My favourite movie critic and writing god Roger Ebert is going to be making his first public appearance in nine months, at the 9th Annual Overlooked Film Festival at the University of Illinois this month.
If you didn't already know, Roger had a series of complications from salivary gland cancer surgery last summer that resulted in a massive hemorrhage, a tracheostomy, more surgery, and months of rehab. He still can't talk until his trach is removed, but he's continuing to watch movies and to write.
I love reading Roger Ebert. I used to look forward to Fridays, when I could log into his website and read his new reviews. All of them. It didn't matter if I was interested in seeing the movie or not - I just wanted to read what he has to say. His writing is always insightful, frequently funny, and even when I disagree with his verdict on a particular film I can always respect his point of view.
Except for 'A.I.' - I really want to talk to him about that one.
The thing I love most about Ebert's reviews is that they aren't just about movies. He somehow manages to use this otherwise limited format to talk about society, politics, religion, and his own life experiences. I remember several years ago reading an editorial he wrote about Bush and the war. Nothing at all to do with movies - just an exceptional writer using his craft to speak out.
I miss him terribly, and I am thrilled that he's out and about and starting to write more. It's a shame that he isn't up to doing his TV show, but he was a writer long before he became a TV personality, and given the choice I'd rather read his column than watch his show.
The great thing about writing is you can do it no matter what. You can do it from a wheelchair. You can do it without the use of your hands or your voice. You can do it blind or deaf. Or blind AND deaf. As long as your mind keeps ticking away, a way can be found to create and communicate.
Keep writing, Roger!