A Tribute to William Bradley

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.

Dinty W. Moore has written a fabulous account over at Brevity of William’s accomplishments, and there were many. William’s book Fractals blew me away.

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.

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JENNIFER NIESSLEIN is the founder and editor of Full Grown People.

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