Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Page 297: Fin for Fun!

Thanks to posts from Ed and links to posts from Leslie and PQ, this blog is not totally moribund. Though I have gotten a ways off from recording the actual progress of our stalwart cohort, don't be mistaken into thinking that the group itself has slacked off in its project of reading the Wake together. In fact we chug along as gamely as ever, despite our various comings and goings. In fact, we have actually reached the diagram at the heart of the book, which some take as the actual center, though pagewise, it is not so.

Other than mentioning the actual text "Fin is fun!", which Tom has declared he will take for his motto, or mantra, I forget which, I thought I'd mention where the Wake finds us in time rather than concentrate on our current passages. We are holding pretty steady with a membership (though there are no actual membership requirements) of seven, though in actual practice it's usually more like four or five at a session.We've also got a connection with the Austin Wake group, with one of its members here for the summer, which was very helpful while one or two of our regulars were away.

Perhaps through this cross-fertilization, we've changed it up a bit lately, after a long time of doing it pretty much the same way each meeting. We used to always read a section and then discuss, then another session and discuss. Lately, we've tried reading two lines at a time in turn, and also reading through all the pages for the session at once and then discussing for the rest of the time. I don't know that any way works better than any other, but it does seem good to try new things.

For quite a long time we had a fairly strong taboo against electronic devices, but that has broken down over the summer, and now there is usually an IPad or IPhone in our midst. Because of such devices, we've actually had contact with the Austin group while in session, as they have with us. For a long time we thought that the devices might get in the way, but in fact, we've always had supplementary help in the form of an ever growing stack of books, so it doesn't make as much difference as all that.  

As a group, we have gotten to know quite a lot about each other over time, though it's more in terms of the way we think than it is about our outer lives. We all have our particular hobbyhorses or favorite angles into the text, which works out fine, as its a text that benefits from multiple perspectives. The funnest part for me (Joyce would like, I think, the way that Word is trying to suggest funniest, finest and 'fun nest' in place of funnest) is when one person's thoughts spark something in another person's mind and we take off for awhile on some wild ramble.

It's been fun and appropriate to read this in a pub, although I'm sure some readers would be taken aback at the way we read over sometimes very loud music blaring from a speaker. Sometimes we get a little Joycean synchonicity with the song selection, once or twice it's happened with the weather. In fact, I think the Poet and the Patriot has become a kind of dream place in its way. Odd things sometimes happen.

We have become regulars over time there and our bartendress is always happy to see us, and we her, especially after some health concerns she had at one point. The other regulars tend to hang out at the bar and chat and watch sports together, but every once in awhile, someone will come up and inquire as to what we're up to. No one yet has ever crossed over to join us, but no one's ever crossed over to scorn us either.

Although I always find it rewarding when I do take some time to go deeper into the text after a meeting, I think most of us find that we don't actually study up much in between meetings and that it doesn't matter that much, which is probably part of the reason we've been able to sustain this project over the years . We've all gone off on our different side journeys with this, though. Tom has waded into the discussion of the thunderclaps by Eric McLuhan, and Leslie and Cathy have deepened their understanding of Ulysses by listening to the podcasts of Frank Delaney. John has been missed over the summer for his more mathematical leanings. Ed has gone looking after Lewis Carroll, to name but one interest. Ann can always relate the Wake to the mystical and cabbalistic. I've gotten interested in reading mystery novels featuring Giordano Bruno.

My current interest has to do with the fact that we are now on the other side of the mirror, where things have been reversed. Through the looking glass, if you will. I led my friends down the primrose path wondering what it means to be in this other place and they indulged me by talking about symmetry and reflection and a dome with mirrors.

I'll conclude with a little joke I heard yesterday. It's taken from Stephen King's On Writing.

A friend finds James Joyce sprawled across his desk in despair, and asked if it's the writing that has him down.

"Of course it's the writing."
The friend asks, "How many words did you write today?"


"For you, that's not bad."

"But I don't know what order they go in."


Don't forget. Fin is fun.


1 comment:

  1. Here's a new project attempting a page a day, with links to all the relevant online resources: http://fwpages.blogspot.com/