Bloomsday almost slipped past me, but I just managed to grab it by the tale — pun intended! As I pen this post, it is still officially Bloomsday here in America. In case all this is confusing you, June 16, the day that the legendary James Joyce chronicled in Ulysses (June 16, 1904, to be exact), has been officially dubbed Bloomsday. It’s celebrated every
year in Dublin, where the story took place, and elsewhere as well.
In 1954, it seems, a band of Irish authors celebrated Bloomsday by dressing up in costumes, traveling from one end of Dublin to the other in a horse-drawn carriage, and (probably) stopping off at a pub or two on the way. More recently, for the past 30 years, Symphony Space in Manhattan has hosted an annual “Bloomsday on Broadway” where
Leopold-loving actors and writers come together to perform scenes from the novel.
This year, readings both long and short of Ulysses and other festive events were held in cities across America, from New York and Washington, D.C. to Philly and San Francisco.
I love the idea of people celebrating a red-letter day in an author’s life — especially by reading, carousing, and singing — it all sounds very fitting and fun, doesn’t it?
This raises a wealth of possibilities. If James Joyce can have his day, why not Willa Cather, Charles Dickens, or Emily Dickinson? Now, since none of them immortalized a particular day in their work as our boy James did, for simplicity’s sake, we can pick their birthdays as times of celebration. Charles was born on February 7, 1812 (a Pisces, like me!), Willa on December 7, 1873, and Emily on December 10, 1830.
Now I’m sure you have your very own merry little band of beloved authors. Why not check out their birthdays and plan a little fun with friends to celebrate the joy they’ve brought you over the years. A cozy dinner, a glass or two hoisted to the memory of your special
scribe, a snazzy new journal purchased in their honor — what could be more fitting?
We burn lots of little gray cells plying our trade, so why enjoy ourselves as we write on?