Nora Ephron is Gone.
All week long I have been thinking about what to write for my blog this week and the subject came in an unwelcomed push on my IPhone from the New York Time’s last night at dinner. Nora Ephron, screenwriter, director, playwright, feminist, novelist, mother and a unique voice for a generation of American women had died.
If anyone still asked me whom I wanted to be when I grew up, I would say Nora Ephron. Smart, funny, sophisticated and a pen that conveyed stories about strong women in a way we all could take in, connect with and laugh about. Nora Ephron had a great ear. Who can forget the deli scene in When Harry Met Sally or The Empire State Building rooftop in Sleepless in Seattle? Her nuclear divorce from Watergate journalist Carl Bernstein was stuff of Beltway legend and inspired her book and movie, Heartburn. She reinvented the banter-rich romantic comedies of the 30's and 40's for the modern era. No mere chick flicks, men liked them too.
Some of Nora’s recent writings reflected her philosophy on aging as a woman. Her book, “I Feel Bad About My Neck”, is hilarious and a touchstone for every woman over 40 who wonders why gravity holds a grudge. But to me, what is so sad about Nora’s passing is that we lose a wit, an intelligent, funny woman who had something to say, a throwback to Dorothy Parker and an era of women with a pen that mattered.
Tina Fey may carry the torch or perhaps Kristen Wiig, but there will not be the texture of the language, the natural cadence of dialogue, the way real people talk, or the unsentimental look at sentimental subjects. She liked chemistry not crudeness. This writer showed all of us that “I’ll have what she’s having” was enough said. Her last film, Julie and Julia, was a wonderful story about Julia Child who wrote the bible on French cooking. In the film, Child’s adoring husband Paul, played by Stanley Tucci, encourages his wife by saying, “Your book is going to change the world”.
And in her own way, Nora Ephron changed mine.