William Rivers Pitt was a wordsmith extraordinaire. However, he wasn’t a pundit or predictable analyst. Will’s mighty writing was more prophetic than commonplace, more storytelling than think piece.
I knew Will as an editor and colleague for many years at Truthout, I considered him a friend for even longer, and I always learned something from his columns. Yes, there was his regular use of words and expressions I had to look up, but that is because he was a lover of words and the American vernacular.
Whether he was railing against the Trump administration, condemning corporate greed or opining about baseball, what made his columns most distinctive was his narrative style. You didn’t always know where Will was going with his informed commentary, but you knew his point by the time you finished, and it stuck with you. Reading one of his columns was a journey: a powerful and challenging experience. His columns were full of soul and thoughtfulness that was cogent and vibrant.
Will was a robust writer, and at times, an oracle. His process was different than many political analysts: He would begin his work by selecting a subject, and then he would take a deep dive into himself and his relationship to the subject, and by extension, the relationship of his readers to that subject and its place in the world. The result was a powerful voice that acknowledged the obstacles facing us as advocates of social justice, while at the same time urging fierce resistance despite those obstacles.
To Will, resistance was the only option in the face of the peril we confront at this historical juncture.
Some days, he was so furious at recent news that his commentary was like a boiling cauldron. However, Will’s writing was much more than that molten lava. It was a call to arms to act on behalf of the common good.
I always thought of reading Will’s columns as being like a roller coaster: Step in and pull the restraining bar back, then surrender yourself to the sinuous path ahead and trust the ride. With Will, you finished the commentary both wiser and with a desire to fight against injustice with all your might.
There are thousands of progressive writers in independent media, but anyone who read Will regularly knew there was no one like him. Will was our Thor.
We’ve worked with Will’s family to create this fundraiser in the hopes of raising some money to support his 9-year-old daughter Lola’s needs, including her future education. All funds raised will go directly to a trust for Lola. Please give what you can.