Tonight I learned that Brian Doyle, who unquestionably ascended to status as my favorite writer, has been diagnosed with brain cancer and will undergo surgery tomorrow. In this brief window of availability to write, to post, to have wifi, I anticipated feverishly catching up on the many titles I’ve audiobooked since my last postings.
Instead, I find myself taking shots of whiskey and repeating, “Dammit, really? Brian Doyle? Seriously?”
As if we aren’t all mortal. As if death isn’t coming for us all. As if I’m not now a middle-aged woman, stunned as her heroes, her elders, succumb to the everpresent truth that death comes.
But Brian Doyle isn’t dead, though. I’m premature, invoking his mortality, perhaps. Leonard Cohen, he’s dead. Have you heard his last album? You Want it Darker. It’s beautiful. Poignant, as they say. Important.
Many others died this year. Prince. Bowie. Muhammed Ali. A friend’s mother. Many.
The long list of books on which I owe reports have woven together, touching each other, my notes intersecting and overlapping and creating a tapestry that is breathtaking to behold. Yet i find myself silenced, considering surgery tomorrow.
Mr. Doyle says: “Be tender to each other. Be more tender than you were yesterday, that’s what I would like. You want to help me? Be tender and laugh.”