I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but Roger Ebert is one of my all-time favourite writers. I wrote him a fan letter once, but thanks to a typo--I left out one lousy four-letter word--it came out all wrong. Instead of being an amusing anecdote with what I felt was a clever twist, it ended up being a semi-coherent awshucks-fest. That's what one word can do.
What led me to write was two things. One, Ebert's review of Gus Van Sant's Gerry. The movie that hadn't even been on my radar, but by 2003 I had figured out how read Ebert's copy on the L-P sked in advance of publication and did so often. Two, a friend of my brother told me that his mom was a fan of my writing. They had recently seen me walking down 13th and Jesse's pal pointed me out to his mom. She was surprised at my appearance, she told her son. From the way I wrote, she always thought I would look like Roger Ebert. "I took this," I closed my letter to Ebert with, "as a compliment."
I wouldn't have even known there was anything wrong with my letter if Ebert wasn't a classy enough guy to write back. "From the sounds of it, you do," was his entire missive. What the hell was that supposed to mean? Then I read back over my original. Instead writing that my brother's friend's mom thought I would look like Ebert, I left out look, which made me look like a dumb jerk.
I remember considering writing Ebert again to explain my typo, but finally decided that the best thing to do was not draw more attention to my dumb ass.
Moral: proofread, proofread, proofread
The point of posting this now: Ebert sums up GOP vice-prez wannabe Sarah Palin. While I admire his movie writing to no end, and they more often than not offer up meditations on meatbag existence in general, I sure the hell enjoy it when he steps outside the theatre.