It’s a question my son asks me on occasion as if there is a law against putting pen to paper without first succumbing to the words of James Joyce.
The question is meant to inspire me to read the classic novel and push myself to achieve a similar feat. I’m certain I’ll never write another Ulysses, but I visited my local Barnes and Noble anyway to page through a copy. With a cup of tea in hand, I sat in the café and began to read.
Next week, we commemorate the 112th anniversary of Joyce’s first date with his wife-to-be Nora Barnacle. Their relationship was the inspiration for Ulysses, a story that takes place all in one day on June 16, a day that will be forever known as Bloomsday in literary circles, named for the character of Leopold Bloom, the protagonist of Ulysses. It seems Joyce was not only a serious writer but also a serious romantic.
To honor James Joyce and his beloved Nora, Philadelphia’s Rosenbach Museum and Library at 2008 Delancey Place will host their 24th annual Bloomsday celebration. Events will be scheduled at the museum, the Free Library of Philadelphia at 1901 Vine Street (on the Parkway), in Rittenhouse Square and other locations. Visit the website for dates and times.
To all the serious writers out there who have read Ulysses, I commend you. It may be considered a 265,000-word work of art written in a stream of consciousness style that was used by several writers in the early 20th century, but I wasn’t able to do it.