On How Following @UlyssesReader And @FinnegansReader Have Improved My Life

For the past several weeks, we have followed two feeds emanating from the same source in some mythic Norse lair that unspools, 140 characters at a time, both Ulysses and Finnegans Wake.  Every five minutes, Timo Koola, who goes by the Twitter handle @tkoola — and who either is in Helsinki or Paris, the information on his various feeds contradict — posts, or has posted by computerized elves, consecutive segments from Joyce’s work.  Like Finnegans Wake itself, the two texts are in a continuous loop, again at the beginning five minutes after Molly has uttered “yes I will Yes.,” five minutes after “a long the.”  And so we plunge back in, to “Stately, plump Buck Mulligan,” and “rivverrun past Eve and Adam’s,” and the cycle begins again.

On weekend mornings when we wake up and check our Twitter feed, we find that the lull in tweeting in the wee hours, as practiced by our usual crew, has allowed the stream from both books to wash together in consecutive counterpoint, and the quotes from both get our day off to a magical, musical beginning.  We might see this from Finnegans Wake:

Or this from Ulysses:

But when you see such quotes together, it makes you realize, first, how much less of a leap it was for Joyce to go from Ulysses to Finnegans Wake than is commonly imagined, and second, how broken up into 140 character segments, atomized in random excerpts, both books are long poems from an imagination that sparkles today every bit as much as it did in 1922, or 1939, when the two books were published.

And then you come across a sequence in succession and it just blows your mind.

In the Ulysses feed, I can pretty much always guess where we are within a few tweets, but you can begin to pick up patterns that, out of context of reading the book, make you wonder how you could have spent so much time engrossed in the text and not have the least remembrance of a particular passage.

And I can’t, right now, find the tweet itself, but on Friday, at lunchtime, when I checked Twitter, the first 140 characters I read were the following quote from Ulysses, and I laughed so hard, my lunch was nearly propelled across the desk:

“the rustle of her slip in whose sinuous folds lurks the lion reek of all the male brutes that have possessed her.)”

Whether or not you have read the two books — and I admit to never having made it through Finnegans Wake — these two feeds are worth following. You will waste a lot of time reading, or re-reading, these two works of genius in a such a manner.  Ah, but you will gain some poetry in your life, some kismet and joy.  Go for it.



One Response to “On How Following @UlyssesReader And @FinnegansReader Have Improved My Life”

  1. Awesome, I can’t wait to check these Twitter feeds out! I will check out the rest of your wordpress too. I just wrote a new article about Finnegans Wake on my wordpress, check it out if you feel inclined. – Derek

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