I love when I’m so into reading something that the rest of the world disappears. The past couple of days on the PATH train, I’ve been scrambling to get off at my stop because my nose has been in a slightly dated issue of The New Yorker. I have a small stack of them from June and early July — what a treat.
So today I’m reading about James Joyce’s grandson, Stephen, who is in his 70s. He’s in charge of Joyce’s estate and the intricacies of it are fascinating and a little disconcerting. Scholars the world over are basically at his mercy to quote or borrow or perform anything written by his grandfather and he takes this role very seriously.
One of those scholars spent seven years creating a multimedia version of Ulysses, but Stephen blocked the project. “You should consider a new career as a garbage collector in New York City, because you’ll never quote a Joyce text again,” Stephen told him. Wowza.
A particular conflict that has arisen time and again is Stephen’s desire to protect Joyce’s personal writings and such. Scholars are particularly interested in those because Joyce is said to have drawn so much of his writing from his personal life. According to the article, Joyce drew heavily from events in newspapers and observations from his life and once said, “I’m like a man who stumbles. My foot strikes something, I look down, and there is exactly what I’m in need of.”
As a writer, I love hearing that. Write what you know.
Yes I said yes I will yes.