I didn’t really know her. But I recognized her as a real writer, a real wit, a incisive intelligence who, in her first gig (anyway the first one I noticed) as pseudonymous media critic for long deceased Buzzmagazine, took the stuff of dreary media criticism and made it into a delight to read. Each month an Austen-like aspect of the human comedy in the newsroom–even though it was the LA Times even though you rarely the faintest idea whose the inflated egos she was puncturing really were, and what gave them the idea they were big shots. but she always went after the big shots, the idiot publishers and editors not the hardworking reporters she respected.
I finally got to meet her when I was out there during the prelims to the LA Democratic convention in 2000 and she came to the book party her great friend Amy Alkon (The Advice Goddess) gave for me, and I remember Cathy drove me around Korea-town running errands in her battered sedan, talking trash, original, delightful insightful, life affirming trash about everyone in LA.
We laughed a lot, she had a fantastic sense of humor.
And she was courageous too, never backing down from a fight with Conventional Wisdom LA variety, but skewering the nobs with such razor sharp wit you had a feeling they didn’t know what happened to them.
Cathy happened to them. She happened to a lot of other people in a lot of other ways I know. Personally and through her work which kept getting stronger. Every once in while I’d read an allusion to her lung cancer in her blog and somehow I couldn’t believe it. Refused to believe it wouldn’t go away. She was so strong, her prose was so full of life, it couldn’t be real.
But I guess it’s real. I read the post from her daughter today, by her bedside saying goodbye for us.
I personally refuse to believe it. Don’t tell me about it. I don’t want to know. I want Cathy to go on being Cathy. And for many of her fans she will.