Sunday, June 13, 2010

Looking Up

I recently finished reading "Women, Food and God", by Geneen Roth. I rather liked it, but I do tend to admire her approach, although I wish there had actually been more "God" in this. Not that I'm avidly religious, photos of cherubim notwithstanding, but I have found that for some of us maintaining a healthy attitude toward eating requires a strong attention to the spiritual. This book advocates a "be here now" philosophy - feel your emotions now instead of numbing them with food.

What really got me going on an interesting side tangent was a quote she included in the book, from James Joyce's short story, "A Painful Case". The quote as I found it in Roth's book was along the lines of: "He lived a short way from his body" and it was used as an example of how most of us are so disconnected from our bodies and ourselves that we have no clue who we are and so of course we eat (or we drug or we do whatever we do to numb out). Well, since inquiring minds always want to know, I used a well-known search engine to do additional research. Turns out that is not the way Joyce wrote that sentence. What he wrote is: "He lived at a little distance from his body, regarding his own acts with doubtful side-glasses."

Disclosure: I am not a Joyce scholar; I'm not that smart. I tried to read Ulysses some years ago in college and failed. It made my eyes cross. I was grateful that this was just a short story.

What I found most fascinating about this research is not the actual story of Mr. Duffy or the intellectuals who dissect the Joyceian realm, but the fact that the incorrect quote that Roth used turned out to be so prevalent in that sort of self-help literature. Evidently no one thought that it would actually be useful or relevant to look up what Joyce actually said, which held ever so much more meaning.

Re: the photo. I found that little angel resting in the treehouse located in my parents' back yard.