, 08.22.2022 10:24 PM

My friend Nel

The first thing I did, after Brian called me to say that Nelson was dead, was to look at the emails and texts we had exchanged. They went back years.

Whenever I was down, or I had made a mistake, Nelson – Nel, he’d say – would be among the few to send me something to cheer me up, or make me laugh. He’d tell me he loved Joey, and I’d tell him he needed a dog of his own. And then he’d be outrageous and funny and profane, and he’d always be there for me.

I don’t think I was there for him. Looking again at our last few emails and texts, something was up. I had told him to come see me in the County and we’d do fun things. He demurred. But I didn’t press him on it. I didn’t insist.

I should have; I could have. I didn’t, and now he’s gone.

He’d fight for me when others wanted to silence me. He’d promote me when no one else would. He’d advocate for my writing and my cartoons and my videos and podcasts and everything. All of it.

He was like that for many people. He was one of those editors who would privately tell you when you were wrong, and how to do better, and in no uncertain terms, too. But, in front of the rest of the world, he was your fiercest defender.

This morning, as I sat looking out at the Atlantic Ocean, Nelson came into my mind, and I told myself I would get him to come see me in the County. Then I went on with the rest of my day.

Free advice: when a friend reaches out, reach back. When they fight for you, fight for them. When they call you, call them back.

I will so miss you, Nel. You were a pilgrim soul, and now you are pacing upon the mountains overhead, and your face is hidden among a crowd of stars.


  1. PJH says:

    My sincere condolences on the loss of your friend, Mr. Kinsella….

  2. Duncan says:

    Dear Warren,

    What a profound loss
    I have been at the edge.
    I have seen others at the edge.

    The greatest losses are the ones we don’t see coming.

    Thanks for sharing the brief glimpse of a profoundly gifted man, and your loss.
    To those on the edge- don’t give up.
    To those watching- all you can do is be there when possible.
    May you find comfort Warren. Oceans have a way of bringing perspective, and peace.

  3. the salamander says:

    .. sorry to hear of such loss ..
    Bravehearts often clam up or cover up
    They DO NOT wish to trouble us..

    They are preparing to go on a trip..
    & very very busy at this.. the ‘doing of’
    They ARE NOT worried about you.. or I
    because they know – you’ll know ..
    how to ‘deal with it’ ..

    At least that’s what I think..
    My advice.. ? put this song in your head
    find it on the google ..

    Fred Neil.. ‘I’ve Got A Secret’ …. shouldn’t tell
    i’m gonna go to heaven.. in a split pea shell
    Lordy me now.. didn’t we shake up Sugaree ..

    .. elegant remembrance you wrote.. mr Kinsella

    again.. sorry to read of your loss ‍☠️

  4. Viviana Marinacci says:

    Nelson was my manager at Famous players we became instant friends. Soon I too joined the management team and we became friends. We would go out partying together the FP crew.

    When I came out or rather when I came out to myself he and Kyle were there for me. They kept me up, supported me and told me that everything was going to be ok.

    I’m so sorry he’s gone this year took two of my friends 🙁 this year sucks

  5. Patti Burnett says:

    Hi Warren I am a friend of Nelson’s we spoke a few weeks ago and he told me lovely things about you I also thought he was a little off something didn’t seem right but I brushed it off blamed on my overthinking things my thoughts are with you and all of Nellie’s friends and family your words about our Nelson are beautiful

  6. Larkin Warren says:

    Warren, this is lovely. Simple and sad and honest.

    Last year, we lost a dear friend to suicide. The shock of the news was soon displaced by our being honest about who she was, what she’d suffered, and how very much she loved everyone in her life that she left behind. Guessed her thinking was, she left them BECAUSE she loved them—they wanted so much to help and heal, but couldn’t touch The Thing that made them all suffer. Was it a kindness, borne of love? Dunno. We do know she’s not in pain. No clue where she is, of course, but we hope it’s a gentler path for her than this place was. Best to you.

  7. Warren,

    My condolences on your loss. Quite obviously Nel cherished your friendship and you his. But the sad reality is that life often gets in the way. That should never, ever, be seen as a fault worthy of guilt. And then there’s the point for some people where they finally have had enough for a multitude of reasons and don’t want to “bother” either friends or family. One can only hope and pray that Nel has finally found inner peace. Even the trained professional can and often does miss signs of “it” before it happens. So, none of us can be expected to see something that is often almost imminent. That’s just another sad reality of life. As wonderful as Nel was to so many and on behalf of so many, you can be sure he’s doing all he can from a much better place to help ease the sadness and sorry of the bereaved.

  8. BJ Del Conte says:

    Damn. Too much of this lately. May his memory be a blessing to all lucky enough to be in his orbit – BJ Del Conte.

  9. Jason Paris says:

    One of my very first dates *ever* was with Nelson around 1994. We connected on a gay phone line and decided to meet in person a few weeks later in the magazine section of the HMV Superstore at 333 Yonge (under the escalator if I remember correctly). We were both somewhat closeted still, and it seemed at least then that this would be a place where two “straight” people would naturally strike up a conversation. And we did and eventually ended up going back to his place in Ryerson’s (now TMU’s) Neil Wycik complex where we literally poured over Y&R scripts and memorabilia that he had boxes upon boxes of. This big soap opera fan in Brampton (at the time) had inadvertently met Toronto’s biggest (and probably even North America’s). He was literally a lexicon of the genre. Of course, he’d go on to have an immensely successful career, even writing for his beloved Soap Opera Digest for a period too. TV Guide, Marilyn Denis, Post Media, etc. as well.

    While Nelson and I quickly realized that we had little else in common, save for talking about Newmans, Abbotts, and Chancellors, there was no bad blood and I think we both looked back fondly at those initial conversations and that great first and only date covered in Y&R memorabilia on his couch. That’s literally all that happened, but it was glorious.

    R.I.P. Nelson and please say hello to “Mrs. C” for Ester and me.

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