‘Risk, grow, grieve’
Back in 2001 I commissioned Rule to write an essay on love and grief. This was less than a year after the death of Helen Sonthoff, Rule’s lover of 45 years. At the time, I was editor of an ambitious project at Pink Triangle Press, Go Big, a national glossy supplement that was inserted into the three Xtras published across the country (in Toronto, Ottawa and Vancouver and distributed as a stand alone publication in Montreal). I think it still ranks as the largest LGBT publication in Canadian history. And Ms. Rule took a cold call from me; I was looking to see if she would be open to contributing something to the fledgling publication. Ever generous and supportive of the gay press, this is what she offered, an incredibly moving, concise piece of writing (story / PDF). A little gem — it’s one of the pieces I’m most proud of as editor.
When Rule died, Marilyn Schuster, author of Passionate Communities: Reading Lesbian Resistance in Jane Rule’s Fiction, wrote for me a beautiful obituary that appeared in Xtra. The concluding paragraph references Rule’s essay on grief: “Privately and together we grieve the loss of our friend who helped us know that clarity and candour are far more important than uncritical sentimentality to build and nurture our communities. Her like will not walk this earth again, but we will all continue to learn from her courage and her eloquence.”