This is a portrait of my hero, Roger Ebert.
A tradesman journalist who banged out copy day after day, night after night in the great city of Chicago. He wrote his guts out and pounded booze with Mike Royko and Studs Terkel (and subsequently recovered from alcoholism in 1979).
He elevated film criticism to an artform, and was extraordinarily prolific in it until his very last days. He still wrote some 287 film critiques per year, “awake in the dark.”
He loved the Midwest. He loved America.
He loved his wife.
He got sick, and wrote about it in detail that refused to be ashamed of human frailty. They cut the bottom of his face off, and HE HAD HIS PORTRAIT DONE.
He could no longer speak, and yet his voice got LOUDER. He wrote more. Said more. Mastered Twitter. Wrote more. Wrote deeper. Made his final act his most powerful.
They say America has lost its heros. They point to our corrupt politicians, our cheating athletes.
This is my hero – a lover of words, of art, of civilization. A tradesman, a philosopher, an inspiration.