Set against the background of American artists-activists from the 60s to the 90s, the RUNE QUARTET chronicles Lucina Holzer’s three decade struggle to find herself in this troubled and precarious world. Leave-taking a Republican, Christian, Midwestern upbringing, she comes of age in the 60s in NY City’s Hell Hundred Acres, factory-district home of struggling artists/politicos. Moving from heterosexual sculptor, street theater activist, feminist to lesbian, musician, teacher she slowly learns to juggle life, love and loss with the twin of change, angst, clinging to her side.
Book One: Fire Dragon Street Theater: After Lucina sculpts Rune, a majestic female figure in meditation, articulate Jewish poet, Louis Altman sweeps her from her insular studio into confrontation and uncertainty. As bombs fall in ‘Nam and student activists are brutally persecuted, the couple forms The Fire Dragon Street Theater with other gutsy young people of varied backgrounds and libidos, to protest war and injustice in parks and demonstrations through their hard-hitting plays.
Book Two: Wheeling Across Amerika: On tour at restless college campuses and community enclaves, Lucina’s burgeoning lesbianism challenges her open marriage to Louis while Black activists force the group to face endemic racism and growing militancy in the Civil Rights Movement. When Lucina receives news that her masterwork and constant muse, Rune, has been hacked apart by unknown perpetrators back in New York City, her fiery stamina is smothered.
Book Three: Ruth and Lucina: Lucina, now a special ed music teacher in her mid-fifties and self-confirmed lesbian, pursues a serious relationship with Ruth Weismann, a straight-curious Palestinian Jewish journalist. Strong attraction and huge obstacles surface: the AIDS crisis, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with secret letters from Rashad, Ruth’s childhood soul mate, imploring her to rejoin him in the Intifada. Lucina, still encumbered by past guilts and failures in relationships, soul-searches her journals for clues on how to reinvent herself yet again and be fully open to Ruth’s love. Simultaneously through a gut-wrenching retreat, Ruth owns her new-found love with Lucina and sharpens her investigative skills to avenge an old crime: she will help Lucina time-travel to her sixties and at last uncover the culprit(s) who demolished her masterpiece, Rune.
Book Four: Rune Seekers: In the midst of creative memory work and passionate togetherness, inspired by Lesbian Sexuality conferences, suddenly the past surges again into the lovers’ present with the untimely death of Louis Altman, Lucina’s first love. The determined though battle-weary middle-aged women both struggle with this new grief. Ritual healings fueled by painful memories help reconcile familial responsibilities and build Ruth and Lucina’s determination to proceed forward, united, holding on to what is authentic, healing, deeply loving and creative about their connection. They might even produce and distribute little Runes to inspire many others to never stop fighting for global peace, justice, equality and a healthy planet.