11/11/08

She'll be coming round the mountain when she etc. (An unbecoming becoming)

You really ought to go here and let this guy scare the shit out of you.

Yesterday I finished Ulysses, always an apocalyptic, if not to say apoplectic moment, a bit bittersweet because you realize you're done and that's all? but really you're not done because you can never finish. Finishing the book is worth about the same as knocking out Mike Tyson in 2003 -- impressive as to bragging rights, but short on actual accomplishment. You can't even go back in time and fight him in 1991, and even if you could he'd break your face.

Speaking of accomplishment, though -- I did get to read this passage aloud in a room full of awkward people.

"I feel all fire inside me or if I could dream it when he made me spend the 2nd time tickling me behind with his finger I was coming for about 5 minutes with my legs round him I had to hug him after O Lord I wanted to shout out all sorts of things fuck or shit or anything at all only not to look ugly or those lines from the strain who knows the way hed take it you want to feel your way with a man"

Who saw that obscenity trial coming, eh?

And it's not to say that this was a pertinent passage given the context of the conversation. Apropos of what you might call nothing; but there was no way I was going to read that passage whilst scrambling to finish that fucking book at One AM and not repeat it nine hours later, in the heat of the moment, as it were. If I don't get to read that out loud, what am I in grad school for?

Now: watch the room cast their eyes straight down as if a homeless guy, reeking of piss and wine, came in and sat with an instructor's copy of Gifford's Annotated, pulled his spectacles low onto his nose, and said "let's begin," with what look earily like the professor's bloodily dismembered ears strung on a string round his neck.

Disclaimer: this reflects only my own carefully dissembled feeling of exhilarating awkwardness after reading the passage in question, and in no way reflects on the awkward feelings of any of the other awkward people in the awkward class.

Disclaimer 2: That might have been a reference to Universal Soldier, but you'll never catch me.

I am now plowing, or piledriving if you prefer and I do, my way through Walden, one of the million-billion foundational works of literature which I cannot do what I do without having read, and which I have not read. I am on a photo-tour of the Grand Canyon, strafing through in an Apache helicopter, shooting at anything that looks like it might have once been alive, vomiting into the Colorado River from 300 feet in the air, just to leave my mark. It is not the most sensitive reading strategy, but sensitivity will not change the fact that time is of the essence. (Does it ever? Isn't it always?). The upshot of this is, it's pretty hard to read Walden right now and not think, Obamamania would have made this motherfucker sick. And that's kind of funny.

Worst thing today: I read this sentence -- "As I did not teach for the good of my fellow-men, but simply for a livelihood, this was a failure" -- and it sort of stuck in my craw, because earlier I met with a student who got Frank Churchill and Mr. Martin confused in Emma. Not just one time, though. In general. This is basically an impossible mistake to make. I carefully explained, "Frank Churchill is the gay guy in Clueless. Mr. Martin is Breckin Meyer, the skeezy skater stoner."

"Ah!" she said, with a blaze of inspiration. "Christian and Travis!"

My fingers, heart, and birdlike soul flutter with anticipation for her final paper.

Quoth McNulty: I am a leader of men.

4 comments:

Boatfish said...

You are an incredibly sensitive man who inspires joy joy feelings in all those around you.

You got schooled.
You know the rules.

Sisyphus said...

What, you didn't read the part in the Nighttown chapter where Bella/Bello shoves a fist in Bloom up to the elbow?

Sheesh, what are the kids coming to these days?

PS if you read Nightwood in the same seminar, there's a great long passage where Michael Oconnor (Oconnor? I forget) is masturbating in a church while talking to his penis, which he has named. If you think Molly's fun you should sit in a seminar and have the prof read _that_ passage out to you.

Compared to that, pretty much everything in Walden sucks.

CircleGetSquare said...

ahh, watching universal soldier and sleeping on doug's floor in iowa city...

D said...

Boatfish: Well said.

Sisyphus: I once went to a talk about Nightwood, but you've just made me wish I had gone to a much different talk about Nightwood. A talk with more talking penises. Also: don't hold it against me. We talked about Circe last week.

Circle: Old days / good times.