Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Goodbye to Nora Ephron: A Guest Post

Nora Ephron, the beloved filmmaker and writer, passed away today.  My sister, Melanie, was a great fan of her work, and when she emailed me tonight about Ephron's death, I asked her to write something about Nora's importance in her own life.  This is what she wrote:

My chest literally aches as I write this but because my sister asked me to, and because Nora would say, "Everything is copy," I will lend you my thoughts...and my heart for a while.  Nora Ephron died this evening and I can't help but feel that a great light has been extinguished. She was known to the world as a brilliant screenwriter/director and humorist, but to me she was a teacher, fellow optimist, and literary role model. I know I write as though I knew her, but that's only because I feel as though I DID, and that she knew me too, the Reader, and could speak directly to my proverbial heart. I feel so sad to know that tomorrow morning when I awake to the red glow through my window and enjoy my first round of coffee, it will be in a somehow quieter world- a world without Nora's great charm.

My love affair with Nora's work began years ago with her romantic movies (When Harry met Sally, You've Got Mail, Sleepless in Seattle). I was born a bleeding heart so naturally, I was drawn to this genre. But there was always so much more in her films that made her art stand out to me. She ENJOYED life. She made much of the small things like flowers on a windowsill or a sad Joni Mitchell song and these nuances came out in her movies. She made her characters lovable and real and made romance seem as though anyone could experience it, even a late bloomer like me who wanted the fairy tale. And still do.

I went to see Nora perform last spring at the Paramount. It was called "An Evening with Nora Ephron" and what an evening it was! I am so happy that I paid the big money I did (on a teacher's salary) because it means so much more now that I know she's gone. Her talk was short and witty and she told us how when she was little and experienced heartache at school, her mother would look at her and say, "Nora, everything is copy." She told the audience that writing is what saved her and helped her in life.

I tell you this because her writing has helped me over the years. When I have been lonely or sad, annoyed or just in the mood for a laugh, I pick up my copy of I Feel Bad about my Neck and dig into one of her many anecdotes about life in New York, or raising children, or delicious savory items that disappeared from a menu overnight. I read her words and marvel at her talent because her gift to the world is to make light of this life and this is something I desperately need to learn. Not to take it for granted ever, but to enjoy the moments as they come, good or bad, insignificant or grand, romantic or not. 
There is so much more I could say but it's late and I'm a guest on here.  I just want to end by saying that even though I never knew Nora personally, I feel a real and personal loss. Her musings, her comedy, and her love for the beauty in life were not lost on me and I am forever grateful that she taught me how to relish the lovely that comes along, and how to laugh even when my heart is breaking. Farewell, Nora. You will be so greatly missed.