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An Emotionally Pluralistic Bloomsday Greeting

June 16, 2016

Drawing of Bloom by Joyce


(Her hand slides into his left trouser pocket and brings out a hard black shrivelled potato. She regards it and Bloom with dumb moist lips.)

Since Bloomsday encompasses the whole of human experience, and possibly beyond, the conventional “Happy Bloomsday” address never seems entirely adequate. Obviously, if you are bringing up your child the Bloomian Way, it is entirely appropriate to start with such simple sweet sentiments. But a properly observed Bloomsday contains far more than mere happiness. In my experience it is one of the saddest days of the year as well. And if it were not for sadness, why would anyone waste their time with literature?

I am currently living in central-air-conditioned exile in Hogwaller, by the livestock market and the sewage treatment plant, just up from the bottomlands of Charlottesville, out of the sight of Jeffersonian hilltoppers. There are no bookstores here, no libraries, no cafes with Wi-Fi; no museums, pubs, maternity hospitals, pork butchers, schools, cab-shelters, or whorehouses. And very few Irish people. But here too roams the spirit of the Bloom. And where you are. And wherever the mind may be.

Bloomsday extends itself beyond all supposed felicities, of place or of state.

Wishes of happiness may be innocent enough, but they risk an awful exclusivity. Should we not also honor the sad Bloomsday, the angry Bloomsday, the nervous Bloomsday the peevish and perverse Bloomsday, the Bloomsday of confusion doubt exhaustion boredom & itch? This is not a holiday from heaven, but fully earth-begotten. Out of the blooming buzzing confusion of the mind of an Irishman and an exile. Into the minds of readers innumerable, in moods innumerable: some wretched, some exalting; some tepid, some ball-tripping; some smooth-grooving, some hot-jazzing; some Canadian, some not Canadian.

So this year, out of a respect for pluralism and the awesome abundance of the soul, I will not say “Happy Bloomsday”. Instead I will leave you with:

Season’s Greetings!

From → Bloomsday

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