I started reading my friend/ former spiritual mentor's memoir today. My friend Bryce was fifty-five, maybe fifty-six years old when he died of complications (aka tumors) as a result of struggling with bladder cancer. I've had the book in my possession since a week after it was published, though I'm not entirely sure when it went to print. Bryce died in December of 2001 with aspirations/hopes to make it to June. I can't even remember what I did that summer.
I hadn't woken up today thinking I'd take a look at Bryce's book. I woke up as I often do: before Jess, much earlier than I'd like, and not as comfortable as I was when I first went to sleep. There were things I planned on doing today, and I only have a few more left to do, but reading Bryce's book wasn't part of the plan.
I have been reading a new series by two of my other idols, brother storytellers Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon, called "Daytripper." So far in most every issue, the protagonist, an everyday guy and writer named Bras, dies every issue at different points, different ages in his life. I'm not fully certain what the overall narrative of this story is yet, but each issue is so succinct, so full of emotion and life, I genuinely could care less what the overall narrative is when I'm immersed in the story of this life. Every issue is beautiful. And I look to Bryce's book now and think: Bryce is Bras. He was a newspaper writer just like Bras, he was a thinker, just like Bras. And looking at these two writers together, one fictional, one now gone from the world for a spell, and at the lessons I've learned from both, I have to wonder: Did Bryce ever know that I respected him as much as I do? Did I ever make it clear I appreciated the time and patience he took with me?
I put together a new, small book-shelf with frustration and urgency. As I was lining up my graphic novels to file in the shelves, I held Bryce's book in my hands. I thought, "Why haven't I read this yet?" I've had it for nearly nine years now, and I've barely glanced through it. All I could think to justify not reading it was at the time, I didn't think I'd get everything he was referencing, or maybe it was just too fresh to try and read it. Maybe I wasn't ready to know the guy I spent a few hours with every other week for three odd years more than just the memories I recall. I don't know for certain. But I think I'm ready to read it now.