What Did They Really Say

Barbara Marriott, Fiction and Non-Fiction Author, Speaker, Presenter, and fellow member of Women Writing the West, shares a fun post with us today!



When reading nonfiction history can you really be sure they said what they are supposed to have said?  After all, history is reported, recorded, and repeated by the winners.  Maybe those famous quotes were a bit different.  Have you have ever played the telephone game, where you get a string of people, one person whispers the “rumor” in another’s ear, that person in another’s ear, and so on?  Of course, what comes out the end is never what went into the first ear.  There is a good chance some of our famous historical quotes are victims of the telephone game phenomena.

barbara john paul

Did John Paul Jones shout out to his men, who were fighting on a slippery sea deck, “DON’T GIVE UP THE SHIP.” Or, did he say, ‘Watch it boys, don’t slip.” Hmm, doesn’t have the same impact.

barbara marie

How about Marie Antoinette and her famous “LET THEM EAT CAKE,” remark when told the natives were starving. What she could of said was, “Let us go bake.”

barbara greta

And then there is the beautiful, sultry, mysterious Greta Garbo who murmured “I VONT TO BE ALONE.” Maybe what she really wanted was for, “Somevoe read a poem.” After all she was a romantic.

The good thing about historical fiction is we don’t have to second-guess what the heroes said; what they said, or should have said is spelled out for us forever in their famous historical quotes.  However sometimes, when you are eyeball deep in history it is fun to try to figure out what they might have said.


bmarriott_headshotBarbara Marriott’s insatiable curiosity has sent her tumbling into some unique adventures.  Her move to the west turned into several non-fiction history books including Annie’s Guests, the story of a territorial hotel and its guests, Canyon of Gold, a tribute to the Pioneers of the Santa Catalina Mountains, and Outlaw Tales of New Mexico which was awarded first place in the non-fiction book category by the Arizona Press Women, and a finalist by the National Association of Press Woman.  Her recent non-fiction books include the award winning In Our Own Words, the Federal Writers’ project interviews with Arizona pioneer women, Images of America: Oro Valley, and Myths and Mysteries of New Mexico. Contact Creede, her latest book, is an historical fiction about a woman’s wild romp through the mining camps of Colorado in 1893as she searches for a father who left her twenty years ago.

From University Professor, to Management Consultant and Trainer, to Creative Advertising Director, Barbara’s professional fields have allowed her to observe life.  However, it is her Ph.D. in cultural anthropology from the University of Florida that gives her the tools to get to the very core of her subject, and to satisfy her unquenchable need to know. Barbara Marriott was elected to Who’s Who in American Woman, and has the distinction of flying with the Navy Acrobatic team, the Blue Angels.



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