Finnegans Wake by Joyce is divided up into four books the shortest of which is the last one (p. 511 to 540 in my edition).
This morning I concluded reading this entire last book aloud to myself. Joyce ends the book in a feminine voice that recalls the ending of Ulysses. It’s surprising how reading it aloud helps the understanding of a lot of Finnegans Wake.
I found myself lapsing into a bad Irish accent in this last section.
It is unmistakable that the books ends on a high note, ALP the feminine persona seems to be ranting on about this and that and reminiscing about her life with HCE the masculine persona. It is quite lovely in many places.
“It is the softest morning I can ever remember me.” James Joyce, Finnegans Wake
One of the insights I have had recently is that Joyce’s dream in this book is a redemptive one, one that embraces the full breadth of what it means to be human.
This is surprising and brave since he was writing between WWI and WWII, not a particularly happy time in a lot of humanity. But nevertheless I am encouraged by his poem of a book.
This morning I immediately began at the beginning of the book since it finishes in a circular fashion ALP’s rant of a last sentence.
Today is the Hatch reunion. I have a funeral and Eileen has given me permission to skip it. Yesterday I found myself caught in a strong feeling of melancholy that seemed to come from nowhere in particular. This ebbed and flowed as the day went on. My organ student quit. She showed up late for her lesson hand, checkbook in hand, to tell me she a rotator cuff that had spontaneously ripped. She was frightened and upset. I tried to console her and did not charge her for the lesson. She hung around for a bit while I practiced, chatting her up in between. Despite my mood, I could see she was hurting. Later I reflected once again how lucky I really am in my life and health.
I listened to part of the current On The Media show this morning.
I especially liked this segment:
It reminded me of my current skepticism about how people get and understand their news information. When I combine this with the hate filled rhetoric of some people on Facebooger, I am a bit discouraged. I don’t think it helps my melancholia but I am reluctant to conclude that it is a major part of the cause of my own mood.
I am both inspired and tired. I am inspired by Joyce, messing with my book collection, my boss, my wife and many other parts of my life. I am tired, though, of church, of invisibility, of hate, of ignorance, of being tired.
All in all, I think the balance is for being inspired.