Shimerians write books. They write a lot of books. Some of those books are theoretical. Some are historical. Some are filled with poetry and some are entirely prose. All of them are worth a gander. But I admit that I do not get to all of them. I did, recently, have a fit of Shimerian reading -- and here's what it inspired.
One of the authors whose work I owned long before I had heard of Shimer: Mary Wings. So, a bit ago, I used my "so not working right now" time to re-read some of Mary's fiction. Here are the three murder mysteries I re-read: She Came to the Castro; She Came by the Book; and She Came in Drag. Each takes place in San Francisco, features lesbian detective Emma Victor, and was published between the mid-1990s and the late 1990s. Yes, that means these are late 20th century in both tone and politics, with an eye to both the impact of the AIDS/HIV pandemic, a look at gay politics in the person of gay politicians, and much more than can feel just at the cusp of timely for all of us today and oddly ancient history. There are reverberations that make me think of Harvey Milk, including the riots when his murderer got off on the so-called Twinkie defense. The notion of something called the Lesbian Revengers and the controversies about outing of celebrities and others also echo - including the fears of being outed, the urge to out others, the pop culture debates and the hideous role of some (and the word is important -- only some) closeted people who maintained their own closets by attacking others who were not closeted. How history matters appears as well -- and the importance of the founding of archives to ensure that history was under the control of those who lived it. And, of course, the underground history of the search for solutions to the medical crises that were and are AIDS.
Perhaps the most Shimer-esque moments appear in She Came by the Book, which features a Gertrude Stein bit from WE CAME, A HISTORY, 1930 as its epigraph:
"History there = is no disaster =Those who make history =
Cannot be overtaken = as they will make = History which they
do = because it is necessary = That every one will = Begin to
know that = They must know that = History is what it is =
Which is is as they do . . . "
The book also includes other bits of Stein, worth the read to find, entwined with these dandy mysteries which are both fun, well written, and just a tad bittersweet in the nostalgia I felt reading them. I am not sure why the nostalgia really got me in the re-reading -- but it was wonderful to feel, and is part of Shimer as well. The place that hides, now, for this reader, between the lines and between the pages.
A delight. I will have to find She Came too Late, as it, alas, was not on the shelf when I went home to look. Nor, I have to admit, are the comix that Wings is also well known for, and which include the first Lesbian Underground comic. And, even worse, I do not own, the novel for which Wings won the Lambda Literary Award.
Future delights? Books of Shimer.