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She was trying to catch hold of something, or to lay it bare so that she could look and define; for some time now she had been “trying on” ideas like so many dresses off a rack. She was letting words and phrases as worn as nursery rhymes slide around her tongue: for towards the crucial experiences custom allots certain attitudes, and they are pretty stereotyped…

Of course, the choice of one rather than another of these time-honoured phrases has seldom to do with a personal feeling, but more likely your social setting, or the people you are with on an occasion. You have to deduce a person’s real feelings about a thing by a smile she does not know is on her face, by the way bitterness tightens muscles at a mouth’s corner, or the way air is allowed to flow from the lungs after…

The truth was, she was becoming more and more uncomfortably conscious not only that the things she said, and a good many of the things she thought, had been taken down off a rack and put on, but that what she really felt was something else again.

–Doris Lessing, The Summer Before the Dark

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~ by rebel13 on October 10, 2017.

Speak to me.

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