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Kathy Acker
Goodnight Kathy.
 
 
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  Kathy Acker died in Mexico on November 30th.  You may not know who she is, you may not,  and with this practical cavalcade of death lately, you may not be too interested.  But Kathy Acker’s passing is one of those slipknots in History, something that we’ll just plunder by until later and realize how well she brought it all together for us. 

She was the author of many small press books like: Blood and Guts in High School, Portrait of an Eye, My mother: Demonology and her final book, Pussy, King of the Pirates, all published by the outstanding Grove Press from 1978 onward.  She was a stranglehold of conflicting sexuality and  emotions, always teetering on the precipice, just a few steps from the kind of sublime madness that makes a truly great author. 

She took chances, she was punk, bisexual at times, lesbian the rest of the time, angry, warm, funny, and talented and at heart a cool princess of survival.  She never approached anything in her life traditionally.  She broke through to the other side.  She was a female Aldous Huxley and William S. Burroughs rolled into one. 

Even her death was non-traditional.  Diagnosed with Breast Cancer, Kathy refused the treatment of Western medicine and instead tried holistic and alternative means to combat the cancer that had invaded her body.  She looked death right in the eye and said, “Back the fuck off.  If I’m going, I’m going MY way.”  And she did just that, quietly, feeling every ounce of the pain that had brought her to the precipice, her eyes wide open and clear, she stepped off into oblivion. 

I won’t deny that she scared the hell out of me.  She was the first woman I’d read who talked openly about getting off on a vibrator (in an interview with RU Sirius, I believe) that had me awed, astounded and embarrassed at the same time.  She was like a radio shock jock, only she meant every word and she wasn't playing around, teasing her audience.   

I didn’t really know what to think of her, until we got to corresponding about 6 months ago, when she was working on an article about the Spice Girls. I got to know a different side of her from the brash one I had read about and learned about from reading  her books.  I got to know a warm woman with deep courage and an unbridled passion for living.  She made me feel like a real Nancy girl, I mean what did I have to complain about?  She had Breast Cancer and just finished a book and was living in London and writing an article on the Spice Girls.  It was an effort sometimes for me just to go to the grocery store. 

I think today to be more like Kathy I will have to learn to let go more.  I will have to learn that my life is right for me because I'm the one who has to live it.  I will have to learn that I will have to fight sometimes, that I may not win but my victory really comes in the willingness to fight for what I believe in.  Like Kathy too, I will survive. Like Kathy, I will say, "Back the fuck off. I'm doing it MY way."  

I learned from Kathy Acker about the sweet things that come on your plate and about the bitter things.  Kathy knew that sometimes you have to eat equal amounts of each to balance it out.  

Thanks Kathy and Goodnight from all the RiotGrrls. We’ll miss you. 
 

Richard Kadrey in Salon on Kathy's Death 
 
People keep asking for more information about the last few weeks, so I've pasted together the emails I sent to Lynne Tillman, Kevin Killian, Amy Scholder & Liz Kotz over that time. Glancing over them, they are pretty intense; it makes me wonder how any of us can bear so much. 
-Matias Viegener  

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Los Angeles, 2019.  

It’s not too far off now, and the reality of Blade Runner seems less of a fairy tale than we ever imagined it would be.  We are caught in its shadowy grip, its alienation; in the fallout of acid rain soaked streets, near the crackle of a neon lit sushi bar. 
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