Page 20: Tim, Nick and Larry

"Cry not yet! There's many a smile to Nondum, with sytty 
maids per man, sir, and the park's so dark by kindlelight. But
look what you have in your handself! The movibles are scrawl-
ing in motions, marching, all of them ago, in pitpat and zingzang
for every busy eerie whig's a bit of a torytale to tell. One's upon
a thyme and two's behind their lettice leap and three's among the
strubbely beds. And the chicks picked their teeths and the domb-
key he begay began. You can ask your ass if he believes it..."

In this passage, we continue our exploration of the claybook and learn more about the development of writing. Joyce also gives us some instructions for reading the Wake, but more on that in a while.

This images depicts two girls (ALP & HCE's daughter Issy, and her reflection) being watched by the three soldiers (their sons in their conflict, Shem, Shaun, and in their unified nature, Shemshaun) from the beginning of time (menderthalltale 19.25). These watchers in their historical permanence represent every “tim, nick and larry of us, sons of the sod. sons littlesons, yea and lealittlesons, when uses not to be, every sue, siss and sally of us, duggers of Nan" (19.27). ALP (Nan), the mother of the text and the bringer of life--its very life force, in fact, is the unifying and recirculating energy of the Wake; as a river who flows into the sea, all waters are united in her; she washes away and yet preserves all of history; she is eternal and always mutable. And so we, as subjected to her power, are Tom, Dick, and Harry: all that we are has been before, and the Wake makes us conscious that what flickers into view only does so because it resonates with our own experiential frameworks.

So the writing that we see in the claybook is all writing at all moments: ogham and printing all at once. In this image, the markings on the passage tombs represent the beginning of writing. In fact, the carving on kerbstone 52 of the Newgrange passage tomb is almost contemporaneous with the Egyptian hieroglyphs in the image: both are about 5,000 years old.

At the end of the Claybook passage, Joyce cautions us not to be preoccupied with deciphering every detail of his text: "So you need hardly spell me how every word will be bound over to carry three score and ten toptypsical reading throughout the boo of Doublends Jined (may his forehead be darkened with mud who would sunder)..." (20.13-17). Doublends Jined is, of course, Dublin's Giant (Finn, or HCE), but in terms of reading, two ends that can be joined can only signify the circularity of the Wake.