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Poet, Artist & Publisher

Debbie Kirk has been published widely throughout the small press for the past 8 years. She is infamous for her disappearing acts and no one really knows when and where Debbie will show up next. To date, she has had 4 chapbooks published: Lost Words Of Suicide Lovers (PinkAnarchkittyPress), Valley of the Gallows (Black Hoody Nation), I hit like a girl (Feel Free Press, UK), and Bleeding From my Psalms (Handprint Press, UK). Her work has appeared in over 100 small press magazines. She also runs a small press entitled PinkAnarckittyPress and has so far published 3 books on this press: Lost Words Of Suicide Lovers by JJ Campbell and Debbie Kirk, Enemy by John Sweet, and DOPE an anthology that samples the best in the small press. Debbie dislikes writing bio's and speaking of herself in the third person. She has, on numerous occasions heard various rumors of her own demise and finds them amusing. Debbie Kirk is still writing and painting with a fury. She was most recently in an art documentary titled "Shades of Venice" which showcased her paintings. She was also recently in an anthology The West Memphis Witch Hunt of which all proceeds go to free the west memphis three fund. She aspires to be like Dishwasher Pete, and has a new upcoming column in Zygote in My Coffee titled "Chashing Whiskey with Shadows". You can find her on myspace at: myspace.com/pressgang13 or she can be reached by email at sinncity66613@yahoo.com. She loves hate mail.

An Interview with Debbie Kirk
by Dee Sunshine (2005 - 2007)


Dee - I've been checking out your website and it crackles with a wild, anarchic energy that's reminiscent of the punk scene before the moneymen took it over and fucked it up. Looking at the photos of you I'm reminded of Viv Albertine of The Slits or Siouxsie Sioux before the Banshees went all goth, and more recently of the likes of Polly Jean Harvey. I don't know if you dig that sort of music or not, but what I'd really like to know is, are you as fired up with energy as you appear to be? And if so, where does it come from? And where would you like to see it go?

Debbie - Actually, I was raised as a bit of a punk rock darling. The photo shoot where Iím covered in fake blood was actually my little tribute to the band the Dwarves. As far as being fired up with energy, I would say definitely. I used to do a music review column, and they called me ďTNTĒ. I got that tattooed on the back of my neck for my 30th birthday. Also, I have ĎLive WireĒ tattooed on my knuckles from way back, a lot of this has to do with my obsession with Bon Scott. But mostly it was what my friends called me precisely because of my erratic energy.

In my writing, sometimes I think Iím still pissing out and putting out fires that sparked when I was a very young child. The best way to kill a demon, for me, is with the words. But itís not always about that. I donít mean to give the impression that I am haunted and tortured and all that shit so I must write. I love to write, itís pretty much the only thing Iím good at. My style fluctuates, but basicallyÖIíve pretty well established my style that incorporates all my wild energy. Energy I learn to harness and use to my advantage instead of it using me.

I keep myself pretty well isolated. I think Iím very difficult to deal with. Iím intense, blunt, honest, provocative, obnoxious, and at times, a total head case. The few real friends I have are total saints. They help keep me out of jail, they look out for me, they send me stamps so I can submit my most recent fits of vanity scribbled on paper, and they even call me when Iím in mental hospitals. I usually end up going in about once a year. I donít know anything different. The energy is what keeps me up at night. Being a writer is a beautiful curse, if you let it be.

Dee - When you say you usually end up in mental hospitals about once a year, is it as a voluntary patient or not? Presumably the treatment is relatively successful, if temporarily so. Can you tell me a bit more about the treatment and about your experience of being hospitalised?

Debbie - Wow, that seems like a weird question. Every hospital stay Iíve ever had has been voluntary. As for if the treatment is successfulÖ.some people say they can find out by reading my poetry. Let me put it this way, Iíve been in more hospitals than I can count.

ĎIíve seen some shit maní and if readers are REALLY interested in my visits to the padded roomÖ.they will have to read my novel. Which Iím ALMOST done with, thank god.

It's fucking hard work. I know you prolly wanted a little more dirt so let me throw you a bone. There was this one time when I was staying in New York, I shaved my head just fucking flipped out so I let em take me to the state hospital. SCARY FUCKIN PLACE. Youíre safer in a shelter than a state hospital. Patients throwing chairs thru windows. Others having to be jumped by 5 staff and he gets the I LOVE ME jacket.

And I was just so drugged up. They had me on some heavy shit. Those were really dark times, I was so fucked up.

Dee - So, has writing your novel been a process of 'killing the demon'? Has it been cathartic? Also, can you tell me a bit more about the novel.

Debbie - Of course it is a process of slaying my demons. I dunno, I don't want to give too much away. Right now my working title is "Jesus Christ lived in my attic". I dunno, Billy Childish said it the best when asked to describe the autobiographical novel 'my fault'. Billy said that it came down to.....he was going to write this book or kill himself or someone else. or something like that...It's something I started working on when i was about 21. I can tell you this, the readers I have that dig the edgy gritty side to my writing, the novel will definitely be a treat and not disappoint. I mean, I got stories in here, true stories about having to sit and pray to an origami snowflake for hours by my dad at age 7. How can that not be a good read. I suppose its a good time to come out with a book like this....We have become a voyeuristic society, almost predators for it. I dunno, It's something I'm excited about.

Dee - I suppose praying to an origami snowflake makes as much sense as praying to a plaster bust of the virgin Mary. Tell me, what's your take on religion. Do you believe in anything at all that way, or are you an atheist? Also, what do you make of the fact that 7 out of 10 Americans go to church? Personally I'm fascinated (and horrified) that the richest, most powerful nation on the Earth is so scarily religious. Here, in the UK, by contrast, less than 1 out of 10 people go to church... and most of them are over 60 years old.

Debbie - Yeah, religion is a biggie on my bitch fest. But you're absolutely right, praying to an origami snowflake is no more ridiculous than coveting holy water and kneeling in front of giant statues of a virgin. True we are the richest and most powerful, we don't deserve it. We are dicks, I'm hoping China will go ahead and become a superpower, fuck us up, and I'll flee to Canada and finish my novel.

Also, in this country, we do NOT treat the elderly right at all. We do not hold them up and respect them. We hide them, put them away, and ignore them. I've heard other cultures are much different and I hope so.

Dee - So, do you reckon Canada is better than the States? Also, just supposing money was no object, would you flee further a field? Where to?

Debbie - I just have an awesome time every time I visit Canada. I'm sure it would have lots of drawbacks. But then again I had to listen to George Bush proclaim in a speech to America that "god is not dead"

If money were no object I would live in some old abandoned castle in like Ireland or something.

Dee - What else would you like to do if money were no object?

Debbie - I dunno. Its so unlikely that I can't really comprehend it. I dont live an expensive lifestyle and Im not materialistic. I'm never good at answering those "if you had three days to live and a million dollars..." type questions cause i always say vodka and cigarettes. What I DO like is explosives, folk art, conspiracy theories, cream soda, and also riding my bike around the neighborhood singing songs from Skrewdrivers first album.


Dee - Hi, again Debbie. Just over two years ago we commenced this interview by email, but it sorta petered out... can you tell me what's been happening with you over the last two years?

Debbie - The last two years have been the craziest years of my entire fucking life. I couldnít tell you in a Novella, but you can read about it at my blog which is soon to be published in Zygote in my Coffee as a weekly column.

Dee - You mentioned in your most recent email that you've been stuck camping in crack hotels and shelters. Your life-style will be pretty alien to many of our readers. It would be good if you could enlighten them some about it. Do you actively chase a "derangement of the senses" like Arthur Rimbaud, or would you say you are a victim of circumstances?

Debbie - A bit of both. But first of all, I donít think my living situation or mind frame is different or alien to my readers, quite the contrary. I think Iím speaking for people who are being oppressed or for other reasons unable to speak for themselves

Dee - I understand you've got a new book deal and other projects in the pipeline. Could you tell us something about these?

Debbie - Well, a couple of art galleryís for sure. Have already sold art for prices I never thought I could get. My ďDOPEĒ anthology was just released. Find info at www.zygoteinmycoffee.com also they will soon be announcing the return of my columns and one of their most popular ďthe ramblings of MS. RandellĒ which basically publishes my blog.

Dee - I'm sure many of our readers would be fascinated to know more about you. Do you have a blog that they can check out? If so, could you tell us a bit about your blog?

Debbie - yup, you can find me on myspace for now, then it will be thru Zygote, heres my url - myspace.com/pressgang13

Dee - You mentioned earlier that you are into conspiracy theories. Can you tell us what your take on 9/11 is? Also, can you tell us where you were when it happened and what your reaction was?

Debbie - Well, I know the government knew about and was involved with 9-11. It dosent take just being a Michael Moore fan to figure that out. When it happened I was still working full time at the shelter with abused teens. It came on the television. I didnít have time to get scared because I was in charge of keeping all the kids calm. It was a LONG day. I went home and cried in the shower and felt better. Ready to keep rollingÖ

Dee - Imagine you could travel back in time and meet up with an earlier version of yourself? What year would you go back to? What advice would you hand out? And which book would you give your old self to read?

Debbie - I would of hit myself up with of course Bukowski and Kenneth Patchen, Henry Miller, Jack Micheline, D.A. Levy when I was about 13 which was when my writing really took off. Especially Bukowski, I donít care how fucking popular he is, I would never have become a writer had I not found him.

Dee - Tell us about your happiest memory.

Debbie - Eating cotton candy on a vibrating bed.

Dee - If you could spend a day with any person, living or dead, famous or infamous, who would you choose? And what would you ask them?

Debbie - I would spend the day with Siddhartha, I would ask little and listen a lot.

Dee - Imagine you are teaching Creative Writing to a bunch of teenagers who don't even want to be at your class. What books do you bring in to read out to them to fire up their imagination?

Debbie - Lord of the Flies, Animal Farm, Bukowski, Keroucac, Burroughs, Johnny Cash n maybe that commy book I love so much by that guy Upton Sinclair

Dee - Any plans for the next year?

Debbie - Iíll be writing and painting as long as Iím kicking!

Dee - In part one of this interview, we conducted it as an email conversation, which had a more organic structure. In this part, because of time restraints, I've just fired a sheet of questions to you. Is there any question you wish I'd asked? And how would you have answered it?

Debbie - I canít think of anything, I appreciating you following thru with me when we lost contact

Dee - And finally, where do you see yourself in ten years time?

Debbie - In 10 years I will be in Canada or MIA here writing my 3rd novel.

© Dee Sunshine & Debbie Kirk, 2007

Artwork By Debbie Kirk

Debbie Kirk's blog
Zygote In My Coffee

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