Sunday, June 2, 2013
3-30-13 RMB Language
Dear Rita Mae Brown,
I am plumb out of insights today. Yet, my day feels a bit unfinished without a Dear Rita Mae Brown letter.
I have kept journals in the past and this daily, well nearly daily, writing feels a bit like that. I was not a good journal or diary keeper. Most often it felt more like a list of daily activities than anything meaningful.
When I was in a secret relationship, I’d use code for things like dates and dates that ended with something more. I knew what it meant though and I wanted it recorded, captured in words. Somehow that made it more real in a world where it couldn’t be realized in other ways. Words have weight.
The importance of language to you is akin to my affinity for words. I never saw myself as “stuck” in English. I thought I was expansive for having reached into the language and drawn out a relationship with its words, even working at marrying words with the mystical realm that is so hard to express because it is from another plane, a place beyond words. Now I read your books and see your talks (yay for Youtube) where you discuss language, various dialects, their evolution, the language of animals, the language we express physically, etc. You relate how we communicate to who we are, how we have come to be.
I am listening more carefully now to my Spanish radio; to understand more; looking up Latin words now and then. You have an effect on people. That is part of your draw, you open up thought, expand one’s concepts.
Having worked for a publisher sixteen years now, I have seen umpteen author talks and given a few, representing their works to groups. Your talks are captivating. When I watch your talks, I watch your audience; see them absorb your words; nod in acceptance as concepts seep into their psyche.
You do more than talk, you communicate. I like how you ask questions and chat with people. It reminds me of your emphasis on community. It is more than you up there giving a speech, it is a group of people discussing a topic and you just happen to be the one doing most of the talking. You know those people will leave their chairs and carry on the conversation with their companions. Neat.
I am almost done with In Her Day. Relating to your use of language, I like how you adjust you character’s voice to more than the character, you adjust it to the character in relation to the circumstance. They think differently than they speak, they speak differently depending on whom they are speaking to and who else is listening to the conversation, whether it be private or public. It reveals a deep understanding of the human nature, as well as fine writing.
On a fun note, your intimate scenes are always unique, yet respectful of the human body and persona. In each book I’ve read (Alma Mater, Rubyfruit Jungle and In Her Day) you bring in aspects that amuse or intrigue, whether you are indicating technique, character’s thoughts, perspectives, etc.
Perhaps I have not read that much fiction to compare your work to, but I know something special when I see it.