Today is Bloomsday. There is a good chance that if you aren’t Irish or a Lit Major, that you have never heard of Bloomsday. To be frankly honest, until today I did not know about the existence of Bloomsday. But you can bet your bottom dollar that it will be on the Photography 139 2010 Calendar.
Perhaps the main reason I didn’t know that Bloomsday existed, is because it is related to James Joyce. Even though he is widely considered to be a genius, I have never really dug his writing. For years I have virtually ignored the rules of punctuation and nobody has slapped the label genius on me. Well, there was that time in 5th Grade when my creative writing stories about Superfluff, the super-lepus, were all the rage, but those days are far in my rearview mirror.
I’ve always considered people that claim that they enjoy the writings of James Joyces to be frauds. People who were pretending to like something so that they could project an intellectual image to the world. I also feel this way about anybody that claims that Woody Allen is remotely funny.
However, I have to admit I like the very basis for Bloomsday. Not necessarily why Joyceans celebrate today, but beyond that. To the reason why this day was important to Joyce.
Today is the day on which the action in the novel Ulysses takes place. The day is named after the main character, Leopold Bloom. That is why Joyceans celebrate today.
The reason that Joyce picked this day to set Ulysses was to commemorate the first date he had with his future wife, Nora Barnacle. She was an uneducated chambermaid. He met her for a stroll around Dublin on this day. Just a few days earlier, she had stood him up for a scheduled date.
Although I do confess, the cynic in me wonders if he didn’t use this day so he would never forget one of their anniversaries.
I thought I should include some of the genius of Joyce. Some of you will recognize this writing as the soliloquy of Molly Bloom. Some of you will recognize this from the Rodney Dangerfield classic Back to School.
“O and the sea the sea crimson sometimes like fire and the glorious sunsets and the
figtrees in the Alameda gardens yes and all the queer little streets and pink and blue
and yellow houses and the rosegardens and the jessamine and geraniums and
cactuses and Gibraltar as a girl where I was a Flower of the mountain yes when I put
the rose in my hair like the Andalusian girls used or shall I wear a red yes and how
he kissed me under the Moorish wall and I thought well as well him as another and
then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to
say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him
down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like
mad and yes I said yes I will Yes.”