Being a response to the Daily Prompt: https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/eclipse/
An interesting little word. If you were in some parts of Africa this week you would have borne witness to a solar eclipse this week, and next year Americans will have the same opportunity. There’s something about a solar eclipse that still fascinates us. Even now that we understand them, experiencing darkness during the middle of the day is still hard to get our heads round. It turns one of our most basic expectations about the world upside down. And I think it helps connect us with our primitive past (can you imagine what a total solar eclipse must have been like when it arrived without warning before people understood them and could predict them?), and makes us realise that for all our advances, there’s still so much that we can’t control.
Eclipse also begins and ends with the letter e. There are quite a few such words actually, and feel free to knock yourself out and exercise your brain by trying to think of as many as you can.
Perhaps the strangest thing about the word eclipse is how popular it is as a name. Looking a the Wikipedia disambiguation page for the word, it is the sole title or main word of 14 films or TV episodes, 14 albums, 7 songs*, 13 written works, and 6 ships, among many other uses of the word. If you wanted to a round-the-world trip taking in every bar called Eclipse, your liver probably wouldn’t last the distance.
Including of course the Bonnie Tyler classic Total Eclipse of the Heart. Which I think is a good example of the unusual popularity of the word. I mean, what does that title actually mean? What does a total eclipse of a heart involve? It doesn’t make sense, but we don’t question it because it sounds so romantic.
When you think about the word a little, that popularity doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense. When we use it in everyday speech as a verb, meaning to pass out, or overshadow, it can have quite a negative sense.
And yet, as a name, it has quite a romantic feel to it. What is it that makes the word so attractive? I think it’s to do with that ps sound at the end. The s trails away in a kind of subtle, seductive and mysterious fashion. You almost have to whisper by the end of the word. And who knows, maybe we’re subconsciously attracted to the word lips right there in the middle of it all. But then there’d probably be more bars called Backflips. And that would be a reckless invitation to drunk patrons.
I think the awe of a solar, or even lunar, eclipse is still involved too, even if we’re not conscious of it. Everything going dark all of a sudden is a terrifying yet amazing prospect. Maybe the thrill of it excites us, yet also makes us feel vulnerable and draws us closer together for protection. What could be more attractive than that?
By the way, to save you checking, I’ve already googled to see if there are any bars called Backflips, and there aren’t. Yet…