I gave up on Ulysses. It is not the fault of Joyce, I would like to say, just the fault of language, really. When I was younger and I read books because I felt very dumb, very ill informed, indeed, I would read books like Ulysses. Because I knew I needed a starting point, a scope, some painful and complicated point of reference that I could push against. The same goes with writing. Everyone start in that awful stage of over-complicated language. Using a thesaurus non-stop, metering the complexity of their poems in syllable counts. I did that too in high school and man alive, is that unfortunate. Then there is the reverse: the reverse right after that. When everyone writes like Bukowski because everyone knows what is going on and everyone knows that a revolver just is not a revolver a revolver is a lamb. then you get these very dumb very simple stories that are supposed to evoke some deeper meaning and it is all a bore because that meaning is just not there.
I never wrote like that. But I definitely saw myself going in that direction after I graduated, so I quit writing poems. Altogether. For three years I did not write a poem. I could go into the details of this, and the details of my overall displeasure when I meet other poets. But I will not. I think it is fair to say that overall, I felt like I needed a better idea. So I just read a lot and I watched a lot of film. I studied French, made clothes, started a garden and worked at a coffee shop. I wrote a lot, for sure, but never a poem. I hung out with a lot of people I did not like all that much, some I really did like a lot but did not get along so well with, and some I fell in love with and still love and those people know all that. I think. If they don’t then that’s well too. It is a very rare tale indeed when someone is misplaced from where they should be.
But giving up on Ulysses is different. I researched a good amount of things these past few days, and mostly, mostly I am back to the part where I love a good story. And I still do not understand how some things actually get published, especially books that are blatant rip offs of other books. I am not talking about Ulysses here. I am talking about more modern things. And I have been awake and sick for a few days and I keep thinking over and over about this idea of doing vs. not doing.
If ever a young girl’s mouth has gotten her into trouble.