Feb. 2 is so many things for so many people: an ancient pagan day of celebrating light, as the days begin to grow longer after winter’s long darkness; a Christian day of celebrating Christ’s « presentation to the temple; » a French festive day marked by making crêpes; Groundhog Day in America, which is another version of celebrating light and the coming of spring… It also happens to be the day James Joyce was born, in 1882, and the day on which his books A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (in 1914) and Ulysses (in 1922, on Joyce’s 40th birthday) were published.
So happy 132nd birthday, Mr. Joyce.
And in case you’re interested in a taste of Joyce, here’s a recording of him reading from his last book, Finnegans Wake, in 1929. A wonderful, rare example of language as music, written and performed by a master. I call this literature as koan, for like koans it opens us to a direct experience of the true nature of all things.