Happy Bloomsday! ReJoyce!
Happy Bloomsday! What am I talking about? Bloomsday is a worldwide celebration of Ulysses, James Joyce’s epic novel of everyday life which takes place on a single day: June 16, 1904. The Bloomsday Project is my own contribution to the celebration: one chapter per year (I’m up to Chapter 8!) I post an excerpt prefaced by some commentary and observations in an attempt to share the pleasures of Ulysses with family, friends, and whoever else might find their way here. A fuller explanation of Bloomsday and past Bloomsday messages can be found in the archives.
Every year Bloomsday seems to get bigger and better. When I was a kid, Bloomsday seemed to just be isolated Joyceans like my father reading Ulysses, eating grilled kidneys and gorgonzola and, perhaps, listening to the WBAI broadcast. Now there are Bloomsday events all over the world. On the web there are a nearly endless number of creative projects designed to spread the joy of Joyce: the Bloomsday Survival Kit, the Ulysses “Seen” graphic novel, a digital interactive map, blogs (some of which are highly creative), a free audiobook and on and on . . .
Some acknowledgments. This year Bloomsday falls on Father’s Day, which only seems appropriate as The Bloomsday Project has always been dedicated to my father—the true Joycean. Riverrun. June 16th is also my brother Davin’s birthday and I hope he’ll be around to scrupulously scrape the icing off birthday cakes for many Bloomsdays to come. Joyce is said to have done most of his thinking and talking (and drinking) about Ulysses in cafés. The last couple years I have followed suit while preparing these Bloomsday Project posts and while many cafés will allow a solitary customer to take up a table for longer than their purchase really warrants, none have made me feel as welcome as the staff of the Bipartisan Café and Monti’s. Special thanks and congratulations to Ashley, whose expression of enthusiasm for Joyce when she noticed me poring over Ulysses for last year’s post prompted the first of many bookish chats — I wish her the best of luck with her new teaching job. Finally, thanks to all of you who take the time to read these posts (hi, mom!). Like most labors of love, my Bloomsday posts are undoubtedly longer than they need to be. So, truly: thank you.
Now, let’s get down to business. And this year’s business is pretty unsavory: cannibalism. Which, come to think of it, might be a savory business, too . . .
The Blooming Idiot