By Eric Wagner
Special guest blogger
Bob Wilson died on January 11, 2007. January 18, 2021, marks the 89th anniversary of Robert Anton Wilson’s birth. Deadheads call period between August 1, Jerry Garcia’s birthday, and August 9, the anniversary of his death, “The Days Between” after one of the final songs he wrote with Robert Hunter. I’ve taken to calling the week between January 11 and January 18 “The Days Between” as well. The date 1/11 relates to the number 111 which plays an important role in Finnegans Wake as well as in the Kabbalah of Aleister Crowley. Beethoven’s final piano sonata has the opus number 111 as well.
Chapter 1, exercise 5, says, “With your own ingenuity, invent similar experiments and each time compare the two theories – ‘selective attention’ (coincidence) vs. ‘mind controls everything’ (psychokinesis).” On January 7 I decided to start with the hypothesis that James Joyce’s work has something to offer me right now. I will spend 23 days beginning using a “selective attention” model and then 23 days using a “mind controls everything” model. During the first few days of using the selective attention model I read Joyce’s short story “After the Race” with some commentary, read a chunk of Ulysses and a bit of Finnegans Wake, and finished rereading a book on Joyce by Sheldon Brivic.
My Finnegans Wake Club at the high school started its 23rd year last August, and we began again at the beginning of the book. We finished chapter three on January 6, the Feast of the Epiphany and the date of Joyce’s story “The Dead”, and we started chapter four on January 13. This week I also watched a nice Anthony Burgess video on the Wake on Youtube and started listening to a Bob Wilson interview on Joyce and Joseph Campbell. I didn’t realize Bob had met Joseph Campbell.