The Seven Virtues of Finnegans Wake
Sevenus virtuetides rollinguponus lolly and backus all the tithes fruiting forward
1. My library copy, dating from the sixties, is aged, but strangely fresh, as if many people checked it out but no one has ever read it. Someone did self importantly make little pencil checks and brackets along side the text, but abandoned the project at page nine.
2. It curiously and simultaneously makes me feel like I'm in way over my head with genius and yet that I could easily write like this too. Like, if I were at a conference with the most advanced physicists in the world and had absolutely no idea what they were talking about, but also had this weird sense for it and felt it was natural to me. If I thus spoke flowingly about these super advanced physics all but about 200 people would think I was speaking very amazing advanced physics. The 200 people though who knew the deep truths about these advanced physics though would think I was being a complete fool, which would be fair enough.
3. I constantly muse on the idea of giving up any idea of audience on my blog, any sense of service to a public. Yes, I imagine continuing to write publicly, but entirely devoted to my own sphere of imagination, writing like I'm in an isolation tank, seeking visions evoked by pure sensory deprivation. Finneagans Wake seems to whisper to me "Come, join me in this endeavor." Well, except it says it more like "Unifluctuous, regard the follwarple fabulists, dallyland the lownely upon."
4. Forty-five minutes with Finnegans Wake will make carefully reading Faulkner seem like one is skimming an article in People Magazine.
5. I love bringing up that I am haplessly reading minute bits of Finnegans Wake to my co-workers. They surprise me by looking all mercurial and mysterious and knowing. They give me the strange feeling that they have all read this book, but found it a tad challenging, and so remember it in an aching bittersweetness.
6. I like that none of the pages are dogeared. This may sound like a repeat of virtue number one, but now that it has been established that all my co-workers have read and practically memorized Finnegans Wake I am through with the "No one reads Finnegans Wake" jokes and find all the pristineness to be a symptom of the mystical reverence each borrower of this book holds for it. I myself have smeared no homemade aioli on my copy, unlike all the other thousands of library books I check out.
7. If one reads a paragraph of Finnegans Wake aloud the comprehension rate goes from two percent to eight percent. If you read that paragraph 10 times the comprehension rate goes from eight percent to 37 percent. I have not ventured beyond this point, but the deep woods look like they go just about forever from there.