Gulf Shores

Gulf Shores
Photographer Patricia Gulick

Friday, May 3, 2013

2-27-13 RMB Layers

Dear Rita Mae Brown,
I am nearing the end of Rita Will: Memoir of a Literary Rabble-Rouser. I will be sad to reach the end. I have also started to listen to the books you have narrated on CD, Full Cry and The Hounds and the Fury.

Throughout Rita Will: Memoir of a Literary Rabble-Rouser you touch on personal issues. I am trying to absorb your character, to become familiar with you, to read between the lines. I’m not there yet, where one can interpret another by their words. You are layered in ways unfamiliar to me, unique in my experience of how people are, who they are.

That is one of my quirky gifts. I can sit down with a person, talk to them on the phone or even just think of them, and know where they are coming from or where they are headed. An example would be describing a friend’s coworkers to her when she was having issues at work. I pointed out what they looked like, what their focus was, how to deal with them, etc. She lives in a different state and I never saw, spoke to, nor had been in the presence of her coworkers or workplace.

I used to wonder why it was I saw and felt so much. It was overwhelming. I was shy, reluctant to speak, more content to listen. When conversations started bringing out my insights, I was apologetic about it. I worried I was intruding or treading in the private arena of another person’s life until the gratitude of those I spoke with began to pepper the conversations.  By now I have learned to be thankful for the gift.

I mention this because it is rare for me to feel so connected to someone and unable to truly see them. When I see you, I see layers. I see a variety of people. Not in a multi-personality kind of way, more like in a dynamic multifaceted personality kind of way.

It contributes to your humor. A person can be moving along thinking you are on track A, merrily coasting along with your words and suddenly you are on track B, the shift surprises, uplifts, makes us do a double take, and more often than not, laugh.

Without saying it word for word, you have a way of telling us “get over yourself, be open to surprises.” It is a whole conversation that goes on between you and the reader that involves the momentum more than words, emotion more than storyline. With this gift of yours, you know people too. You take them on a ride, lightening their load.

So, here is what took me down this thought path, though the elements I have selected to point out have more to do with me than you, obviously. It’s not that I am skimming over the personal stuff you relay. I find it the most fascinating part of the book. I am glad you included it. Your openness is appreciated. I am still wrapping my mind around it. I can almost hear you saying “what’s there is there”, similar to “I am what I am” as though there is nothing to see beyond the words on the page, nothing to be trying to wrap my mind around.

I have found that what is there in one’s words is rarely, if ever, all that is there. I may never reach the level of understanding I seek in regard to who you are. Knowing the bit I have seen thus far, that would not surprise me. However you are the first person to date as I near fifty that has sidestepped my gift.

You have left many breadcrumbs about you, your life and life in general…for your fans, for generations to examine, whether for us to learn something or be entertained, far too many breadcrumbs for me to ignore. You are playful, enjoying the give and take, if even at times getting exhausted by the sheer numbers. There are millions of us and only one of you.  

I don’t wish to intrude, but I do seek to understand.

Loraine Paige

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