By Jennifer Niesslein
The literary community lost a brilliant essayist in William Bradley. For those of us who knew (or “knew” him, via his writing) him, we’ve also lost a great man. After I learned of his death, I wrote to his good friend Christian Exxo that they had the kind of friendship I wish for my son. By that, I meant that they were two guys who are and were ardent feminists, who shared a thriving life of the mind, who (I imagine) weren’t afraid to express love for each other. He was, to my mind, a model of modern masculinity.
William was my favorite kind of writer, someone who could make me crack up and mist over in the same essay. I published every piece he sent me. He wrote about his mortality often; his health was an ongoing concern after surviving cancer as a younger man. He loved both high culture and pop culture, including soaps, horror flicks, and comic books. Maybe because of this, I pegged him as a super-hero, invincible despite his ongoing health issues.
When I think of William’s life, though, I think of it as a love story. He loved deeply, and most especially his wife Emily Isaacson. Every one of his FGP essays was, I think, a love letter to her. He was cerebral and silly; hilarious without being cynical. It’s hard for me to separate William the writer from William the person because he was so forthright, both when I’d email him questions I had no business asking and when he’d post on Facebook with his characteristic humor and truth.
William was well-loved. For all of us who want to hang out with him a little longer: William Bradley’s FGP essays.
JENNIFER NIESSLEIN is the founder and editor of Full Grown People.