Introibo ad altare Dei (I will go to the altar of God).
James Joyce, Ulysses
This entire serene morning was spent in front of the fireplace, and I read slowly the first twenty-six pages of Joyce’s Ulysses while enjoying the delicious warmth and sounds of the fire. My only break from reading was to draw again the tree outside my living room window. The winter light is so clear and crisp, and the sun was out for the second consecutive morning, lighting up the tree in contrast from its dark background.
I’ve placed this 5 x 7″ drawing in an 8 x 10″ mat and have placed it on the market for $40. As I continue the practice, I’m growing more comfortable to rendering tree bark in graphite, and am already looking forward to the next try.
Listening to Youtube documentaries last night on James Joyce put me in the mood to re-try Ulysses before the fire this morning. I had never managed to get past the first dozen pages without losing interest, and don’t understand why I’m finding it more readable now. Joyce’s grappling with his Jesuit past parallels my own coping with my Southern Baptist roots. I suppose that is a start. But there is much more–I really enjoy the musicality of Joyce’s language when I am alone and reading aloud. Harold Bloom reminded me of the importance of hearing quality literature, not just reading it. After twenty-six pages, I am stunned at the artistry of Joyce’s writing, and this makes me want to take my own writing more seriously.
James Joyce also has much to say to anyone who would follow his/her artistic bliss. He himself fought through so many snares (he called them nets) as he sought to fly above the standard literary canons of his day. I’ve always been aware of the snares, but I feel that my own are more internal–that I have to fight through personal laziness and lethargy and moodiness rather than interference from outside, social forces. In my later years, I’m more conscious of the energy required to create consistently. I’m working on that.
Thanks for reading.
I make art in order to understand.
I journal when I feel alone.
I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.