Katherine Dunn, the Oregon-based author of the incredible novel Geek Love, has died. Geek Love is one of those life-changing novels, the kind of misfit literature that inspires people to drop everything and become writers. (Lynda Barry's wonderful novel Cruddy, for example, would probably not exist without Geek Love.) Rather than reading a bunch of online reminiscences, I'd urge you to read this OregonLive story from 2009 about how Dunn fought off a mugger:

Dunn, 64, was carrying a bag of groceries from Trader Joe’s to the Northwest Portland home where she has lived for more than 30 years when someone yanked the purse strap on her left shoulder so hard it spun her around.

“I was facing this young woman who shouted, ‘Let it go. Let it go,’” Dunn said.

She did not. So, Dunn said, 25-year-old Brandy Amber Carroll kicked her in the shin and slapped her face. Dunn figured that gave her permission to put her years of training to work.

What a wonderful story. What a phenomenal human.