I started reading George Eliot’s “Middlemarch” for the first time yesterday afternoon, and I’m enjoying it rather profoundly. She done good. There are many quotable bits and here is one I marked with a torn corner of an old train ticket so I’d be able to copy it here later:

We mortals, men and women, devour many a disappointment between breakfast and dinner-time; keep back the tears and look a little pale about the lips, and in answer to inquiries say, “Oh, nothing!” Pride helps us; and pride is not a bad thing when it only urges us to hide our own hurts–not to hurt others.

When I need to mark a passage in a book, I will not fold down the corner of the page. NEVER, ever. I will, however, note something in pencil, underline it or include marginalia. I am not opposed to that. Making a page dog-eared, however, is somehow unforgivable in my mind. I will use Post-Its, old receipts, pieces of dental floss (unused!) – whatever I happen to have on hand at that moment of “Ooooh!”

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I’m trying to find the right word to describe affection or to serve as a synonym for it. Dictionary.com and thesaurus.com provided a few worthy contenders, but still no one word that’s “it.” Here are some of the suggestions which I’ve pared down:ardor, care, closeness, concern, devotion, endearment, friendship, liking, love, predilection, propensity, regard, sentiment, tenderness, warmth, adoration, affection, esteem, estimation, favor, fondness, veneration, druthers, fondness, partiality, rapport, simpatico

None of those words are the one I’m looking for.

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I’ve had a Rasputina song stuck in my head since last night. I put it on the mix CD, and the lyrics just keep repeating. I was singing it in the bathroom stall at work. Quietly, but still… I was singing. Rasputina. In the bathroom. At work. The song is called, “Signs of the Zodiac”:

Do you believe in the Signs of the Zodiac?
Haven’t you found that the systems for
Planning always fail?Can you avoid what gave Daddy his heart attack?
Have you tried everything, anything
All to no avail?

I know what you need.
This will really work.
In ancient times, if you were sick
They make you bleed.
Oh, honey I know it hurts.

Look all around you and notice you’re not alone.
We want to give you the courage to
Go a different way.
Think of the love and attention we all have shown.
What did we do when we heard, well, we
All came right away.

I know what you need.
This will really work.
In ancient times, if you were sick
They make you bleed.
Oh, honey I know it hurts.

Do you believe in the Signs of the Zodiac?

I know what you need.
This will really work.
In ancient times, if you were sick
They make you bleed.
Oh, honey I know it hurts.

Do you believe in the Signs of the Zodiac?

The chorus – the part about ancient times and making you bleed – is really the part that’s stuck in my head. It would be more than a little creepy to walk about the office singing silently, to myself, “in ancient times if you were sick, they make you bleeeeeeed” (and she has a little vibrato going on during the word “bleed”).

One thought on “George “I’m Not a Dude” Eliot

  1. Regarding words, sometimes to capture the specific essence, it may take more than a single word. You may need to invoke a phrase, such as “the comfort of sincerity” or “potential wonderstrike” depending upon your intended context. (I know wonder-stricken is accepted, but I boldly use the derivation wonderstrike, which may not be official yet.) Anyway, I think it’s ironic that it takes an increase in words to describe a narrower thought than the broad but brief word “affection.”

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