Monday, 6 May 2013

Brain Pickings, Roger Ebert, RIP ... blogging ... A- Zers something to reflect over and the ‘what now’ ...



I came across Roger Ebert, the renowned film critic who died recently, when I was researching about the silent movie “The Passion of Joan of Arc”.
 
Film montage c/o The Independent

Ebert’s description then made me realise that he must be one special man and obviously lived passionately for his work.


Maria Popova of Brain Pickings, who has the most incredible blog, posted about RIP,Roger Ebert ... The Beloved Critic on Writing, Life and Mortality ...


... the passages she selects for us, as bloggers, could offer highlights into our minds, our reflections, our future, our next journey, while most definitely making interesting reading.



Ebert had cancer of the jaw, lost his ability to talk, realised the advantage of the internet age, and then sadly died, but having written his memoirs, given a TED talk in Scotland, passed on pearls of wisdom in interviews, articles he was able to type etc ....




Please visit Maria Popova’s blog and particularly this post – it makes thought provoking reading together with all the links ...


With reference to us as bloggers, authors, memoir writers, genealogists for our families, et al ...



Extracted from Brain Pickings:



Much like his ability to summon memories without deliberate effort, Ebert’s mastery of the writing process is largely an unconscious act, a state of mesmerism experienced in finding your purpose and doing what you love:

When I write, I fall into the zone many writers, painters, musicians, athletes, and craftsmen of all sorts seem to share: In doing something I enjoy and am expert at, deliberate thought falls aside and it is all just there. I think of the next word no more than the composer thinks of the next note.

He marvels at how the social web, despite his initial skepticism, liberated his impulse for self-expression as his writing took on an autobiographical life of its own:

My blog became my voice, my outlet, my ‘social media’ in a way I couldn’t have dreamed of. Into it I poured my regrets, desires, and memories. Some days I became possessed.

The comments were a form of feedback I’d never had before, and I gained a better and deeper understanding of my readers. I made ‘online friends,’ a concept I’d scoffed at.

Most people choose to write a blog. I needed to. I didn’t intend for it to drift into autobiography, but in blogging there is a tidal drift that pushes you that way. …

... the Internet encourages first-person writing, and I’ve always written that way. How can a movie review be written in the third person, as if it were an account of facts? If it isn’t subjective, there’s something false about it.

The blog let loose the flood of memories. Told sometimes that I should write my memoirs, I failed to see how I possibly could. I had memories, I had lived a good life in an interesting time, but I was at a loss to see how I could organize the accumulation of a lifetime.

It was the blog that taught me how. It pushed me into first-person confession, it insisted on the personal, it seemed to organize itself in manageable fragments.

Some of these words, since rewritten and expanded, first appeared in blog forms. Most are here for the first time. They come pouring forth in a flood of relief.


There are many other insightful points put over on Maria’s posting ... it is really worth visiting – while the TED talk is definitely worth a 20 minute listen ......... what would you do if you could not talk?

 

The subject of not eating comes up ... where he mentions the ‘experience’ of missing the jokes, gossip, arguments and memories ... that he was not able to interact with.


My mother couldn’t eat or drink ... but we still had communication – mostly perfectly normal, though occasionally I’d need to have my wits about me (provided lots of laughter) ... and usually I never discussed food or drink of any sort – it made it fairer for my mother: though she had loved the experience.



There are some other lovely thought provoking thoughts here – so I hope you will click over and visit Maria’s blog and enjoy this posting on Roger Ebert RIP, together with blogging reflections.



My post on The Silent Pianist, which includes notes on the silent film  “The Passion of Joan of Arc”


Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

62 comments:

Janie Junebug said...

Ebert was a great critic. He truly loved film.

Love,
Janie

Old Kitty said...

I read the Guardian's obituary of Roger Ebert's and they linked to one of his books that I thought I'd love to get. The title alone made me laugh out loud! Anyway - the link is to amazon and without thinking, I saw the one reviewer who reviewed it - giving this book one star. Now I thought, what? Anyway, the reviewer clearly had a vicious bugbear against Mr Ebert and against all things Orson Welles but anyway - I thought the reviewer crass and obnoxious to say the least and another reason why I do not like this reviewing system. Sorry, I am totally digressing! Thank you for the link to Maria's blog post about Mr Ebert - it'll provide a soothing counterpoint to the one I read over at amazon! Take care
x

L.G. Smith said...

What wonderful quotes. For all of its faults, the internet has created this incredible opportunity for those of us who communicate most comfortably through writing. And he was one of the best. Loved his thoughtful reviews.

Also, I read that his wife would always eat in another room and never in front of him, thinking it was too cruel, as he was fed on a tube.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Some wise quotes. I'd scoffed at the idea of online friends as well until I started a blog. Now I understand.

Karen Walker said...

I didn't always agree with Roger Ebert, but I loved the passion he had for what he did. And he excelled at it. These snippets teach us a lot about who he was and what we can learn from his life journey.
karen

Karen Lange said...

Congrats on surviving A to Z! Thanks so much for always sharing interesting things with us. Can't imagine the blogging life without you. Have a great week! :)

Chatty Crone said...

Congrats - you did it! You made it through. I am from Chicago where I believe Siskel and Ebert started. They were both good. Sandie

Suze said...

Hilary, this was a lovely post and I was drawn in because *just this weekend* my husband and I were talking to friends about Ebert, his life, his blogging, his reviews and his recent passing.

Elise Fallson said...

Congratulations on finishing another A-Z! It was a crazy challenge for me this year. Glad the list will stay up for those of us to keep visiting through out the year. Ebert will be missed by so many people, he truly was a great talent. Enjoyed a lot of those quotes!

C. Lee McKenzie said...

I watched Sisco and Ebert for years and was so sad when first Sisco died and then Roger Ebert. They had such lively shows. I didn't know Ebert had such a devastating disease at the end of his life.

Jo said...

I've never paid much attention to critics, I found I never agreed with their thoughts on films. Everyone was familiar with Sisco and Ebert, but I'm afraid his demise had little effect on me.

JO ON FOOD, MY TRAVELS AND A SCENT OF CHOCOLATE

Chuck said...

Hilary, thanks for pointing me in that direction. I found Ebert a fascinating man and will be glad to read/listen to more about him.

Denise Covey said...

'My blog became my voice, my outlet, my ‘social media’ in a way I couldn’t have dreamed of. Into it I poured my regrets, desires, and memories. Some days I became possessed.'

This are powerful words. I think it's great that blogsville can get back to 'normal' now.

Denise

Christine Rains said...

Ebert will truly be missed.

rosaria williams said...

All of us bloggers have come to the same conclusion!
Thanks for sharing this article with us.

Gattina said...

Completely unknown to me ! And yes let us Bloggers blog !

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Janie - he was very well known in north America ... and if I'd been more into film and reviews .. I'd have probably been aware of him ..

... this post was about his realisation on the benefits of blogging as a whole ...

@ Old Kitty - you read about film ... and I must start paying more attention to these reviews.

But I'm glad to see this post has given you another chance to look at Ebert and his thoughts on 'having' to blog and then that opening of his eyes to the good of blogging.

@ Luanne - thanks for reading my thoughts correctly here .. and that's interesting to hear that his wife would eat alone ... as I had done with my mother.

@ Alex - yes wise thoughts, and interesting how our mindsets change.

@ Karen - thanks I think his book probably does offer many life snippets that we too can learn from ..

@ Karen - thanks so much .. I enjoy my blogging!

@ Sandie - yes I think that's right: I'd no idea of their show etc .. it was these words that rang out to me ... and the description of the silent movie.

@ Suze - how interesting that you were discussing this very subject a little this weekend ..

@ Elise - well you were busy - holidays overseas never help with the A-Z ongoing .. and yes like you I'll be glad to be able to visit other bloggers as the year progresses.

@ Lee - not knowing the show, but Ebert's words about blogging just rang true ... his illness must have been devastating - but what opportunities the net offered and he took advantage ...

@ Jo - well that's fine .. my post was not about Ebert per se - but about his thoughts on blogging ..

@ Chuck - I'm sure you'll enjoy his thoughts, certainly for us bloggers there's food for thought there ..

@ Denise - thanks - exactly what I thought ... his 'possession' was 'worse' because of his end of life illness ...

@ Christine - it sounds like his reviews will be missed ..

@ Rosaria - yes we all realise the benefits of blogging don't we ..

@ Gattina - as I was .. til I wrote about the Silent Pianist and the silent film The Passion of Joan of Arc.

Cheers to you all - thanks for 'looking at Ebert's words on blogging' .. they made so much sense to me .. Hilary

Rosalind Adam said...

You always teach me so much. Thanks for sharing. I shall visit the links now.

Lynn said...

Roger Ebert was truly a great man and a very nice one, too. I'll have to check out that Joan of Arc film.

Dianne K. Salerni said...

I had no idea Ebert had such a debilitating illness. I guess I didn't read any of his obituaries, just mourned his passing as we all did. How wonderful that this well-known and well-loved personality found an outlet of expression in today's social media in his final days.

Optimistic Existentialist said...

I always made a habit of reading Mr. Ebert's review prior to seeing any movie. He was always so spot-on with his reviews. He will be missed...

Laura Eno said...

Thank you for the link. I know Ebert only as a long-time movie critic. I never knew about his writing or social awareness of the internet. A fascinating man gone too soon.

Theresa Milstein said...

I used to love watching Siskel and Ebert. They often disagreed, but they both had valuable points of view and respected one another. How wonderful the Internet and blogging appeared when he could no longer communicate as he'd been able to before.

Madeleine Sara said...

Yes the need to express oneself is very powerful to many people. Great post. As always thought-provoking. Blogging does give a certain amount of satisfaction in its creativity and information sharing.

TALON said...

Roger Ebert's reviews were always thoughtful and measured and he was a true professional. I miss him.

journalofmysoul said...

Thank you for writing about Roger Ebert. We will all continue to learn from him.

Clarissa Draper said...

What would I do if I couldn't talk? I would write more. However, I wouldn't want jaw cancer and the world lost a great man to that disease. Thanks for writing this post. I want to check out the links.

Sue McPeak said...

Hillary...I really enjoyed this post, especially the Ebert quotes about blogging. So much insight and simple, but profound statements. Thanks for all your research and links shared on this post.

Sue CollectInTexasGal
Tuesday Post: The Great Awakening...My Kids Are Heathens

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Ros .. thanks so much - I hope you enjoyed the links and TED talk.

@ Lynn - the Joan of Arc film was incredible when we were fortunate enough to have a showing down here accompanied by Neil Brand, one of the few people left who can accompany to a silent film.

@ Dianne - it's interesting what we find out isn't it .. but you've been very busy ... and how much social media can help.

@ Keith - that's great you respected his reviews ..

@ Laura - I was pleased Maria Popova wrote her post on Ebert's passing, as she's included some very relevant information ...

@ Theresa - I now wished I had watched some of their shows - I guess at some stage I can via YouTube. Isn't interesting how the internet and blogging came to his aid ...

@ Madeleine - he would have been lost without the internet ... as talking and writing back and forth don't work = too slow ... but the internet provided the perfect forum.

@ Talon - it seems many miss his presence and his views on life ..

@ JoMS - he is certainly well known around the world ...

@ Clarissa - exactly: jaw cancer must be terrible ... and what would I do if I couldn't talk .. blog more, I guess! Hope you enjoy the links.

@ Sue - I loved what Maria had written and am so pleased everyone seems interested in the post and links ... blogging certainly offers much ...

Cheers to you .. lovely to see you all .. thanks Hilary

Munir said...

Great Post Hilary.
My husband talks about Roger Ebert a lot.

nutschell said...

Was sad to hear that Robert Ebert had passed. on another note, I do love TED talks.
Nutschell
www.thewritingnut.com

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

I knew Ebert only as a film critic, and was aware of his cancer and death, but didn't know he was also a blogger. Blogging has tremendous value for all of us who, like Ebert, are astounded by the connections we can make here, but for someone who's unable to speak, the value of blogging grows exponentially. It boggles the mind.

Julie Flanders said...

I also used to scoff at the idea of online friends but now I know how wrong I was.

Heading over to check out Maria's blog now, thanks for sharing, Hilary. :)

Val Poore said...

I've never heard of him either, but his words are very moving, and if he was a TED contributor, then I would no doubt have been inspired. RIP indeed

Lisa said...

I loved listening to him. I'll go visit Maria's blog after this. How wonderful that he found a way of voicing himself even if he couldn't speak. I LOVE TED talks. That was a brilliant idea and one that's addicting. Glad they're on Netflix!

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Thank you for bringing back some fond memories. I remember listening to Siskell and Ebert evaluate movies. Time passes so quickly, and one day we will move into eternity.

What would I do if I could not talk? Write!

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

He certainly left an impression on me, early on. I'm definitely going to check out his blog. I hope it's still up.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Munir - what good news he was a favourite of your husband's.

@ Nutschell - the TED talks are very good aren't they.

@ Susan - I'd realised he was ill, but how he had coped I had no idea .. that's why I thought the blogging aspect was interesting. His pointers do make the mind boggle, don't they ..

@ Julie - it's something we can't understand until we're part of a community and that camaraderie comes to the fore.

@ Val - his TED reflective talk is interesting ..

@ Lisa - TED talks are addictive aren't they .. I limit myself to listening to a few. Hope you enjoyed the links to Ebert at Maria and his TED talk ..

@ Susan - I've never listened to their shows .. but the thought about blogging, after losing your ability to talk ... just highlighted what a wonderful place blogging can be found in ...

@ Joylene - I didn't look for his blog - and I'm sure it'll still be there .. but I expect his book will be interesting ..

Thanks everyone and I hope you enjoy the links ... from a spring rainy day in England!! Hilary

Francene Stanley said...

His thoughts are so real--the way you lose yourself when you are writing. Hours slip away unnoticed.

Teresa Coltrin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Teresa Coltrin said...

Poor Mr. Ebert. He was very brave. His wife is a saint.

Another A-Z gone by. What to do now. Oh, yeah, keep on writing.

~Sia McKye~ said...

I loved Roger Ebert's Movie reviews! I've read some lovely articles about Roger Ebert, but thanks for the links.

If I couldn't talk, you bet I'd be communicating via writing. But then, I've always used writing to communicate.

Sia McKye OVER COFFEE

Annalisa Crawford said...

With so many people knowing Ebert, I feel very ignorant!

Tina said...

I read Eberts reviews a LOT. He was my go-to guy. Don't get me wrong, it was rare that we agreed completely, but I got to so where if he said A about a film, I knew I'd be thinking B, and so I could choose based on his reviews without at all agreeing with them. Does that make sense? I'm tired, Hilary ;-)
Tina @ Life is Good

klahanie said...

Hi Hilary,

Please excuse me but I'm going to keep this comment short. I'm very tired.

Maria posted about Roger Ebert. I'm very aware of the great man. Most notably from the show he was on that I watched when I lived in Vancouver, on a regular basis. Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel, At the Movies." I shall check out Maria' site.

Cheers,

Gary

Kittie Howard said...

Lovely post! I got misty-eyed when Ebert passed. Like Alex said above, I didn't always, but mostly always, agreed with him but his passion overflowed with such style one couldn't help but both admire and respect him. . . and there was a sense of wisdom about him.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Francene - exactly that you lose yourself doing something you love ..

@ Teresa - I know another year .. oh yes keep on writing - too true ..

@ Sia - glad you appreciate the links; like you I've always written, but mine were letters .. losing one's ability to talk is a little much .. but he found a way round.

@ Annalisa - he is an American film critic - and I hadn't heard of him either til we had Joan of Arc here in Eastbourne and I did a little research - so you're not ignorant by any matter of means!

@ Tina - I never went to films that often until I came back into England .. and like you I totally appreciate the films that are chosen by our film society .. but not always completely enjoy them: so it does make sense - thank you.

@ Gary - I think we're all tired ... and I certainly can't be awake after midnight. Glad you'll look at the links over at Brain Pickings .. and I'm sure being in Vancouver you'd have picked up their show.

@ Kittie - looks like Ebert expressed his professional view and whether he/you liked the film was entirely personal .. but you had a better understanding of what to expect - what a good reviewer does ..

this sense of wisdom you mention is what I picked up via Maria's posting and the TED talk ..

Thanks everyone ...

We have a film society here - and our experts are exceptionally good at selecting films that don't hit the mainstream .. and as many of you said re Ebert ... I always respect their choices - but not always actually enjoy the film .. but I come away educated from watching.

Cheers from a lovely sunny May morning .. Hilary

Romance Book Haven said...

Hi Hilary,

I'd never heard of Roger Ebert while he was alive. But I realise that he touched a lot of people's lives. I'm seeing his name all over the place now.

Patsy said...

Initially I too doubted it was really possible to make real friends online, but of course it is.

Nick Wilford said...

It's hard to understand the benefits of blogging unless you're doing it. I knew a little bit about Ebert but not too much - sounds like he was one of the greats.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Nas - obituaries and articles often offer much insight into people's lives, from which we can learn formative points ..

@ Patsy - it's a strange old world isn't it .. but with a little time those friendships really open up ..

@ Nick - I agree there, as bloggers we understand our own business ... glad you'd heard about Ebert, like you I only really knew of him.

Cheers from a windy England today! Hilary

Summer Ross said...

T%hanks for a new blog to check out!
~Summer

A Lady's Life said...

It is always nice to get feed back and having stable bloggers who come back certainly creates friend ships we might never have without internet.
I love it.
:)

Sara said...

This is such a great post. I'm amazed you were able to write it. I didn't really follow Roger Ebert, but now I do want to know more about him.

I loved the things he said about blogging. So many scoff at it, but as people commented no one really thinks about how it helps people communicate in ways they might not be able to do in real life.

It's a shame I know so little about this man. I will have rectify this and I thank you for this post:~)

Mark Koopmans said...

Aloha,

I *HEART* Brain Pickings... and have been a subscriber for months... Maria does an awesome job with her blog >> As do *YOU* Hilary :)

Have a great, peaceful, full of fun weekend :)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Summer - I'm sure you'll enjoy Maria's blog - it's excellent ..

@ A Lady's Life - it's a brilliant medium (the internet and blogging) isn't it ..

@ Sara - it was the way Maria posted about Ebert and just so related to the end of the A-Z .. because we learn so much in April and I think many go on and do new things - as Ebert says it helped him so much ... it was the memoir aspect that interested me ..

Glad you enjoyed it .. and hope you find some interesting information about him .. I'd like to read his book ...

@ Mark - Maria's blog is great isn't it - I've been reading her for a couple of years or more ..

I only post eclectically - Maria's posting is quite extraordinary and so erudite! Very professional ..

Thanks everyone - have a lovely Mother's Day weekend to all who celebrate this weekend .. our British Mothering Sunday is before Easter .. cheers Hilary

Glynis said...

Hilary, I spent some time going through your blog posts. You are a fascinating mine of information! Thank you for your support of my blog/s, and for your encouraging words.

Stephen Tremp said...

I love watching TED clips on YouTube. Such a wide array of speakers covering just about any topic.

I'll miss Roger Ebert. He was a real inspiration to see him go through what he did.

If I couldn't talk, I would continue to write. I don;t talk a lot as it is anyway.

michelle said...

I don't think I've heard of Ebert. But then again, I'm not really a movie person... I always feel 'left behind' when it comes to "movie-talk"...
As a pianist myself, what really caught my attention is your link on...The Silent Pianist... when I have some time later on, I'm going to check it out.

Writer In Transit

Al Diaz said...

Had never heard of Ebert till now. I like those quotes you put in your posts. Very insightful. Should take a look at his site. Thanks. :)

Lisa said...

I never knew, I never knew.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Glynis - appreciate your look through - I'm going to enjoy your books ..

@ Stephen - TED is a great resource isn't it. I never followed Ebert - but realised the impact he had on the film industry and his passion for it.

@ Michelle - I'm like you quite often - but being here I pick up a lot more than before.

I'd love to know what you think of my post on the Silent Pianist and the links I put in ..

@ Al - Maria's post rang out to me, while Ebert I just knew was passionate about films - so I'm pleased you were interested.

@ Lisa - if I hadn't been here blogging, nor would I - my refrain would be 'I never knew I never knew'!

Thanks to you all - Happy Mother's Day to each of you who celebrate, and to us, who reflect earlier in the year on Mothering Sunday ... enjoy your day .. lovely and sunny here now (though rain is on its way I gather!) ... Hilary