ETHOS

ETHOS

Monday, December 7, 2009

Awareness

So I was up until 1:30am trying to solder the new fixtures together in the downstairs shower and I'm feeling strangely euphoric at 8:00am, looking forward to talking about Dubliners this week with my advanced seniors. We're studying the book in the order Joyce intended: childhood, adolescence, maturity, and public life. They're doing well with the stories and I think our study of Heart of Darkness really prepared them for the subtlety of "literary" writing. I introduced them to these stories with "Araby," and then "An Encounter," and we're looking at "The Sisters" last in the childhood section, just because I find it the most obscure story in the section (due to the religious stuff), and I knew it wouldn't make a strong first impression.

Reading Dubliners again has really rekindled my love for the craft of the short story. Naysayers who love the opinion that Joyce would never get published today can keep their negativity to themselves as far as I'm concerned. Joyce might experience difficulty getting into print today for the same reason there are scads of brilliant writers out there with the same problem...he'd probably suffer for his art today just like he suffered for his art back then. Almost never a bad thing.

Anyway. Onto the nature of epiphany. It strikes me that epiphany is the same thing as realizing our flaws...at least these seem to be the nature of the epiphanies in the childhood section of Dubliners. We're children, all of us and it's only through utter scrutiny of our self that we grow and become self-aware. The epiphanies are not always encouraging, but the alternative, walking around with your mouth hanging open, blissfully unaware, is worse I guess. I'd like to say I'd rather be a child again...unaware...but it's not true. Knowing that I was unaware was more painful than the process of becoming aware. After careful scrutiny I have decided I am not very skilled with solder.

This realization will not stop me from trying again.

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