"Recognition of function always precedes recognition of being." -- Rita Mae Brown
Rita Mae Brown (born November 28, 1944) is an American writer. She is best known for her first novel Rubyfruit Jungle. Published in 1973, it dealt with lesbian themes in an explicit manner unusual for the time. Brown is also a mystery writer and screenwriter.
"A deadline is negative inspiration. Still, it's better than no inspiration at all.""A life of reaction is a life of slavery, intellectually and spiritually. One must fight for a life of action, not reaction.""A peacefulness follows any decision, even the wrong one.""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.""Art is moral passion married to entertainment. Moral passion without entertainment is propaganda, and entertainment without moral passion is television.""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.""Creativity comes from trust. Trust your instincts. And never hope more than you work.""Divorce is the one human tragedy that reduces everything to cash.""Don't ask to live in tranquil times. Literature doesn't grow there.""Education is a wonderful thing. If you couldn't sign your name you'd have to pay cash.""Every action is either strong or weak, and when every action is strong we are successful.""Good judgment comes from experience, and often experience comes from bad judgment.""Humor comes from self-confidence.""I am a comic writer, which means I get to slay the dragons, and shoot the bull.""I became a lesbian because of women, because women are beautiful, strong, and compassionate.""I believe in a lively disrespect for most forms of authority.""I believe the true function of age is memory. I'm recording as fast as I can.""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.""I finally figured out the only reason to be alive is to enjoy it.""If the world were a logical place, men would ride side-saddle.""Intuition is a suspension of logic due to impatience.""Language exerts hidden power, like the moon on the tides.""Lead me not into temptation; I can find the way myself.""Leroy bet me I couldn't find a pot of gold at the end, and I told him that was a stupid bet because the rainbow was enough.""Moral passion without entertainment is propaganda, and entertainment without moral passion is television.""Morals are private. Decency is public.""One of the keys to happiness is a bad memory.""Pornography exists for the lonesome, the ugly, the fearful - it's made for the losers.""The only queer people are those who don't love anybody.""The reward for conformity is that everyone likes you but yourself.""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 okay, then it's you.""To love without role, without power plays, is revolution.""Virginia Woolf said that writers must be androgynous. I'll go a step further. You must be bisexual.""Women who love women are Lesbians. Men, because they can only think of women in sexual terms, define Lesbian as sex between women.""Writers will happen in the best of families.""You can't be truly rude until you understand good manners.""You sell a screenplay like you sell a car. If someone drives it off a cliff, that's it."
Brown was born in Hanover, Pennsylvania, and grew up in Florida, and as of 2004 lived outside Charlottesville, Virginia.
In the 1960s, Brown attended Broward Community College and the University of Florida but transferred. She moved to New York and attended New York University, where she received a degree in classics and English. Later she received another degree in cinematography from the New York School of Visual Arts. Brown received a Ph.D. in literature from Union Institute & University in 1976, and holds a doctorate in political science from the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, D.C.
In the late 1960s, Brown turned her attention to politics. She became active in the American Civil Rights Movement, the anti-war movement, the Gay Liberation movement and the feminist movement. She co-founded the Student Homophile League and participated in the Stonewall riots in New York City. She took an administrative position with the fledgling National Organization for Women, but angrily resigned in February 1970 over Betty Friedan's anti-gay remarks and NOW's attempts to distance itself from lesbian organizations. She played a leading role in the "Lavender Menace" zap of the Second Congress to Unite Women on May 1, 1970, which protested about Friedan's remarks and the exclusion of lesbians from the women's movement.
In the early 1970s, she became a founding member of The Furies Collective, a lesbian feminist newspaper collective which held that heterosexuality was the root of all oppression.
She has said, "I don't believe in straight or gay. I really don't. I think we're all degrees of bisexual."
She is known as the bestselling author of a number of novels, including:
Rubyfruit Jungle (1973) ISBN 055327886X
In Her Day (1976) ISBN 0553275739
Six of One ISBN 0553380370
Southern Discomfort ISBN 0553274465
Sudden Death ISBN 0553269305
High Hearts ISBN 0553278886
Bingo ISBN 0553380400 (a sequel to Six of One)
Venus Envy ISBN 0553564978
Dolley: A Novel of Dolley Madison in Love and War ISBN 055356949X
Riding Shotgun ISBN 0553763539
Loose Lips (2000) ISBN 0553380672 (set between Six of One and Bingo)
Alma Mater (2002) ISBN 0345455320
The Sand Castle (2008) ISBN 0802118704
Since 1990 Brown has "coauthored" with her cat, Sneaky Pie Brown, a cozy mystery series featuring the feline character Mrs. Murphy. These include:
Wish You Were Here (1990) ISBN 978-0553287530
Rest in Pieces (1992) ISBN 978-0553562392
Murder at Monticello (1994) ISBN 978-0553572353
Pay Dirt (1995) ISBN 978-0553572360
Murder, She Meowed (1996) ISBN 978-0553572377
Murder on the Prowl (1998) ISBN 978-0553575408
Cat on the Scent (1999) ISBN 978-0553575415
Pawing Through the Past (2000) ISBN 978-0553580259
Claws and Effect (2001) ISBN 978-0553580907
Catch as Cat Can (2002) ISBN 978-0553580280
The Tail of the Tip-Off (2003) ISBN 978-0553582857
Whisker of Evil (2004) ISBN 978-0553582864
Cat's Eyewitness (2005) ISBN 978-0553582871
Sour Puss (2006) ISBN 978-0553586817
Puss n' Cahoots (2007) ISBN 978-0553586824
The Purrfect Murder (2008) ISBN 978-0553586831
Santa Clawed (2008)
Cat of the Century (2010)
Brown has written about her passions for horses, hounds, and American fox hunting in her fiction and non-fiction for years (Bingo, Riding Shotgun, later Mrs. Murphy books). Brown is also active in a local fox hunt club. In 2000 she began another mystery series, centered around a fox hunting club in Virginia led by "Sister" Jane Arnold. Books include:
Full Cry (2003)
The Hunt Ball (2005)
The Hounds and the Fury (2006)
The Tell-Tale Horse (2007)
Hounded to Death (2008)
Brown has published the nonfiction Starting from Scratch: A Different Kind of Writer's Manual and the autobiographies Rita Will: Memoir of a Literary Rabble-Rouser and "Animal Magnetism - My Life with Creatures Great and Small." ISBN: 978-0-345-51179-9 (0-345-51179-4)(2009) She has also published the tie-in Sneaky Pie's Cookbook (1999).
Her screenplay Slumber Party Massacre (1982) was a parody of the slasher genre, but the producers of the film decided to play it seriously. Other screenplays and teleplays include:
Murder She Purred: A Mrs. Murphy Mystery (1998) (TV)
Mary Pickford: A Life on Film (1997)
The Woman Who Loved Elvis (1993) (TV)
Rich Men, Single Women (1990) (TV)
Me and Rubyfruit (1989)
My Two Loves (1986)
The Long Hot Summer (1985)
The Slumber Party Massacre (1982)
I Love Liberty (1982)
In 1982, Brown was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Writing in a Variety or Music Program for I Love Liberty.