14 posts tagged life
Listening to the Ulysses by James Joyce podcast series… Re:Joyce by Irish writer Frank Delaney http://blog.frankdelaney.com/2010/06/re-joyce-episode-0-introduction-to-james-joyces-ulysses.html (great stuff, really brings each page to life and in a humorous and interesting way he breaks down all the obscure references in five minute podcasts). Watched the Irish films “Bloom” (based on Ulysses) and “Nora” (about James Joyce and Nora Barnacle’s romance). Also watched a travel film by the Joyce museum of Dublin on a “Ulysses Tour of Dublin” chapter by chapter. So many of the spots detailed in the novel are still to be found and visited, especially on Bloomsday.
In school I was greatly influenced by Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and Dubliners. I read Ulysses but probably only understood less than half of it, for I didn’t understand all the fin de siecle or Irish catholic or political references richly woven through Joyce’s prose. The free podcasts and films are adding a deeper and more relatable layer to the beloved but difficult book.
Over the last couple of years my husband and I have been having little “Irish film festivals” at home but really they are more of a home made cultural exploration all year long - listening to Irish music on Boston radio and internet podcasts and international radios online, attending Irish music and dance performances, and Irish plays, renting old Irish films and keeping an eye out for new Irish cinema, reading history books about Ireland and it’s politics and people or fiction by Irish and Irish Americans. There’s a certain joy in immersing yourself in another culture, especially one you have some mysterious, opaque connection to.
I love things like iTunes University and free podcasts and lecture series offered in many different formats online for anyone to listen to for free. We’re free to self educate, free to expand ourselves in some small inner way, free to see something new - or see something old in a new way.
I often find myself wasting time on silly things which make me feel empty rather than filled up with something that changes my worldview just a little bit enough to brighten things for me when I’m down. When I refocus myself on learning something (that interests me, mind you) I don’t feel like I am wasting my youth or time or life anymore. After a long day of work or a particularly trying time I love to luxuriate in trash tv or something frivolous and funny. Without those pursuits life would be colorless for me. But when I balance my pursuits in the favor of self education and mental expansion I find I am happier in the long run. Perhaps, at brighter moments, even fulfilled. Like when I’m behind a camera. That kind of feeling. We all have something which makes us feel more … us. That different thing which sets us apart in which we can disappear into.
When I think about all this free knowledge out there if you have access to a computer or a library - especially now with all these podcasts lecture series, university classes, documentaries, etc I feel happy to be alive in 2013. I feel very lucky. And it reminds me to pick this up more often, search, research, investigate, listen, write, ask question, pour over old books and digital texts, listen to professors and amateurs and students and professional and unprofessional enthusiasts and open myself up more to seeing, ingesting, understanding more about history and life and books. There’s so much information offered to us if we allow it in. And unlike with news or propaganda we can choose the subjects we want to better acquaint ourselves with, especially as adults out of school. And there is no prior educational requirement: it is much like the british system of “open university”.
There’s the world there, right at our fingertips. Turn the page. Turn it on, tune in, drop in. The revolution will be recorded and replayed.