When a Role Model Dies

Nora Ephron died yesterday.

I almost can’t believe it.

I saw her on Oprah one time. There’s an idea of heaven: Sitting between Nora Ephron and Oprah. We would talk books. We’d start with lunch and end with cocktails after dinner. We’d transition from books to life stories.

Oprah would break in with “What I know for sure…” and Nora and I would tell her to lighten up and we’d laaaaaaaugh. So hard.

Nora Ephron wrote, produced and directed movies. She wrote a collection of essays titled I Feel Bad About My Neck that had me laughing and crying. She zeroed in on life so we all “got it”. Finally, you could laugh at things you thought were unique and in Ephron’s writing you could find out: Not so unique. Just human.

Her observations that made us all just human were hilarious. But also heart provoking. Her writing could make us laugh with each other and make us lean on one another with tears, “Oh, honey, I have BEEN there.”

This article by Virginia Heffernan said it well, ” The comic lines that always landed right—and then the sudden turns in language and stagecraft that gently blew the heart open.”

I had another fantasy that she would write the screenplay to my novel. You know, when it stops being a manuscript and turns into a book. Which will, OF COURSE, then be turned into a movie. I thought Nora might write it as an act of charity and I would ask to have it written in the contract that I could have a little stool in the corner, just to watch. I even drink tap water if they could just let me be in the same room.

And then maybe she’d turn to me and say, “That was a great line. That has to go in the movie.”

And then we’d laugh.

 Whaddayathink? Which of her movies did you like best? Were you a fan? Who is your favorite contemporary author?