Me versus Ulysses

Switch out the pronouns and my word pattern starts looking eerily similar to James Joyce. The Gunning Fogg Index shows our readability rating, nearly matches. His lexical density is tough to beat, but I’m certainly above average. Joyce used more passive verbs, the practice is frown upon now, so I’m theoretically the better writer, in that regard.

I’ve used the app which tells you which writer you resemble and this novel resembles James Joyce’s style. He writes about Dublin; I write about Florida, and we both use a boatload of allusions. I’ve written a theoretical masterpiece and few will ever read it.

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It’s Tough To Beat Ulysses

Statistically, Ulysses is a masterpiece. I outperform James Joyce’s other work, Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man, but he burns me with Ulysses. By statistics I mean, the Lexical Density versus the Readability index (using roughly the same word count). With lexical density, the higher the better, but an easier read; which is measured by the readability index (the lower the better). I bet no one beats Ulysses.

This isn’t the duel I want, but I don’t want to count the number of allusions in my other novel and Joyce’s other novel, Finnegan’s Wake. It would be a slugfest for certain, Ireland against Florida duking it out in all out ink-bath.

A Genre Unto Its Own

Finnegans Wake

Wikipedia put Finnegans Wake in a genre they call, Sui generis; which means, a class by itself. My book shares much with this novel, by James Joyce; he wrote about Ireland and I focus on Florida. If Joyce’s book is my closest match then I must share the genre. I’m closer to Tom Robbins in style because we both try to hide our complexity,

The illustrated edition (shown above, details below) interests me because Joyce’s work, and mine, may benefit from illustration. The literary agent route may net me an editor and an Illustrator. If I get a good agent match; I might get people with talent who match my style.

A query letter to a literary agent poses a slight problem because I see so few good matches. I have a  scene movie producers will want; I may have more. My novel has commercial elements, but I can’t say I’m strict commercial fiction. I can use the literary fiction genre, but I rather know what books an agent reads..

My confidence in a film deal matches the doubts I have in other areas. I see agents as one shot deals and it seems I have a six-shooter. A couple of the agents are longshots.

Finnegans Wake, The Final Chapter (The Illnesstraited Colossick Idition of Finnegans Wake) Paperback – 2011

by James Joyce (Author), Tim Ahern (Illustrator, Author), Fritz Senn (Foreword), Finn Fordham (Foreword)

Lush Life

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Lotus Eaters first appear in Homer’s epic poem, the Odyssey. James Joyce turned the tale into a chapter in UlyssesJohn Barrymore starred in an adaption of the tale; his granddaughter Drew represents the nymph (a close associate to the lotus) and a one time lush. Wine and women offer reason for why the Greeks wanted to stay in Lotus Eater land. The tale may also have links to the elixirs known as soma and haoma. No one knows the active ingredient in the mythical drinks, but a secret recipe with multiple, and sometimes interchangeable, ingredients does pose a problem in identification. I believe the recipe hides in metaphor and that the experts have put too much focus on a single ingredient approach. They may have even used different recipes for different purposes and stuck with the same name. I’ve looked at many theories, but I take the recipe approach in my novel.

Dream Time

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Throw out science fiction and you find few ways to write about vast spans in time. Woolf gave little reason for why her character, Orlando, lives so long; you can call it simple magic, I see it as a feverous  dream. Ludovico Ariosto’s Orlando Furioso may have given Woolf the name and an idea. I see both as feverous-love dreams. Ariosto transports from place to place; Woolf does from time to time and from sex to sex.

One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel García Márquez, borrows from Woof. The literary term Magic realism = dream magic applied to the real world. Márquez takes the history of Colombia and reinterprets it in dream imagery; he never tells you the story resides in a dream, but the imagery fits like sheets on a bed.

James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake reads like a Stewie Griffin novel. Seth MacFarlane’s Family Guy character may make a fitting James Joyce. Finnegan’s Wake will go much further over people’s heads than Family Guy, but they share similar puns. Joyce does Ireland much like Márquez does Columbia, but the man from Ireland uses a drunker dreamer. Finnegans Wake reads like a drunken Einstein lecture on physics. If you say you understand it; you are a liar. You may grasp aspects, but no one above the grave knows what lies in this other world.

Writing into Insanity

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“(James Joyce, in conversation with Carl Jung:)”Literary artists know more about the human mind than you fellers have a hope in hell of knowing. Ha. My craft is ebbing. I am yung and easily freudened. One of these days I’ll show the lot of you what the unconscious mind is really like. I don’t need any of you. In a sense I am Freud.”
Jung looked gloomily guilty at the name. “Yes?”
“What’s Freud in English?”
“Joy.”
“Joy and Joyce. There’s little enough difference. Except that I add C and E for Creative Endeavour. I spit in all your eyes.”
Anthony Burgess, The End of the World News: An Entertainment

Joyce’s daughter had schizophrenia, so did Adèle Hugo (The Story of Adele H.). Jung treated Joyce’s daughter and though Joyce himself just took a cleaner dive into insanity. Hemingway committed suicide  and his trips between Atheism and Catholicism give some clue to his mind. (“I’m right when I believe in God and I’m right when I don’t” Syndrome). I’m sure others have seen the people who Ping-Pong between God and drugs/alcohol. Few will refute a link between creativity and madness, but a healthy outlet defines sanity. Sciences and the Arts give productive use to overactive minds. The best treatment for mental illness may come finding an outlet.

Philip K. Dick (top right, illustration by Alex Ebel  from Second Variety) had problems, but he did have a healthy outlet and left this world well respected. Writers dip into dreams and dreams try to solve the insanity of the world.

What the, “If you see Kay”

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I consider this the James Joyce reaction to Dominique de Gourgue. The conquistador, Pedro Menendez, took Fort Caroline (right pic) and beheaded people he saw as heretics. De Gourgue then took revenge on the Spanish who occupied the French built fort. Menendez hung this sign on beheaded bodies, “Not as Frenchmen but as Lutherans.” De Gourgue hung up this sign, “Not as Spaniards but as murderers,” on his fellow Catholics. Later in life, De Gourgue took a role in the Siege of La Rochelle; thereby, killing the same group he had avenged. Did he leave the sign Menendez left? I doubt many so-called Lutherans considered themselves Lutheran; they may have joined the new so-called religion because they hated the Spanish just like De Gourgue.

We keep the past to learn from it. When I heard Boston sing, “Sweet Caroline,” the ode to Catholic Camelot; I thought about humans never learn. James Joyce saw the same in Ireland because he knew history. Ireland takes less pride in the IRA and like most Europe has moved farther away from Catholicism. Religion died in France; Italians protested the Church’s stance on Galileo. We see several news headings like, “Pope Cracks Down on US Nuns.” The foolish Chris Mathews thinks Obama should bring in the Pope to act as ambassador to Muslims. What do Muslims think when they hear the ode to Catholic Camelot. I’m sure they don’t think about my Fort Caroline, but Catholics and Muslims spear each other with heretic barbs. I’m like Joyce; I just mock the insanity. Religion needs to take a backseat and never wear a Papal gown with elitist Gucci sunglasses.

God, Country, or Brigid’s Cross

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James Joyce held Brigid’s Cross in his heart; Brigid’s cross held Irish history. Joyce knew the Church stole the Pagan cross, so he left the saint when they stole half of his home. Politics stole the other half of his home, so he left Ireland; he left his home. Joyce knew politicos and religious leaders fought, but rarely cared for the people. Joyce saw the good in Ireland and in the Church; he also saw the corruption and the brainwashed hate of zealots. Ireland and the Church drove out a beloved son because a man with great soul hates a brainwashed mind. Joyce left this quote of independence in, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man:

“I will tell you what I will do and what I will not do. I will not serve that in which I no longer believe, whether it calls itself my home, my fatherland, or my church: and I will try to express myself in some mode of life or art as freely as I can and as wholly as I can, using for my defense the only arms I allow myself to use — silence, exile, and cunning.”

 

If you, C-K-E-Y Britney

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Is Spears headying James, as in Joyce? Old news, but this odd couple twisted their way into my stuff. The former Mouseketeer spears Joyce’s pun, but a gang behind Spears did the thrusting; three Swedes pop from behind the pop machine. An Indian-American, not an an American Indian, also put in a few licks (see the writers on the If You Seek Amy page). I get intertextual with sirens, just like Joyce; I got very intertextual with xTina, my other siren and Mouseketeer. It was no oops… I did it again, when I did again to Britney. Allusions fall under the broader class of intertextuality and I love to allusion. I’ve posted Britney; tomorrow, I may have Joyce do some lotus eating on Christina, the Aguilera species of Diva. This is James Joyce week for me.

 

The Spells Cast by Veils

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Medea, the enchantress wears veils. The night goddess, Nyx, dawns her sheerest veil at dawn. Many dance in 7 veils. Maya, the Hindu goddess of illusion makes her magic with them. Even males have veils, see the magic in mushrooms. Do you see how often Illusion makers wear veils? Do you know the where to find the final veil?  I allude to the apocalypse. Allusions share much with illusions, both confound. Many great poets and writers throw them like daggers. James Joyce takes your head off in Ulysses. Wilde prefers metaphor, only Salome’s John loses his head. Many Cats like to play get wasted with Old Possum in The Waste Land.

My images often show a veiled statement. I’m a pig and I love a Circe in sheer veil. On the far left, you see statue of Medea erected in Batumi, Georgia. Gaston Bussière’s Dance of the seven veils (center). Phallus indusiatus stands proud like Priapus in hunt for Lotis.