Last night I learned that Bill Brent, a sweet and lovely man who wrote, published, taught, and put out a zine for many years called Black Sheets, died last weekend by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge. There will be a memorial service for Bill on September 26th at the Center for Sex and Culture in San Francisco.
Bill was one of the sweetest guys I ever met. We taught a few classes together at Media Alliance, and compiled a guide to publishing erotica. We had many friends in common, and though we weren’t close, we knew each other the way colleagues and people with similar interests know one another. We spoke and wrote occasionally, and helped each other with our respective projects from time to time.
Whenever I hear that someone jumped off a bridge I’m awestruck, particularly when it’s the Golden Gate Bridge. About 50 people a year jump off this bridge. Bill is the only one I’ve ever known.
People say suicide is the coward’s way out, but I honestly think it takes enormous courage to send yourself into the unknown, especially by this method. I used to romanticize the idea of jumping into the gentle ocean until I learned the body crashes into it with the same pounding force as if it were cement. I don’t know why Bill felt he had to go, but I wish him the best of everything on his journey, if there is a journey from this point on.