Dialogue with James Joyce

“Hi Jimmy, can I call you that?”

“Sure you can Rupert, how are you today?”

“Not bad thanks. I wondered if you could explain to me why you spent so much time writing books which are so hard to understand?”

“Well, that is a good question. Sure, the world is hard to understand, and so is the human race. If you are going to write about important things, it’s going to be difficult to write and difficult to understand, isn’t it?”

“Is that the tootle of the flute?”

“No it’s the blaring of the bum trumpet first thing in the morning begorragh.”

“Thanks for putting me straight there Jimmy.”

“Think nothing of it. But of course I could not think nothing of anything. I thought much about everything. That’s why it took so fekking long to write about it.”

“How did you keep your energy going all that time?”

” Well I think it was about enjoying the process of the writing, and chortling to myself over the little jokes and word plays that I managed to get in there. Norah used to get very chippy about that in bed at night when I chortled. It was the chortle of the portal ha ha.”

“Portal to what Jimmy?”

“Oh I don’t know, the portal to my mind I suppose.”

“So laughing kept you going… what else?”

“It certainly wasn’t the prospect of recognition. The Wake was not well received I can tell you. People were very damning about it, but I thought, you know, just read it, and if you don’t like it, just read it again ha ha.”

“I confess that I have not read Ulysses or the Wake yet, but I have dipped my toe into both. And I loved Dubliners I must say. It felt like I was admitted to a party, even though some of it is quite dark.”

“I’m glad you enjoyed it. Yes they were fun to write. Norah liked them as well, which was nice. And of course the lady in Paris.”

“So why leave Dublin?”

“I had to leave in order to see it clearly. But my mind never left Dublin, even though it also went to Europe. Paris, Zurich, Trieste anyway. They were good places to be. And you could meet so many more people than you could in Dublin. But sure, you sometimes want to be on your own. But I love a chat. That’s the blarney there I think. Now listen, I must be off, I have a bit of gibberish to get down on paper before it flies away ha ha. Seeya Rupert, and great to meet you.”

“Thanks Jimmy, I will keep at it.”

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