“We are put on this planet only once, and to limit ourselves to the familiar is a crime against our minds.”
― Roger Ebert
As you probably know, famous movie critic Roger Ebert passed away yesterday at 70 years of age, after a long and arduous battle with cancer. There have been (and will continue to be) many great things written about him, but I think the Chicago Tribune summed it up perfectly in their piece, "Roger Ebert: Quintessential Chicagoan":
“People of Ebert's generation aren't supposed to cotton to new technology. He was named 2010's Person of the Year by the Webby Awards, the online world's Oscars. Three years earlier, Forbes magazine declared him the Top Pundit in America.
Did I mention he was a film critic?
Well, who you are is and isn't what you officially do for a living. Ebert wasn't working so hard to prove a point. He worked so hard because that's who he was. Writing was like breathing to him.
No wonder this Champaign-Urbana transplant was the quintessential Chicagoan. We like to think of Chicago as the city that gets things done.
Ebert got things done. He got a whole hell of a lot of things done.”
I'm greatly saddened by this loss, but honestly a bit relieved for his sake, due to the deterioration of his physical condition over the last decade. He probably would have eschewed such pity but I can't help it. For god's sake, the man lost his entire lower jaw and his ability to eat and speak for the last seven years of his life.
And yet, he never gave up on writing. In fact, it became his only true outlet, and a fire inside him was ignited for those last few years. He produced what is probably his best writing during a time when most people would have gone into quiet retreat, and I admire him greatly for that. I fully intend to go back and re-read a lot of this work in upcoming days, and I hope you'll do the same.
The world has lost a great mind, a fantastic writer, and a truly passionate spirit. I'm not exaggerating when I say that the world won't be the same without him. Rest in peace, Roger.