Jane Rule and British Columbia

Jane Rule died last week. I’ve only ever read one book of hers, I assume it was The Young in One Another’s Arms, although I can’t clearly remember the title. I read it in my early teen years. I don’t recall being shocked by the sexual content — I guess lesbianism wasn’t much in the light in 1977, but even in a rural white protestant town, it wasn’t so much of big deal by the late 80’s. But I was a bit rattled that there might be such a place as Vancouver, which sounded like a different place physically and socially than the Ontario and Toronto I knew a little of. I guess I figured Canada was Canada, and all of a sudden there was a hint that it might be more than one thing. And it would be fair to say that her description of Galianno island blew my young teen mind. I doubted her, but it had the ring of truth. How could such a physical and cultural realm exist in my straightforward and mostly flat homeland?

I wonder if having those half-doubted hopes confirmed by my eventual first visits to BC was part of why I fell in love with it so fast. I kind of think it might be.

I haven’t consciously though much about Jane Rule since reading that one book that one time, but now that she’s gone I’m very satisfied to hear that she lived out her time ensconced and active on Galianno. Maybe someday I’ll complete the trip to the island. I imagine it’s a different place now than when she wrote about it in ’77. Maybe, maybe not much.

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