Maggie didn’t know Tom was looking at her; she was seesawing on the elder-bough,
lost to almost everything but a vague sense of jam and idleness.
I’m certain that when George Eliot wrote this little piece of The Mill on the Floss, she was not instructing her readers to “Eat pastry like nobody’s watching.” But you know, it’s not bad advice, taken either metaphorically or literally…
Not that I’m trying to give you advice; Jam and Idleness is not an advice column; but we should all acknowledge that baked goods are part of what makes life more than merely survivable.
Jam and Idleness has changed over the years; these days, I’m using it to experiment with the personal essay, a form I recently fell in love with after reading some very fine examples thereof by E.B. White, Virginia Woolf, E.M. Forster, Joan Didion, Roxane Gay, MFK Fisher, Marilynne Robinson, and Max Beerbohm. Please feel free to make suggestions for my further reading in the genre!