“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. You can’t let them stop you.”
— Rita Mae Brown
The above is a quote from the novel Venus Envy. I have it memorized. Some people know Brown for writing Rubyfruit Jungle, which pretty much invented the lesbian-coming-of-age novel genre. Others know her for her Sneaky Pie Brown mysteries. I first encountered her writing in her writer’s manual Starting from Scratch.
In Venus Envy, Brown made use of two of the writing exercises from Starting from Scratch (technically these could be considered spoilers):
- What would you write to your family and friends if you thought you were dying? What if you didn’t die, and had to live with what you’d written?
- What if your main character met the Greek Goddess (or God) she (or he) was most like? What would the Goddess have to tell her?
The first is used to hilarious effect, as Mary Frazier Armstrong tells her family she’s gay. The second makes for a harder transition, but it does lead to the above quote, which was part of Aphrodite/Venus’ advice to Mary Frazier.