Why We Fight

Bill Brent from Awakened

As some of you may have noticed, Bill Brent’s death has inspired me to start blogging a bit more. Bill was one of the first editors who ever demanded nonfiction out of me. I wasn’t thrilled about writing it. I don’t think he knew what he was starting.

And I just realized how amused Bill would be by the company he’s in, were he to scan the recent images on my blog. Bogart, Bacall, Gene Kelly, Jimmy Stewart, Kim Novak, Don DeLillo, Gustav Klimt, Bonnie & Clyde. And Bill.

But he’d be the one, of all my friends, who would say “Hell, yeah, fuck yeah! I belong there! Put me next to Gene Kelly, bitch, that’s where I belong.”

So…here you go, Bill. Happy 100th Gene Kelly, and RIP Bill Brent. Thanks for the kick in the ass back in 1994.

It all fits together like a piece in a puzzle sometimes, but only if you let it.


2 thoughts on “Why We Fight

  1. David O'Steinberg

    Hi Thomas Roche:
    Thanks for your posts about Bill Brent. I didn’t know him personally, he was one of those community figures that inhabit my world here in SF. I knew of him as a writer, sex activist and adventurer, publisher of Black Sheets, and handsome man I would cross paths with here and there. We spoke briefly one time several years ago at one of the performance evenings at 848 Divisadero. I remember the clear moment of meeting and our mutual attraction summed up by our awkwardness trying to talk to each other. My husband was there that evening too so couldn’t act on what was felt then.

    I know Bill had been around the SF scene for quite a while and contributing his creative efforts and thoughts. He seemed like a smart man, but as a fellow sufferer of depression, I know that being smart is not enough to overcome depression. I am so saddened that he wasn’t able to fight against it, but I know sometimes people just can’t bear the pain of intense depression. Some of the “jumpers” in that documentary about people who jumped off the Golden Gate and survived said that when they made the decision to do it, it felt like a tremendous relief because they knew the unbearable pain they were in was going to end soon. Still, while I understand that, I also have learned from my experience that even intense emotional pain passes. I’m just so saddened and sorry that Bill was not able to do that. After all the deaths of many friends from AIDS, I’m saddened he couldn’t stay with us longer. Sounds like you were long time friends with him? I’m sorry for your loss and send my condolences during this time of grieving. Warm regards, David Steinberg (aka “David O’Steinberg).

    1. thomasroche Post author

      Hi David — Thank you so much for your note…it is really good to hear your thoughts and your memories of Bill. It is really good to hear them. Hope to see you at the CSC on the 9th?


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