Katherine Dunn is my hero
First, she wrote Geek Love: A Novel. Second, at Wordstock, I got to meet her and she said she was an admirer of my work! I seriously thought I could die happy right then.
And here’s a third reason to like Katherine Dunn - she’s a fighter. Literally. And I’m not talking about the essays she has written on boxing. On Tuesday, she was walking home from Trader Joes when she was attacked by a purse snatcher.
When a young woman grabbed her purse, she clamped down on it. The woman began to kick her in the shins and slap her in the face.
Katherine said [according to media accounts] "That's what gave me permission to hit her in the face." Her only regret? She was wearing flip flops and kicking seemed futile. "Next time, Doc Martens," she said. But they were in a stalemate. "She didn't let go. I didn't let go." Dunn started to call for help from passersby. She yelled "Help, fire." Just like a character of mine in Heart-Shaped Box (A Claire Montrose Mystery), she had heard that passersby are more willing to get involved if they think it’s a fire.
When some people responded, Katherine yelled that she being robbed. But the robber yelled "please help me, she's trying to rob me." Katherine described that vocal countermove as "just brilliant. She was very sharp, I have to say." The passersby were confused. But then a neighbor came by and saw what was happening. At that point, all three women were tussling. Two employees came out of Trader Joes and said the attacker had just tried to shoplift at the store. Finally, cops arrived. Katherine told reporters said the attacker must have been in a "really really desperate" state to attack her. She also thought she was under the influence of drugs.
“I had scratches from her fingernails, a bloody eye where she had thumbed me — it was a helter-skelter affair,” she told the Oregonian. “Getting a tetanus shot, it made me feel young again.”
She said she was proud of herself for putting her years of fight training to use, staying relatively calm and hanging on to her purse. She was a little disappointed not to bloody her attacker’s nose, but pointed out she was fighting with her rear hand.
“I would normally lead, as all good boxers do, with my left hand,” she said. “But my left hand was tied up in the purse.”
Read a recent essay about Katherine here.