Ulysses was published on this day, 1922-02-02
My daughter was born on this day, 2015-02-02
On her birth day, I committed to finishing Ulysses by her 18th
Today, 2020-02-02, I am changing my strategy to succeed in that.
Every year, I restart Ulysses. Usually with a mindset of “with momentum I’ll get through it”. The furthest I’ve gotten so far, is about 40% in.
Four times, this strategy has failed. And three times I thought this year, for sure, it will be different.
This year, I (finally) learned: I am taking a slow and steady approach. And a multiple reading of one sentence approach.
I am taking the time to read, hear, and dissect every sentence in the 950 page book thoroughly and slowly.
Ulysses is a book to be mapped.
It can be mapped in time, because the book occurs in one day.
It can be mapped in space, because the two characters move around Dublin during that day.
And it can be mapped onto other works, because Joyce references the gamut of literature.
I have decided to experience Ulysses non-linearly. I am reading it on paper. And I am reading it as an ebook. I am not keeping those in sync. I am rereading every sentence at least twice.
Further, I am listening to the unabridged version, read with the rhythm of one who understands the work.
And I am using the BBC radio drama, to get an overview of the chapters to come.
This mapping is deeply satisfying so far, and letting myself read and re-read, and re-listen, and re-interpret every sentence is great fun.
I am mapping Ulysses with intent and patience.
And it’s teaching me how to experience my daughter.
These are the resources I am using:
- BBC radio drama of Ulysses, with a 9 hour running time
- Audio Book read by Donal Donnelly, with a 42 hour running time
- The Kindle version of the book, synced with the audiobook
- A paperback version of the book, in my car
- Another paperback version, annotated, in my bag
- This very insightful, thorough podcast on every line in Ulysses (incomplete)
PS: James Joyce was also born on this day, 138 years ago.