Lesbian generations, especially for writers, don’t seem to be reflected in relative age, but in the time and place that a particular writer comes into our lives. Lee Lynch is someone I consider a literary mother; I read my first Lynch novel (The Swashbuckler) in my late twenties when the writer in me was still a toddler. From it, and Lynch’s subsequent works, I took note of the importance of authenticity in lesbian fiction. Within a few months of that first Lynch, I read my first Jane Rule (Desert of the Heart), which left an indelible impression on my muse about the use of character and setting, and Rule became another literary mother for me.
I reflect on this because the March issue of Curve Magazine features Lee Lynch’s moving tribute to Jane Rule, whom she describes as one of her literary parents: “Rule’s clear vision and her ability to renew that clarity were gifts she gave to me and every other reader. She even, by example, made writers out of some of us.”
It’s also true of Rule’s influence on me, but I would apply the same words to Lynch herself. When my muse, feminist and lesbian all came of age both Rule and Lynch, along with Katherine Forrest, Barbara Wilson and Sarah Dreher, had written their truths and left them for me to find. Without them I would not be–many of us would not be–doing what I do.
The full tribute to Rule, who died late last year, can be found on page 16. Curve Magazine’s last interview with Jane Rule can be found at Curvemag.com.