Remembering Nora EphronShe was big on dreams, on making dreams into reality.
Nora Ephron died last week. Ephron, 71, was a gifted American journalist, screenwriter, playwright, novelist, producer, director and humorist.
A screenwriter of romantic comedies, she created “Sleepless in Seattle,” “You’ve Got Mail” and “When Harry Met Sally.” The film “Julie and Julia,” about Julia Child and a young New York woman who vowed to cook each of Ms. Child’s recipes, gave Ephron opportunity to indulge her deep interest in food and cooking.
Ephron was a fine essayist, published world-wide. Her fans claimed she changed their lives. Women authors who never met her considered her a mentor.
Nora Ephron wrote with brilliance, intuition and humor. She wrote no matter what was going on in her life, sometimes about the least of issues-- demonstrating that often it is little things that prompt words to make their way onto the page.
One of Ephron’s books was titled, “I Feel Bad about My Neck,” a quirky title from a quirky author.
Her wit extended to merciless self-description, whether on the appearance of her neck or her views on wearing a bikini or her choice of having her hair styled twice weekly in lieu of therapy.
In a commencement address at her alma mater, Wellesley, Ephron once said, “Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.” I can imagine those words from the vibrant, personable—and famous—Nora Ephron impacting eager graduates. She did not believe in being the victim, though during her lifetime she encountered situations that could have discouraged her from being the heroine in her own life.
In the film “Heartburn,” one of Ephron’s characters says, “You can settle for reality, or you can go off like a fool, and dream another dream.” The line exemplified her approach to life. She was big on dreams, on making dreams into reality. She credited her mother with instilling in her the desire to work, to make something of herself.
Nora Ephron was ill with cancer for several years, but until her illness progressed, her choice was to tell few people that she was sick. After all, she still had work to do. However, her awareness of her precarious health led her to prompt others—especially women—to remember their vulnerability.
“You get to a certain point in life where you have to realistically, I think, understand that the days are getting shorter, and you can’t put things off thinking you’ll get to them someday. If you really want to do them, you’d better do them.”
Nora Ephron packed an amazing amount of living into her 71 years—too much to imagine. Considering her gifts, her legacy, I find myself sitting here wondering what I want to do as my own days get shorter. What do I want to pack into the time that’s left? What reality? What dream? Whatever it is, I’d better get to it.