With this relatively upbeat blog post published just two days ago, I was literally shocked to hear of Roger Ebert’s death on NPR driving home today. Reading his reviews early on were (as they probably were for a lot of film lovers) my first real exposure to film criticism, which is much of what this blog has been devoted to so far. They will be missed.
More than that, though, as a writer, I’ve always regarded his style as an inspiration, which is why his journal will be missed, as well. In fact, I’m reminded of this tiny but pleasant exchange I had with him in the comments of one of his blog posts (on the subject of writing) a few years ago — nice guy, huh?
And now I’m reminded of another of his blog posts, and words that have stuck in my mind since I first read them:
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.