Wednesday, 27 June 2012

#288: I Feel Bad About Nora (And So Do You)

One of my favourite writers, Nora Ephron, has died.  How can this have happened?  She was only 71.

I know you are sorry to have lost this great talent, too, even if you don’t recognize her name.  Because, even if she seems unfamiliar, the movies in which she was involved as a writer and director are not.  Who doesn't love When Harry met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, and Julie and Julia.  They are Nora Ephron to the core.

But Nora Ephron was, first of all, a journalist with a genius for turning everyday crises into laugh-out- loud articles and works of fiction. Her mother, with whom she had a rather difficult relationship, once offered advice about writing.  “It’s all copy” was her dubious comfort to Nora when things were not going well.  In other words, “When shit happens, write about it”.  That is just what Nora did, famously morphing a painful divorce from Carl Bernstein into the novel (and the film) Heartburn.     

Along with works of great humour and insight inspired by her family, her parents and her marriages, she also tackled the indignities of growing older (among other topics) in two thoughtful, witty books of essays:  I Feel Bad About My Neck and I Remember Nothing.  I consider these collections required reading for all older women.

It has been my intention to blog about the good (whimsical/weird/amusing/uplifting) aspects of retirement and aging, so technically, I should not be referring to her passing at all. It’s too sad. But , under the circumstance, maybe more Nora is just what we need.  She knew how to find the best in the worst of circumstances. Perhaps the best we can do to celebrate her death is dip into some of her hilarious writing and remind ourselves to keep smiling -- if only to detract from turkey-wattle neck.     

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