The Rocky Road to JoyceGeekery
I grew up in Lubbock Texas, and didn’t even know of Joyce’s existence until my senior year in high school, when my English teacher surreptitiously pulled a copy of Finnegans Wake out of her desk one day and dared us to try it on for a page or so. It got passed around quite a lot as I remember, but nobody understood it, and eventually everybody abandoned it – including me. I didn’t take a serious look at Joyce again it until a couple of years out of college. I had just moved from Chicago (where I had spent a troubled yet deeply introspective year-and-a-half looking for professional acting work) to Santa Fe (where troubled introspection was easier and much more in vogue), and started in on Finnegans Wake in the fall of ’93 with the idea of building a performance art repertoire culled from its pages. I did this mostly because it was something no other actor had attempted before, and yes, it was ridiculously ambitious of me. After all, Finnegans Wake distinguishes itself primarily by being the most difficult book ever written – at least that’s how legend would have it.
And legend does have a point. I certainly wouldn’t have been able to keep the project alive on ambition alone. Something else took over; Joyce’s amazing writing eventually hooked me in a way I hadn’t fully expected. I soon devoured everything he had ever written, and started building a library of supplemental texts – critical analyses, historical studies, annotations. Everything from hagiography to musicology to linguistics.
And more, so much more. Joyce’s corpus, which consists of a mere three novels, fifteen short stories and a handful of essays and poems, is a holograph of nothing less than the human universe in all of its splendid detail. It’s never enough to just “know Joyce” – you have to go back out into the real world, cull your own experiences and bring them back with with you if you want to reap the full benefit these books have to offer.
But I digress.
The topic of this page is me, not Joyce. I am indeed a professional actor now, and not just of Finnegans Wake. I am now fully immersed in the “real world” of professional acting – here’s the headshot/resume to prove it. My Joyce-work is far too expansive to fit onto a single-page resume, though, so for that I have my Curriculum Vitae.
But stuff like resumes and cvs are hardly sufficient reasons to return to a website for repeated viewings, so for that, I’m very excited to share my discoveries and opinions in my JoyceBlog. I hope that what I say there will be intriguing and provocative enough to incite a bit of forum dialogue. Comments are always welcome.
Finally, I run a weekly James Joyce reading group here in my hometown of Santa Fe, New Mexico. Anyone is free to drop in and join us, but you might want to check in on this site before coming – just to make sure when, where, and if we’re meeting at any given time.
So peruse, enjoy, and keep coming back. And be sure to have a look over there on the right-hand side: that’s my blog. I’ll try to make something new happen there from time to time.