Life Itself

From a September 2011 essay by the great film critic:

I know it is coming, and I do not fear it, because I believe there is nothing on the other side of death to fear. I hope to be spared as much pain as possible on the approach path. I was perfectly content before I was born, and I think of death as the same state. I am grateful for the gifts of intelligence, love, wonder and laughter. You can’t say it wasn’t interesting. My lifetime’s memories are what I have brought home from the trip. I will require them for eternity no more than that little souvenir of the Eiffel Tower I brought home from Paris.

I met Roger Ebert once.

Roger Ebert’s Overlooked Film Festival, now known as simply Ebertfest, was starting up in Champaign and I was working for The News-Gazette marketing department. The newspaper was helping to sponsor and promote the festival and Roger was doing radio interviews with our associated stations. I went down to the station to get a few candid digital pics of Roger in the booth.

He was his gregarious self. Big glasses, easy smile and wicked smart. I took a lot of pictures and finally after the interview was over asked if I could be in one. We posed and I wish with all my heart I would have done a thumbs down instead of mimicking Roger’s thumbs up. It would have been a funnier photo. Nevertheless, he was gracious and kind with his time.

Of course, when he launched his blog I was there. He may have lost the ability to speak, but he never lost his voice. In fact, I think his output, debates and insights are simply remarkable. His autobiography, Life Itself, is an amazing read and something of an inspiration here as I retool/reimagine and move forward in my blogging/journaling.

We all will hit a final breath someday. Before I get there, I just want to do some good work and have something to be proud of at the end of the day. Roger Ebert never let life get in the way of living. Sounds like a good plan to me.