And now a simple thank you from me to New York writer and teacher Charles Taylor, who easily made my entire week (and probably that of two other writers I know) with a brief paragraph inside his essay "The Problem with Film Criticism," published in the current issue (Fall 2011) of the New York-based sociopolitical journal Dissent. Here's what Taylor had to say:
"Bloggers and the writers who turned out well-crafted pieces on their own Web sites are free to write what they want. The best of them, such as Dennis Cozzalio at Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule or Kim Morgan at Sunset Gun or Farran Nehme Smith at The Self-Styled Siren, give public voice to the way movies function as private obsession. Their film knowledge is broad and deep, but they wear that knowledge lightly. They understand that the true appreciation of any art begins in pleasure (and not in the "work" of watching movies). To read them is to read people grounded in the sensual response to movies, in what the presence or look of a certain star, or the way a shot is lit stirs in them. Reading these writers, I often feel that I'm in the presence of people dedicated to the notion of collective cultural memory in an era when instant obsolescence is the rule."
Whew. Could there be any assessment more confirming than that? This mention was entirely unexpected; I didn't know of it until a week ago today. But it comes at a time when encouragement on my part was sorely needed, and I take much encouragement from it and from being mentioned in the company of two fine writers who have both my respect and my friendship. Thank you very much, Mr. Taylor, on behalf of all of us!