There are the musicians I enjoy, the poets I admire, the thinkers I appreciate. There are storytellers and producers and writers and actors I respect. There are the creators that make the outer edges of each day a little brighter, the artists who shape my ideas without me taking notice. There are songwriters who’ve made me cry, scriptwriters who’ve made me think and there are authors who’ve brought me to my knees.
And then there was Anthony Bourdain.
Bourdain wasn’t just someone I admired. He wasn’t just an artist I looked up to or a writer who inspired me. He wasn’t just a creator I enjoyed watching or a personality who influenced me. Rather, Bourdain was a lighthouse; a beacon from the depths of me drawing me closer to who I wanted to be. He was a beam of light calling me to myself.
Bourdain was my cornerstone and I admired him so much it hurt.
I’d be wide-eyed watching, absorbing an episode of Parts Unknown when he would, in his breezy way, weave a string of words together so beautiful it would catch my breath. My body would ache with inspiration. I’d feel so overfull of influence and the desire to write, I’d be choking on it. In the next moment, he’d pull me from my word-lust seizure with a line that could only make me laugh, filling my lungs with air once again.
I’d turn to my husband and spill over,
“No one has a better life than Bourdain.”
No one has a better life than Bourdain. I suppose someone ought to have told Bourdain that.
And now my lighthouse has gone out.
I only hope I’ve got a good enough grasp now of where it was; I hope I can find it with the maps he left me hidden in the pages of Kitchen Confidential and The Nasty Bits, lurking in the shadows of No Reservations and buried in the subtext of Mind of a Chef.
Anthony Bourdain was everything I’ve ever wanted to be. A wanderer, a prolific writer and a good human being. Today, I have become broken. Today, I have become lost. If only he was everything he wanted to be.
Rest in peace, Tony. It’ll be a long time before these tears stop falling.
Artwork: Courtney Heard