Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Norah Ephron Dies

"Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim."--Nora Ephron, Wellesley commencement address, 1996

I discovered Nora Ephron's writing when I first read her breakout novel Heartburn, which mixed heartbreak and humor masterfully. It chronicles Ephron's messy divorce with Washington Post Watergate hot shot, Carl Bernstein. To lighten things up, she peppered this book with her favorite recipes--since she started out as a food writer. I kept that book in my pantry closet along side my other recipe books for many years just for that reason.

But it was her inspiring writing that mostly kept me holding on to Heartburn. When I learned that she was the screenwriter to one of my all-time favorite movies, When Harry Met Sally, I became a die-hard fan of Nora Ephron. I was in awe at the way she captured the complicated dance between a man and a woman as they came together or fell apart.

It didn't hurt that she got Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan together on the big screen so all of us could enjoy such feel-good romantic comedies in other movies like Sleepless in Seattle and You've Got Mail (My dad must have watched this movie at least 20 times before he died--he loved it.)

Towards the end of her career, she went back to her roots and wrote two fabulously funny books that were collected essays on the hallmarks of aging--I Feel Bad About My Neck and I Remember Nothing. Once again, I could not let these books go and they are still on my book shelf. When my mother borrowed the books, I haranged her until they were safely back in my care.

I don't want to let go of Norah Ephron's books because there are so many of her sentences that I would love to emulate in my own writing--some day. But in the meantime, I have the genius of her work at my finger tips. She may be gone, but Norah Ephron will always inspire me with her edgy movie dialogue and books filled with wit and wisdom. 

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