Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Nora Ephron 1941-2012

As I was preparing dinner tonight I was listening to NPR and I heard that Nora Ephron left us today. We lost one of the best woman writers of our century.

Photo courtesy of imdb.com

I stopped mid stir in shock. I could not believe what I was hearing because I, like everyone else in the world except for her close friends and family, had no idea that she was sick with acute myeloid leukemia. She was 71 but seemed so young, like she still had so much to give us. In fact, while in the hospital she was working on the pilot for a show.

I remember being a young girl of nineteen and sitting in the theater watching When Harry Met Sally and being mesmerized by the amazing dialogue. Even now I can quote so many parts of this movie.

Nora Ephron got into the minds of people and did such a wonderful job putting that down on paper. She said, "I try to write parts for women that are as complicated and interesting as women actually are."

In today's New York Times article the writer quotes Nora Ephron's friend as saying, “Sitting at a table with Nora was like being in a Nora Ephron movie,” Ms. Quinn said. “She was brilliant and funny.”

I can just imagine what she was like in person and I would have loved to have met the writer of such classics like, Sleepless in Seattle, Hanging Up, You've Got Mail, Julie & Julia, and of course When Harry Met Sally.

In You've Got Mail she wrote, “Don't you love New York in the fall? It makes me want to buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address.” 

She wrote about New York as if it were also a main character in the movie and the way she described the city made me want to explore Zabar's and the Upper West side. In fact, I followed a You've Got Mail map around the Riverside area on one of my visits to New York.

When I watch her movies I feel the same way that I feel about great art. I will never be an artist but I believe I can appreciate art. I will never be a writer like Nora Ephron, but I can appreciate great writing. She was one of the women writers who I looked up to. I wanted to grow up to be like her. I even wrote how old she was when she wrote certain movies on a piece of paper and carried it in my wallet as inspiration. She was my mentor and I'm sure she was a mentor to many women writers in America and probably the world.

Having seen my sister suffer from leukemia I can imagine that she was tired in the end. Her passing away is a loss for many, but she is finally at rest and without pain. She may be gone, but her writing will live on forever like great literature.

When I was in high school our English teacher explained to us that you always write about literture in the present tense because characters exist in a perpetual, eternal present. The same can be said about Nora Ephron's work. Her characters, her dialogue and her writing will continue to live on.

No comments: