Friday, February 19, 2010

Roger Ebert profile in Esquire

Back in 1996, I went through a rough time, health-wise. I hadn't heard the term "a perfect storm" at that point. The book by that name wasn't published until the following year, but looking back at what happened, I'd say that calling my illness "a perfect storm" seems about right.

One of these days I'm going to write about those months of my life. It's an interesting story 14 years later - especially because I've been more or less healthy ever since. But my brush with death did change the way I look at things.

Probably because of my own experience, I'm always interested in other people's stories about significant events in their lives.

ebertx-inset-community.jpgThis month, Esquire Magazine published a profile of Roger Ebert, the famous film critic for the Chicago Sun Times, who has survived cancer but is no longer able to talk, eat or drink. It's a gripping, poignant and inspiring story and well written to boot by Esquire's Chris Jones, who apparently lives in Ottawa. I recommend you go ahead and read it for yourself.

What I am most fascinated by is how Ebert's writing has become so powerful, since he lost the ability to talk. He has an online journal that he writes in constantly. He's one of the most prolific Twitterers in the world with over 70,000 followers. He's funny and entertaining. And sometimes he's over-the-top and sometimes he misses the mark - just like his film reviews.

You might have noticed that I haven't posted anything since I wrote about Blue. So you might not be surprised to hear that I've been moping around a bit and haven't been able to pull together a new post. But today I saw a link to the Esquire piece and I took the time to read it. I also read Ebert's response to the article on his blog. Something about the story struck a chord with me. It brought back a lot of my own recollections about coping with a body that wasn't working right and wondering what the future looked like.

It's late now and I'm too tired to wrap this thought up properly. But fortunately, part-way through the article, Roger Ebert nails the way I felt once I realized that I had been given a second chance to make the most of my life:
I believe that if, at the end of it all, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and something to make ourselves a little happier, that is about the best we can do. To make others less happy is a crime. To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts. We must try to contribute joy to the world. That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances. We must try. I didn't always know this, and am happy I lived long enough to find it out.
Thank you, Roger Ebert.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

nice post. thanks.