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Posted by on Jun 17, 2010

Ulysses, The National Library of Ireland, and Medicinal Plants

Blogging on this personal level has been fairly light of late as most of my writing energy is directed towards work. On a side note, I find it is just as good as I imagined it would be to have a large part of your day directed towards writing. Writing as a blog, as a communication, as a tweet, as a push, as a post. It is all creative in some way. I suppose it keeps me on my toes.

But there are other sides that want to be expressed outside of work and occasionally I want to rip off a bad poem or two, post someone else’s prose, relish in some archaic literary milestone (yesterday was Bloomsday, by the way).

Jen

My wife at The National Library of Ireland, the setting of an early scene of Ulysses. I spent most of my honeymoon stealthily recreating the novel, disguising it all as merely sightseeing. In the National Library, Stephen Daedalus explains his theories on Hamlet and Shakespeare. Daedalus believed that Shakespeare based many of his characters on Anne Hathaway's supposed adultery. In Ulysses, Molly Bloom is having an affair (with Stephen's friend) and Leopold is hinted at having an affair. I, on the other hand, am enraptured with my wife. Totally smitten. I mean just look at her.

What I find I am missing most of all is travel. Something overseas, something exotic. I haven’t left the country in a little under two years and I feel it. I suppose this travel will happen soon enough. In my experience, if you don’t plan for it, it will never happen. So I suppose I need to plan something fairly soon. I will be heading to Edinburgh next year, but perhaps a Korea trip? Perhaps, perhaps.

Almost literally the last time I was abroad was with the man in this video, Siro Masinde. We were making our way across North Africa (Tunisia and Egypt), meeting with wonderful people, doing some good presentations, training, capacity building, ancient ruins, guides, handshakes, smiles, and photographs. Memorable.

Siro is also a world class botanist and here he is walking around the medicinal plants garden on the East African Herbarium at the National Museums of Kenya explaining what each plant does and how best to use it. Always a teacher and such a patient speaker and listener.

I need to write more (and more, and more). But I feel inclined to include a little more Ulysses, Molly’s closing words as she lingers between waking and sleep, drifting farther and farther into a pleasant dream/memory. The end of the novel is her awaking slightly to hear her husband coming to bed. He suspects her adultery (I believe only with a smell and an imprint in the bed). She dreams the novel to sleep with a memory of how her husband proposed to her. The word ‘yes’ appears only sporadically at first (it is a long ending with no punctuation, a rambling flirtation with sleep), but builds in a rhythm as if she knew she would say yes even before he knew he was going to ask the question. Beautiful.

O that awful deepdown torrent O and the sea the sea crimson sometimes like fire and the glorious sunsets and the figtrees in the Alameda gardens yes and all the queer little streets and pink and blue and yellow houses and the rosegardens and the jessamine and geraniums and cactuses and Gibraltar as a girl where I was a Flower of the mountain yes when I put the rose in my hair like the Andalusian girls used or shall I wear a red yes and how he kissed me under the Moorish wall and I thought well as well him as another and then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes.

There you have it. That post had a little bit of everything, didn’t it?

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