Thursday, May 16, 2013
3-13-13 RMB Little Eyes, Big Ears
Dear Rita Mae Brown,
Little eyes have big ears.
When I read the first line of “The Subjunctive: The Empire of the Shadow Senses” chapter in Starting from Scratch: A Different kind of Writers’ Manual, I was in my living room with three boys and my sister watching TV. That first line is “If I were you, I’d read this chapter.” Because it struck me so funny I stopped to laugh then told my sister what I found so funny in your book.
Several days later, the youngest who is now eight, was riding with his mom in her big white truck and reading a book in his lap. He looked down at his book and before starting a new chapter, very seriously said “Momma.”
In his deadpan way he informed her “If I were you, I’d read this chapter.”
She knew of the line in your book that cracked me up and immediately made the connection. She laughed. He laughed. They shared a special moment, a Rita Mae Brown moment between two people that had not even read the book where the line was written.
It wasn’t a story retold, or a joke passed on, it was one line, one Rita Mae Brown line published in 1988, twenty-five years ago, one line that crosses age, gender and time, one line that struck a chord. That line, read by me, shared with a sister, overheard by a child…carried on to his mom.
What a wonderful phenomenon, the distance of your voice’s echo.