Having my way with Ulysses


In its own way, this book consists of many books, but two books above all. The first can be read in a normal fashion and it ends with Chapter 56, at the close of which there are three garish little stars which stand for the words The End. Consequently, the reader may ignore what follows with a clean conscience. The second should be read by beginning with chapter 73 and then following the sequence indicated at the end of each chapter. In case of confusion or forgetfulness one need only consult the following list10:11 am

Anemone:  I have been so looking forward to seeing everyone, and look, here we all are!  I can’t remember the last time we had our full membership together.

Forget-me-not:  I can, it was last spring.  But then our group didn’t include Cactus or Nightstalk, and Primrose was still with us.

Violet:  Can’t count on her.

Tulip:  Good riddance, her opinions pissed me off most of the time.

Anemone:  Well, welcome to Manflower.  Do you know everybody?

Manflower:  Everbody but this American beauty next to me.

Rose:  [blushing] how lovely!

Violet: That’s enough false modesty Rose, so did everybody do the reading?

Cactus:  I read every word.

Forget-me-not:  So did I and I remember all of it.  I loved every part of it!

Rose:  Wait, stop right there.  Remember that we don’t say if we liked it or not until the end.

Forget-me-not:  Oh that’s right, how could I forget.  Manflower, that’s one of our only rules.  That and we never reschedule via email.  If you cant come you can’t come.

Violet:  You didn’t forget.

Manflower:  I can come.

Rose:  Oooh!

Tulip:  Well, I had a hard time reading it.  How do you read the bloody thing anyway?  You click on it and there you are somewhere in the middle.  Who reads anything from the middle?  It makes no sense.  Then you have to click to previous posts to find out what’s been going on in a kind of retrospective arrangement.  There’s no linearity to it.  No logical flow.  No forward progression.  I don’t get it.  Who reads like that?

Rose:  Use the tags.  They are so beautiful!

Tulip:  So what?  What about important things that happen only once?  The tags don’t help with that.  You might as well cut all the pages out of a book, scramble them up and then read them that way for all the sense this makes.

Nightstalk:  You have to start at the beginning like I did and read it backwards.  I read every word.

Violet:  You didn’t read it backwards.  And you didn’t read every word.

Nightstalk:  How would you know, you pansy?

Cactus: I can endure anything Nightstock, but don’t be so prickly.

Violet:  I’m telling you with full candor that you didn’t read it backwards.  I, however, read it, then I found out that there is text under every picture so to be faithful to the thing I went back and hovered over all of them.  And I looked for all of our names using the search, except for mine of course.

Anemone:  Oh, tell me what you found!

Violet:  Not much.

Forget-me-not:  Maybe we should all say which picture we remember truely loving the best?  How about you Nightstalk?

Nightstalk:  Um.  I liked.  Lets see.  There was that one.  Um.  All of them.

Violet.  You didn’t look at any of it, did you?

Tulip: This whole conversation is as pointless as this month’s reading.  It isn’t even a real book!  Who can get any pleasure from this?  Look, I’m wilting.  Let’s have dinner and say if we liked the damn thing or not.  I hated it.

Manflower:  So did I.

Rose: Oh me too!  How beautiful that we have that in common.

Cactus:  Careful Manflower, she has thorns.  Rose, get a room already.  The book, non-book, or whatever we are calling this thing just touched me the wrong way.  I hated it too.

Forget-me-not:  I loved it!

Anemone:  We know.  Thanks for ruining the anticipation.

Nightstalk:  I enjoyed it.

Violet:  You didn’t even look at it.  Well I suppose there is enjoyment in that.  I hated it too.  So thats all of us then.

Anemone:  You forgot me!  Why am I always forsaken?  I didn’t like it.  For next month let’s read a real book.

Listen to that warm running sunlight

8:42 am

Haines apologized for screaming in his sleep again.  Buck told him what I said about web fiction which earned the distinction “clever” then suggested I ask Haines for money.  Twice a month Buck has plans for my paycheck; wants to drink it later.  Thinks it will be $700.  He sang this all morning:



I brought his shaving bowl in from the balcony.  This is the song my mind sang all morning, pushed around a bit by Buck’s bellowing:


Am I repeating myself?

All art is quite useless.8:21 am

Buck pointed that cracked mirror of his at me today.  Says he stole it from the cleaning crew his Aunt hired.  Made me look.  I took a look but it took more from me.  Made me see myself as others see me.  Is that something crawling on my head?  Nobody saw that, right?  I feel a bit like Dorian Gray revealing that mirror of his soul to Basil.  Wilde was right about that one.  God isn’t the only one who can look at my soul, I can too and there are too many of me.  We.  So many possibilities buzzing past, and I can watch them go in the mirror and join the multitudes.  The twenty-first century dislike of web fiction is the rage of Calibans seeing multiplicities of his own face in the screen.  Get used to it.  Or maybe just help me up from this hall of mirrors.  I would ask for an infinite rock so I could do some smashing but cracks turn one mirror into several and I cannot bear more multiplication.  Enough.  Stop it.  Don’t look at me.  You look at yourself.