Meet Rita Mae Brown
When a person makes an interesting observation, do you sometimes Google that person's name to learn more about them?
This week I encountered a statement made by one Rita Mae Brown:
The reward for conformity is that everyone likes you but yourself.
I smiled, then went Googling to find more of her pithy observations. Are you ready for them?
Are you sure?
If the world were a logical place, men would ride side-saddle.
About all you can do in life is be who you are.
Some people will love you for you.
Most will love you for what you can do for them,
and some won't like you at all.
Creativity comes from trust. Trust your instincts. And never hope more than you work.
Art is moral passion married to entertainment. Moral passion without entertainment is propaganda, and entertainment without moral passion is television.
Don't ask to live in tranquil times. Literature doesn't grow there.
As a woman, I find it very embarrassing to be in a meeting and realize I'm the only one in the room with balls.
I believe you are your work. Don't trade the stuff of your life, time, for nothing more than dollars. That's a rotten bargain.
Recognition of function always precedes recognition of being.
What's the point of being a lesbian if a woman is going to look and act like an imitation man?
Writers will happen in the best of families.
You can't be truly rude until you understand good manners.
A life of reaction is a life of slavery, intellectually and spiritually. One must fight for a life of action, not reaction.
Then I ran across an online interview of Rita Mae Brown
in which she said something that I felt should be archived.
I replayed the video again and again, transcribing a few more words with each repetition until I had the whole passage committed to print. Then I emailed Jeff Sexton, my partner in Wizard of Ads, Inc., the following:
I was studying Rita Mae Brown this morning and found an obscure video interview with her in which she said, This is a warriors language, English. Its noun verb direct object. You get the maximum amount of information in the minimum amount of space. Its not a language thats feminine in any respect, even though sixty percent of it is Latin. I was born to write in English. I dont think I would have become the writer I could in another language. It just flows through me. Because all of its faults are mine, and all of its virtues are mine as a person. So Im totally in tune with my instrument. Rita Mae Brown
I thought it was an interesting observation.
Roy H. Williams
Here's the reply I got from Jeff Sexton
Interesting indeed. Tolkien said much the same thing, and I chuckled to think of Rita Mae and JRR together and discussing it. Offhand I'd say that Tolkien went further than Rita Mae, though, because he identified the “warrior” aspect of the language in its Anglo Saxon past. Rita Mae's statistic is misleading in the following manner: English isn't a Latin language that's been Anglo-Saxonized, it's an Anglo-Saxon language that's been Latinized. That's why Tolkien carried the warrior aspect down to the level of the word, and not just syntax. Fight vs. altercation, home vs. domicile, etc.
Here's an interesting thought – how much further down could this be carried? If you looked at the phonemes a language paid attention to vs. the ones it ignored and you studied the sound iconography of the phonemes that were ignored, could you say something about the character of the language?
For instance, if Chinese does not make use of or really recognize the sound of “L,” can you then look at the sound symbolism in L and expect to find a corresponding cultural lacunae? And if that is the case, what does that say about languages that have an extremely limited number of phonemes?
Thanks for the e-mail, Roy. I've been away from the Academy for too long, and this brought a small piece of it to me this morning.
Wow. Do I have interesting partners, or what?
Roy H. Williams