Sunday, January 29, 2012

Finnegans Wake in Santa Cruz--a new year. Page 205-208ish

Though there was plenty to say from our last meeting in early December, which I may try to reconstruct at a later date, your blog host here has some time management issues and just couldn't squeeze a blog post in to the day. Our meet up on Wednesday night felt like a fresh gust of wind into our sails, and I thought I'd share some of our experiences of the evening.

After a brief catching up, we tried to remember where it was that we left off and Leslie, despite having been away in Hawaii, proved most adept at reconstructing where we actually were. She said that she knew we were on page 205, and she knew this because she remembered the paragraph ending "Garonne, Garonne." The Garonne is a river (like pretty much every other word in this section of the book) but it also in this context means, "go on, go on". As in one washerwoman saying to the other, "go on, tell me more about Anna Livia". But as Leslie was saying the words "Garonne, Garonne," in trying to find my place,  I had just randomly flipped open to page 239 and my eyes immediately caught another paragraph ending: "gyrogyrorondo".

Now whether this has anything to do with the whole "go on, go on" theme, it remains true that I was trying to read what she was saying into these words, and there was a feeling of synchronicity felt by all.  It is at least an echo of the sound, as well as paragraph placement.

This ended up setting the tone for the evening. Tom wondered if technology let us know more of the synchronicity of experience or not. In a certain sense, the synchronicity is all around us and it's more a case of whether we are tuned into it or not than whether it happens.

We made a brief diversion into all the 2012 prophecies, as some members are more tuned in than others to the whole Mayan calendar predictions. I don't know what Joyce would have thought, but I'm almost certain he would have exploited it.

We got into the actual reading, starting in the middle of 205: "Well, after it was put in the Mericy Cordial Mendicants' Sitterdag-Zindeh-Munaday Wakeschrift..." We read along for awhile and gradually it dawned on us that it was still two washerwomen washing on the shore, but at the same time they were rowing to the source (in the hills of Wicklow). Or the Source, which has no geographic location.

We had another funny moment. Ann had had a disconcerting experience before coming into the group as she parked in the pub parking lot, when she realized that the man standing nearby was actually urinating. It was quite a surprise for her, but more of a surprise when our text referred to "might she passe of him for a minnikin", and the notes told us that part of this portmanteau word referred to the Manneken-Pis, which is a statue in Brussels of a small boy peeing. Suddenly we realized that the text right here was littered with pissing words--"a call to pay" "sprizzling" and further research reveals stalls in the next sentence as a reference to urinals, as well as  "Brie-on-Arrosa" contains the French "arrozer"-- "to water". We all realized simultaneously that the man pissing in the parking lot wasn't just an annoyance, but a Joycean figure, a gatekeeper. And as always with Joyce, a part about Anna Livia Plurabella, the Liffey, but as this section makes abundantly clear, all rivers everywhere, contains not just the high river, but also the low, a man--or a little boy--pissing.

And as if to emphasize the point, several of us had to "pay a call" pretty badly as the evening ended, but quite uncharacteristically, everyone else in the pub suddenly did too!