Over the past couple of years, I’ve been completely entranced by Roger Ebert’s writing on the Web. Like most people, I thought of him as a movie critic, albeit a very fine one. He has long been known to me as a true student of film, and I appreciate his taste in movies. A couple of years ago he started posting about other things on his blog, and the quality of writing and of thinking I’ve found there has just astounded me. The fact that he has so sincerely gone further and built a real community with the people who comment on his blog has been incredible as well.
I also knew that Ebert has had some serious health problems, but I didn’t really know until recently how severe they were or that they resulted in his losing the ability to speak, eat, or drink. In Esquire, Chris Jones interviews Ebert and fills in most of the gaps. Here’s the part about Roger Ebert starting his blog:
There are places where Ebert exists as the Ebert he remembers. In 2008, when he was in the middle of his worst battles and wouldn’t be able to make the trip to Champaign-Urbana for Ebertfest — really, his annual spring festival of films he just plain likes — he began writing an online journal. Reading it from its beginning is like watching an Aztec pyramid being built. At first, it’s just a vessel for him to apologize to his fans for not being downstate. The original entries are short updates about his life and health and a few of his heart’s wishes. Postcards and pebbles. They’re followed by a smattering of Welcomes to Cyberspace. But slowly the journal picks up steam, as Ebert’s strength and confidence and audience grow. You are the readers I have dreamed of, he writes.
You can find Roger Ebert’s Journal here, and his Twitter account here. He is consistently the most inspirational and thought provoking writer I read. A lot of people already know all of this, but I’m writing this for the people who don’t.