cloud and that you get to drink as much Swiss wine as immortally possible.