This cliché's first appearance in print dates back to 1602, when it was published in A Poetical Rhapsody, a collection of "divers sonnets, odes, elegies, madrigals, and other Poesies." Although the publishers were two English brothers named Francis and Walter Davison, it is unknown whether one of them is the author of the phrase in question.

It was two hundred years before the phrase came into common usage. Its appearace in Thomas Haynes Bayly's popular song "Isle of Beauty" elevated "absence makes the heart grow fonder" to cliché status in the early 19th century, and it's been with us ever since.

Is it true? Well, it can be. There's no point arguing over it; just fill in the circle for "D. Not enough information provided" and move on to the next question.

MARGOT sat up straight in bed, her temples pounding from a late night of drinking with strangers. She'd just moved out on her own, to an apartment near the bowling alley on Cortez Rd., and thought it appropriate to celebrate the occasion with some new friends, a few old friends, and a keg from her friend's friend Carol Hayes, who was just old enough to buy alcohol. Margot was only seventeen, not legally allowed to have her own apartment, or even to drink for that matter, but her mother had worked something out for her when they both thought it was time she began living life on her own.
    She held up one hand to shield her eyes from the brutal light shining in from the Sunday sun outside, then the other over her mouth as she stifled an oncoming wave of vomit. Oh God! She thought, and burped up a waft of stomach acid. She pulled in a breath through her nose, catching a whiff of what she'd just let out, and was barely able to fight back the urge to spill the contents of her stomach onto the floor.
    She tossed the bed sheets aside, revealing her long and slender legs. Her feet touched down on the floor, and once they'd gripped tightly to the carpet underneath, and she'd found herself a firm foundation, she stood upright. The blood rushed from her head, making her dizzy, and she struggled to keep herself balanced. The room spun around her, a blur of beer cans and dirty laundry. She shut her eyes tightly, and waited for her head to refill itself--which it did, eventually.
    Out of the corner of her eye, she caught a glimpse of her reflection in the mirror on the wall. She turned to look at herself and frowned; her hair was a tangled mess and her face was void of any color, more gray now than its usual strawberries and cream. The bands of morning light shone in on her through the blinds of the bedroom window, dividing her into sections. She was naked now, except for a pair of knickers, shivering under the ceiling fan.
    "At least there's no one here to see me like this," she said out loud, leaving her bedroom, nearly tripping over an unfinished bottle of beer on her way out.
    As she sat on the pot, she admired the walls--bare, white--and the puppy dog shower curtain that hung over the bathtub. Her mother had bought it for her as a housewarming gift; they picked it out together at the Goodwill.
    After flushing the toilet, she removed her underwear, and took a long hot shower, letting the water burn her face and breasts, and turning up the heat enough so that she could sweat out the rest of her hangover.
    The curtains crumpled in Margot's fist as she drew them open and stepped out onto the bath mat, where she dried herself and put on a robe. When she was sufficiently dry, she put on a facial-cleansing cream and left for the living room. It was even more a mess than her bedroom: overturned party cups rested on big ugly stains in the carpet, dirt was tracked in by people who'd not taken off their shoes like Margot had asked, six or seven ping-pong balls laid in small pools of alcohol on the table that had been drunkenly repositioned to the center of the living room, not to mention the legion of beer bottles unevenly distributed throughout the apartment. She did not see the keg, as anticipated, only the imprint it left on the carpet. Carol and that sexy guy with the guitar must have taken it with them when they left. Come to think of it, that must have been when everyone else left too. She didn't remember much.
    Even in her refreshed state, Margot was not up to taking on the chore of cleaning the apartment, and she decided instead to pour herself a bowl of Special K. She discovered, much to her dismay, then, after rifling through all the cabinets and drawers, that all the bowls were dirty, having been used as cups the night prior when all the plastic ones had been used up. Washing dishes seemed to her too great a burden, so she escaped to the back porch and the comforting sensation of cool air on her skin.
    Smoking seemed to Margot a necessary evil this morning. She lit up a cigarette and inhaled deeply. She didn't normally smoke, and she wasn't addicted or anything, but it didn't hurt to keep a pack around for times when she needed to calm her nerves. She exhaled, and through the small cloud of smoke she could see a couple parents watching their kids play on the jungle gym in the playground across the little lake outside her porch.
    "Mommy," she whispered.
    Through the sliding glass door she could hear the phone ringing inside. She put out the cigarette, slid open the door and walked up to the kitchen counter.
    "Hi, Hon," said her mother's voice, as unmistakable as always. "I was just thinking about you."
    A tear rolled down her face to the side of her mouth, where she stopped it with her tongue, tasting its bitter-sweetness.
    Margot had trouble saying anything.

Reflections after a decade without e2

(in which yours truly tries to tackle a delicate subject, and falls flat on his face)

I'm attempting to reflect on almost ten years without everything2. I joined everything2 on Boxing Day 1999, in my first year at University. A computer scientist by temperament, I had somehow ended up as an Arts Student. Or more accurately, "the Arts Student", as my contemporaries in the (in my case, non-degree) CS classes put it mockingly.

I was a bored one at that.

Maybe I stumbled on e2 from everything1, or from Slashdot. Certainly, I do remember being 'imported'. In the early days, the site was pretty damn busy, with new write-ups every few minutes, and the very idea of the site still developing. At the same time--and it may speak to the mean age of the users in those days -- my memories are characterised by the strong and quick formation of online friendships.

I started to drift away around 2004; now, ten years later, I see a different site. It's as though the famed nodegel has evaporated under a long sun, or been cooked and condensed down. Back then the rise of Wikipedia was perceived by some as a kind of competition, or even a threat of sorts. While Wikipedia has now taken up the mantle of being an encyclopaedia, it's pleasing to see e2 taking possession of a different aspect. Whilst there's still plenty of fact here, the emphasis is now on creative writing, it would appear.

A whole load of cruft has been purged out through judicious editing. At the same time, the site seems to have slowed, and matured, as I said above. GTKY, whilst seemingly not necessarily frowned upon, has become scarce. In the 'good old days' the New Writeups list could fly like a ticker-tape. Now, your write up from yesterday is still there today. There is a loss of the frenetic sense, though also maybe a loss of a certain dynamism.

Were we simply younger then? There were stupendous "wars in heaven", mudslinging to blacken the sky, and frantic typing as the words and lines hurtled into the abyss. Yet there, something great and new was born.

The irony is that the internet has changed in similar ways, but in almost the opposite direction. When I was a teenager in the 90s, the internet still had Directories! Nowadays, sites dynamically create (crap) pages to satisfy search queries. Whilst the internet grows in gargantuan proportions every day, e2 seems to have gone in the opposite direction. Like a fine wine, she's become mature and refined with age.

There are those we should remember, though. Many have fled*. And there are other absent friends. And even where differences ensued, each one of them helped to create a sense of community, which I hope still survives. Both here, and also, for all those no longer with us, wherever they are. You grow, you move on; wanting everything2 to be immutable would be the same as wishing for a fly in amber. It is what you make of it when you're around. As Heraclitus said, no man can set foot in the same stream twice, though I surely like all the times I've dabbled my toes here.

There. Pseudo-historical GTKY over. "Tassimo Time!"

*though Shanoyu's definition of 2000 is now incorrect: the ones I'm talking about were not "low-level."

Thanks to mad girl's love song for edits.

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