KATHY ACKER

Where Does She Get Off?


Page 2

RUS: I always say, divide the word "therapist" between the "e" and the "r."

KA: Yeah. The rapist. Because they're taking all your childhood wonderment and reducing it to childhood trauma. He gives me these long lectures about how he's not enlightened and he wants to be an animal. Can you imagine long lectures about wanting to be an animal? What a fuckin' bozo!

RUS: When I was in college, all of the poetry teachers worshipped Robert Bly, so I had my fill of that shit.

KA: I told him about my piercings and he said, "Oh, you're a wild woman." Then I asked him if he wanted to see my piercings. He wouldn't do it.

PIERCING THE KUNDALINI

RUS: As for the piercings and all that -- do you like the term "modern primitive?"

KA: I thought it [the RE/Search book, Modern Primitives] was kind of kinky at the time. I wasn't really into body piercings until I found that about half my female students had them. And then I thought, "What is this about?"

RUS: Everybody around the Bay Area seems to be into it.

KA: Well, you know why -- you get high as hell!

RUS: But you don't have to make permanent changes to your body to get high. There has to be more to it.

KA: We're not just talking high. I mean, I thought they would just be like sex toys and they're really pretty. I didn't know I would get that high. First of all, during the piercings they told me, "Breathe like this. Ground yourself and do really deep breathing. And if you do it right, the kundalini will come. The energy will go right to the top of your brain and shoot out." And it did!
Then I went to a bar and started to come. And I just kept coming. I still haven't totally come down yet. I don't know how it effects everybody else, but what it did to my body was totally open up some kind of sex chakra.

RUS: Does part of the high come from the awareness of having permanently changed the body?

KA: Yeah, it's being in the world with a different -- I don't know exactly. I'm still learning. It's like I suddenly have a cock. There's something always there, and I can feel it. It's like a totally new experience of being female.
A friend told me that there are these clean and sober dykes that have piercings every couple months just to get high. It's about learning about my body. I didn't know my body could do this. It's not exactly pleasure. It's more like vision. I didn't know the body is such a visionary factory.
Basically we grew up not wanting to know that we had bodies. And it's not as if these piercings are in that deep -- it's just on the surface. So if that little thing can do so much, who knows what else we can experience?

WRITING ...

RUS: Uh, shouldn't we be talking about writing?

KA: Oh yeah, writing. It's a literary magazine.

RUS: Yeah, writing (long pause). Part of your recent novel, My Mother: Demonology, was based on some stuff by Bataille. Why did you pick Bataille?

KA: Bataille's cool!

RUS: I can't get into him. In fact, I'm writing a piece for Wired called "A User's Guide to Trendy French Intellectuals" that thoroughly trashes all those people.

KA: Oh, evil person! You're so dumb, man. They're cool.

RUS: So tell me about Bataille.

KA: Bataille is associated with the surrealists. Basically the idea is that democracy doesn't work. Communism doesn't work. All these fucking models aren't working. We've got to find some new models -- a model of what society should look like.
We don't know what humans are like. And the ground is not economics; it's not like people do everything they do for economic reasons. You've got to look at the imagination; you've got to look at sex. We have no way of describing these things using the language we have. So a group was formed around Bataille to try to figure out what it means to be human -- what society should look like.
Humans have to live in a society -- they can't just survive as individuals. That's not a viable condition. You know, everyone's always talking about trauma and pain and how this society isn't working, that we shouldn't have racism and sexism, but we never talk in positive terms -- like what would joy be, what it would be like to have a totally great existence. Bataille and his followers looked for models for people to have totally great existences.

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