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Rita Mae Brown

  • An army of lovers shall not fail.

    • Rita Mae Brown,
    • "Sappho's Reply," The Hand That Rocks the Cradle ()
  • To love without role, without power plays, is revolution.

    • Rita Mae Brown,
    • "Say It Isn't So," in The Ladder ()
  • The dead are the only people to have permanent dwellings.

    • Rita Mae Brown,
    • "For Those of Us Working for a New World," Songs to a Handsome Woman ()
  • Once you know what women are like, men get kind of boring. I'm not trying to put them down, I mean I like them sometimes as people, but sexually they're dull.

  • Gossip is irresponsible communication.

  • In art as in politics we must deal with people as they are not as we wish them to be. Only by working with the real can you get closer to the ideal.

  • Trouble is said to be good for an artist's soul but almost never is.

  • Today we live in a society suffering from ethical rickets.

  • Consider the 'new' woman. She's trying to be Pollyanna Borgia, clearly a conflict of interest. She's supposed to be a ruthless winner at work and a bundle of nurturing sweetness at home. It remains for each woman to find her place and each man his in this cultural chaos of mixed signals.

  • I no longer idolize reason. I have come to accept that ninety percent of what we do is irrational and that we spend what little rational thought we have in justifying our irrationality.

  • I know that after all is said and done, more is said than done.

  • I'm beginning to feel that the real endangered species on planet earth are not the whales and the elephants but those of us who can laugh at the world and ourselves. ... I fear the dry turn of the American mind, this focus on the literal, as much as I fear our capacity for self-destruction. We've become hagridden by facts, obsessed with product instead of process. Where's the energetic wit, the looney outlook, the frivolity, the lightness of comforting laughter? It has become fashionable to know and unfashionable to feel, and you can't really laugh if you can't feel.

  • Mothers have a habit of proving right except you don't find that out until you're the age your mother was when she gave you the advice.

  • Possession of a secret is no guarantee of its truth.

  • Familiarity breeds consent.

  • She says the same thing over and over again thinking repetition will substitute for proof.

  • Love is the wild card of existence.

  • Guilt is a Jewish invention improved upon by Christians for the last two thousand years.

  • ... the reason for revolution is so the good things in life circulate.

  • Anyway, in America the word revolutionary is used to sell pantyhose.

  • There are more differences between poor people than between middle-class people.

  • Adjectives are the curse of America.

  • There's a thin line between collectivity and chaos...

  • ... Yankees, once they hear a drawl, no longer take seriously anything the person says.

  • Pain isn't always the enemy.

  • It's a big jump from smart to motherwit.

  • She thought of art the way she thought of tennis. It was for the white and the rich. Worse than tennis it was almost all men.

  • A woman who will tell her age will tell anything.

  • We all want to leave our children the Garden of Eden and we wind up giving them hardscrabble.

  • England is an aquarium, not a nation.

  • Armies are dependent on youthful male ignorance.

  • She calls a spade a delving instrument.

  • Intuition is a suspension of logic due to impatience.

  • If the world were a logical place, men would ride side-saddle.

  • A peacefulness follows any decision, even the wrong one.

  • Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.

  • Sport strips away personality, letting the white bone of character shine through. Sport gives players an opportunity to know and test themselves. The great difference between sport and art is that sport, like a sonnet, forces beauty within its own system. Art, on the other hand, cyclically destroys boundaries and breaks free.

  • Divorce is the one human tragedy that reduces everything to cash.

  • You sell a screenplay like you sell a car. If somebody drives it off a cliff, that's it.

    • Rita Mae Brown,
    • in Newsweek ()
  • Novels, like human beings, usually have their beginnings in the dark.

  • Memory is the true function of age.

  • It's still easier to take a blow from outside than it is to be disgusted with myself for not taking a stand. I don't know how people can live and not fight back but apparently millions do. They must hate themselves.

    • Rita Mae Brown,
    • Poems
    • ()
  • We have the ability to be the Athens of modern times as opposed to the militaristic Sparta. I remind you that the Athenians wrote poetry. The Spartans did not.

    • Rita Mae Brown,
    • Poems
    • ()
  • All decisions are based on insufficient evidence.

    • Rita Mae Brown,
    • Bingo
    • ()
  • Dad could charm a dog off a meat wagon.

    • Rita Mae Brown,
    • Bingo
    • ()
  • ... sex has never been private and it never will be. We perform the act in private but we must be public about the connection. Sex is how we pass down worldly goods. It's how we create the primary unit of our society, the couple. ... This rule applies to gay people as well as straight people. ... The community absolutely must know who is straight, who is gay, who is married, and who is single. Without that information we make painful mistakes and lose time.

    • Rita Mae Brown,
    • Bingo
    • ()
  • ... piety is like garlic: a little goes a long way.

    • Rita Mae Brown,
    • Bingo
    • ()
  • I used to think romantic love was a neurosis shared by two, a supreme foolishness. I no longer thought that. There's nothing foolish in loving anyone. Thinking you'll be loved in return is what's foolish.

    • Rita Mae Brown,
    • Bingo
    • ()
  • I don't want to die. I think death is a greatly overrated experience.

    • Rita Mae Brown,
    • Bingo
    • ()
  • The only good thing ever done by a committee was the King James version.

    • Rita Mae Brown,
    • Bingo
    • ()
  • I think the reward for conformity is that everyone likes you except yourself.

    • Rita Mae Brown,
    • Bingo
    • ()
  • The difference between genius and stupidity is that even genius has its limits.

    • Rita Mae Brown,
    • Bingo
    • ()
  • People who care for you inevitably become beautiful.

    • Rita Mae Brown,
    • Bingo
    • ()
  • So often the truth is told with hate, and lies are told with love.

    • Rita Mae Brown,
    • Bingo
    • ()
  • ... nostalgia, that residue of pleasure.

    • Rita Mae Brown,
    • Bingo
    • ()
  • Where there is no faith, devils are a necessity.

    • Rita Mae Brown,
    • Bingo
    • ()
  • [A pariah is] something like a martyr with more suffering and less class.

    • Rita Mae Brown,
    • Bingo
    • ()
  • The owner of Mojo's was a suicide blonde, dyed by her own hand.

    • Rita Mae Brown,
    • Bingo
    • ()
  • ... whoever said progress was a positive thing has never been to Florida or California.

    • Rita Mae Brown,
    • Bingo
    • ()
  • A deadline is negative inspiration. Still, it's better than no inspiration at all.

  • Art is moral passion married to entertainment. Moral passion without entertainment is propaganda, and entertainment without moral passion is television.

  • It's an act of faith to be a writer in a postliterate world.

  • Content without style is propaganda or adolescence. Style without content is decadence.

  • I believe all literature started as gossip.

  • I believe in art that conceals art.

  • I believe that we often disguise pain through ritual and it may be the only solace we have.

  • I believe in a lively disrespect for most forms of authority.

  • I believe every change any word has undergone probably originated in ignorance.

  • Creativity comes from trust. Trust your instincts. And never hope more than you work.

  • I think of birth as the search for a larger apartment.

  • Seriousness is the refuge of the shallow. There are events and personal experiences that call forth seriousness but they are fewer than most of us think.

  • Humor comes from self-confidence. There's an aggressive element to wit.

  • I still miss those I loved who are no longer with me but I find I am grateful for having loved them. The gratitude has finally conquered the loss.

  • The process of writing, any form of creativity, is a power intensifying life.

  • For you to be successful, sacrifices must be made. It's better that they are made by others but failing that, you'll have to make them yourself.

  • Show me a writer, any writer, who hasn't suffered and I'll show you someone who writes in pastels as opposed to primary colors.

  • Alcohol is an allergy of the body and an obsession of the mind.

  • The only merciful thing about drug abuse is the speed with which it devastates you. Alcoholics can take decades to destroy themselves and everyone they touch. The drug addict can accomplish this in a year or two. Of course, suicide is even more efficient.

  • Monogamy is contrary to nature but necessary for the greater social good.

  • Recognition of function always precedes recognition of being.

  • Education is a wonderful thing. If you couldn't sign your name you'd have to pay cash.

  • You can't be truly rude until you understand good manners.

  • Language is the road map of a culture. It tells you where its people come from and where they are going.

  • Language exerts hidden power, like the moon on the tides.

  • The human animal varies from class to class, culture to culture. In one way we are consistent: We are irrational.

  • English is weak in describing emotional states or intensities of interpersonal relationships.

  • Language is decanted and shared. If only one person is left alive speaking a language — the case with some American Indian languages — the language is dead. Language takes two and their multiples.

  • Writers are the moral purifiers of the culture. We may not be pure ourselves but we must tell the truth, which is a purifying act.

  • Don't ask to live in tranquil times. Literature doesn't grow there.

  • Money and writing appear to be mutually exclusive.

  • If Michaelangelo were a heterosexual, the Sistine Chapel would have been painted basic white and with a roller.

    • Rita Mae Brown,
    • in The New York Times ()
  • Martina was so far in the closet she was in danger of being a garment bag.

    • Rita Mae Brown,
    • in Newsweek ()
  • ... I have always been suspicious of romantic love. It looks too much like a narcissism shared by two ...

  • Dying's not so bad. At least I won't have to answer the telephone.

  • I became a lesbian out of devout Christian charity. All those women out there are praying for a man and I gave them my share.

  • Why marry a woman if you're going to betray her, and if you're going to betray her, why beat her? The fault is not hers ... I sometimes think the worst we do, we do behind closed doors.

  • Life is unjust, people can be cruel, and yet if you harden your heart, you will lose what little love there is in this world.

  • Pornography exists for the lonesome, the ugly, the fearful. ... it's made for the losers.

    • Rita Mae Brown,
    • in Ms. ()
  • ... many lesbians were so far in the closet they were in danger of being mistaken for garment bags.

    • Rita Mae Brown,
    • in Ms. ()
  • If you can't raise consciousness, at least raise hell.

    • Rita Mae Brown,
    • in David Blanton, Queer Notions ()
  • Mother believed in enjoying herself. Aunt Mimi believed in enjoying herself, then feeling guilty about it.

  • Aunt Mimi possessed a horror of silence, which she battled with endless chat. The Typhoid Mary of the Telephone started her calls at 6:30 each morning.

  • What happens to children and families today who sit around the television? They're watching made-up stories. It's not their experience and it's not truly shared. A human being must learn at a very young age how to connect to other human beings. Our technologies are driving us apart, only connecting us in terms of information, not in terms of emotions.

  • Some people live life and others talk about it.

  • Good judgment comes from experience and experience comes from bad judgment.

  • Oppression works in such a way that it holds every person responsible for the acts of any wrongdoer of the oppressed group.

  • The only people who are queer are the people who don't love anybody.

  • ... friendship is love made bearable.

  • Love is an act of faith.

  • Golf is an expensive way to make yourself miserable.

  • In America sex is an obsession. In Europe it's a fact of life.

  • Femininity and masculinity are social constructs. Female and male are biological. We don't have to learn to be men or women but we do have to learn to be ladies and gentlemen.

  • Whenever I doubt the existence of God or the Goddess, I look at horses. Only God could have made a horse.

  • ... compromise is the work of mature people.

  • It really doesn't take brains to be a politician as much as it takes stomach. Both would be nice, but in America we have accepted diminishing returns in this arena.

  • Angels can fly because they take themselves lightly.

  • Tragedy massages the human ego even as comedy deflates it. ... Tragedy pits us against large foes and the trip wire is our own character. ... In comedy we fall afoul of one another. Comedy depends on social life, on our behavior in groups. In tragedy you can observe one human against the gods. In comedy it's one human versus other humans and often one man (or woman if I'm writing it) against her own worst impulses.

  • You're nothing in America if you don't have debt.

  • Tennis is physical chess.

  • Book tours are like boot camp but with little sleep and less food.

  • Death is a greatly overrated experience. I hated Mother's and I'm not looking forward to my own. Apart from the sorrow there are the bills to be paid. Nobody dies for free.

  • Youth moves out, leaving no forwarding address. No matter how you try, you can't reach that person again or that place.

  • When Mother died I was both freed and abandoned, as are we all at this profound juncture in our lives.

  • ... all outcast peoples struggle to be recognized as individuals. The damage of oppression is that it robs you of your individuality. You're just a faggot. Or whatever — fill in the blank. Everything you do is seen through the prism of your gayness or your womanness or your blackness by some people.

  • I think in the years to come what Reagan will be remembered for is that he had the chance to stop the plague and he chose not to because the 'right people' were dying.

  • So much of life is happenstance. It makes me laugh when I go to a bookstore and see all those titles about controlling your life. You're lucky if you can control your bladder.

  • Stars bitch and moan. Actors act.

  • The statistics on sanity are that one out of every four Americans is suffering from some form of mental illness. Think of your three best friends. If they're OK, then it's you.

    • Rita Mae Brown,
    • in Susan Musgrave, Musgrave Landing: Musing on the Writing Life ()
  • Divorce: fission after fusion.

    • Rita Mae Brown
  • Lead me not into temptation; I can find the way myself.

    • Rita Mae Brown
  • When I got [my] library card, that was when my life began.

    • Rita Mae Brown
  • I finally figured out the only reason to be alive is to enjoy it.

    • Rita Mae Brown
  • I don't think there is a 'gay lifestyle.' I think that's superficial crap, all that talk about gay culture. A couple of restaurants on Castro Street and a couple of magazines do not constitute culture. Michelangelo is culture. Virginia Woolf is culture. So let's don't confuse our terms. Wearing earrings is not culture ...

    • Rita Mae Brown
  • A life of reaction is a life of slavery, intellectually and spiritually. One must fight for a life of action, not reaction.

    • Rita Mae Brown
  • Computer dating is fine, if you're a computer.

    • Rita Mae Brown

Rita Mae Brown, U.S. writer, poet

(1944)