Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Damn You Silas Marner

Everyone who had to read Silas Marner in high school says they hate George Eliot. So, I guess, everyone hates George Eliot.

Except me. I love George Eliot. Middlemarch is my favorite book and the wisest, kindest book I've ever had the pleasure to read. I can pick it up and read a random page or two and still, after having the read the book dozens of times, have an epiphanal moment. Or a moment where I read something that is as delicious and satisfying as a cigarette with a glass of good bourbon.

I am, to be fair, a sucker for any book where the heroes or heroines start off as assholes and then are redeemed (see Great Expectations for a classic example of this). I fucking love that. Dorothea is SUCH an asshole at the beginning of this book (with good reason). And that she turns out so wonderful, and in a way that feels so honest, is a testament to Eliot's abiding faith in humankind and why the book gives me such joy.

I love that book and could blog about it until the sun comes up (I've deleted about 10 paragraphs waxing rhapsodic about Middlemarch). It is rich. But, here's the real thing... I want to bring Dorothea to now. I know, I know ---done to death. It's a trope that's grown wearisome. And yet, I have this story in me and it won't go away.

I've outlined it and written character sketches. I've got a business hierarchy created around which to frame the novel. I think I know who Dorothea is in this modern world. For starters, she can't be called "Dorothea." I'll call her Brooke. It starts like this:

Brooke was a girl who looked prettier when she was mad. She raised her eyebrows a touch, making her dark eyes look bigger. She brushed her hair away from her face. Angry, she was prone to striding rather than walking, and her stride was kind of sexy (perhaps because her walk was kind of goofy).

Brooke was mad a lot.

Yeah - see that's terrible. I have the story and can't figure out how to start it. Frack