I am reading and studying James Joyce’s Ulysses. One of his avatars, the aspiring writer Stephen Dedalus, is struggling with the contemporary literary impulses.
There is the lure of a job making money writing for a newspaper. And at the same time, for those who scorned the popular or overly-realistic requirements of journalism, there were the celebrated Irish national writers.
Joyce went East when all the signs were pointing West. He was realistic when he wrote, so much so that he was banned for vulgarity or pornography.
But he didn’t do what was -done-. He went a whole other way.
Was he the authentic Irish author? Perhaps. Because he wrote what has happening that day. That now-famous Bloom’s day.
His literary character wandered the streets of London, knowing he wanted something other. But he saw what was there too.
THere was a streetcar. THere was a dead dog.
If Joyce were writing now, i bet he would take blogs into consideration. All those many blogs that are making money.
What is the authentic voice of now?
I wonder if sometime I will have time to write what is happening right now. The billboards and the plastic grocery bags while the wildflower weeds grow underneath and the cactuses that are grimed under the prickles. And the sweetness of the texts that matter, or the comfort of a cup of tea.
WHat are our dreams and the engineering of our lives now? I look at my alarm clock today, this morning, and it is buzzing. It’s not supposed to buzz…THat probably means it’s broken or is going to break. It’s an old alarm clock, with red glowing numbers, a radio and a snooze.
Should i have an authentic alarm clock? Maybe one that doesn’t have a snooze and must be wound. When did snooze enter our lives? What kind of false life does this snooze bring to my morning?
well. For that matter, should I buy a rooster? What does authenticity mean? And how far back do we go? I do not live naked in a hut. There are external things that make demands on my life.
So I should get the most high-tech specialized alarm clock to live in my modern life, one that uses all the resources of technology to wake me and launch me on my day.
or maybe I should buy the cheapest one because it doesn’t matter.
but if it doesn’t matter, then maybe i should forgo society altogether and go back to the mud hut.
What on earth does authentic mean, anyway?