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Sunday, December 2, 2007

In Memory of Jane Rule

Although some of you may not be familiar with the author Jane Rule, chances are, most of you have heard about or read one of her books, especially "Desert of the Hearts," which was made into a movie in 1986 called "Desert Hearts."

In an introduction to one of Jane Rule's books, novelist Katherine V. Forrest writes, “The books of Jane Rule are not only groundbreaking in their historical context, they hold some of the wisest, most eloquent and passionate writing in our literature. . . Jane Rule should finally be given her full due and the judgment she deserves: she is one of our finest writers—surely the most significant lesbian writer of the twentieth century.”

Jane Rule was born in New Jersey in 1931 and graduated from Mills College in 1952. Jane was not only a author of lesbian books, she was also a role model and a voice for free speech and gay rights. In 1956, Jane moved to Canada where not long after, her life partner of 50 years, Helen Sonthoff, soon joined her. In 1976, after Jane's first heart attack, and Helen's tenured retirement, they decided to move to Galiano Island, BC, Canada. Helen passed away in 1999 at age 83, and on November 27, 2007, Jane, age 76, died at her home, surrounded by friends and family.

I believe there is something extraordinary about an author’s ability to outlive their corporeal death... the written word can transcend any physical state of being... as if it were the true meaning of eternal life.

If you have never read any of Jane Rule's Book, here are a few you may want to take a look at:


Desert of the Hearts
The Young One in Another's Arms
After the Fire

1 comment:

Jen said...

This is the second blog I have read today that included a memorial post for Jane Rule. I am very new to the lesbian community and had not heard of her before, but will certianly search for her books now.

This however, is what made me feel I had to comment:
"I believe there is something extraordinary about an author’s ability to outlive their corporeal death... the written word can transcend any physical state of being... as if it were the true meaning of eternal life."

What an incredible passage. 'The written word can transcend any physical state of being'....Wow. In the end, isn't that why any of us write? Because in careful selection of words and phrases, and in the reading and releasing of those words we get to experience our lives again and again. What we have written truly IS eternal, even if the physical record of our writing disappears one day.

One of my favorite authors - Anne Morrow Lindberg said:
"I must write it out, at any cost. Writing is thinking. It is more than living, for it is being conscious of living."

Anyway, this is a crazy tangent, and has nothing to do with honouring Jane Rule (which I will try to do by looking for her books at the library today) but I wanted you to know how powerful I thought that passage was, and how I'll be pondering it all day long.

 

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