Living from the heart
By Zoey Duncan
As a writer, Alan learned to loathe clichés.
I may have had something to do with that.
So maybe he wouldn’t appreciate my telling you that he epitomized the well-worn phrase “wearing his heart on his sleeve.” But Alan lived from the heart. He said what he felt; he did what his heart told him to do. To a great extent that led to his excelling at journalism. The bookshelf in his room held stacks of styleguides, books filled with newspaper design award winners, and magazines analyzing journalism and news. I couldn’t believe it, but he’d actually read most of them.
Even the styleguides.
Especially the styleguides.
Even so, I can’t say with certainty that writing was his greatest passion. As much as he loved to write, he loved learning, interviewing, debating, living life.
Al was one of the most vehement feminists I’ve ever met; but a transcendent supporter of brotherhood. I didn’t even know what that meant before I met him.
Somehow, Alan Mattson went from a name on a box of leftover business cards in a drawer of his former (now my former, too) desk in the Reflector office, to being at the centre of my life in just weeks. It was some gorgeous and previously unfathomable combination of his charm and kindness, intelligence, culinary inclinations, an endearingly dorky but self-assured sense of humour and an incredible ability to befriend anyone…especially if he could get a story idea out of it.
Even though we’d walked the same hallways for four years before having a conversation, Al told me that we’d met at the exact right time. I believed then and believe now he knew what he was talking about.
I love you, Al.