I wanted to write something about Nora Ephron yesterday, but I was too upset. I never met her, but I always thought that one day I would. I can’t believe I won’t. I genuinely can’t believe it – I spent yesterday thinking “Now I’ll never meet her. Maybe one day… no.”
I don’t want to write an obituary – you can find them in every newspaper and all over the internet. And you probably already know who she was. She was a writer, producer, director, journalist, blogger, feminist. She was hilarious.
She wrote (and produced) my favourite film of all time, When Harry Met Sally. I watched it yesterday. I watch it at least once a year. At least. I still laugh in the same places. Yesterday, I burst into tears at the “I’ll have what she’s having” line. That was a first.
Thanks to her glorious novel, Heartburn, I now know how to make the perfect boiled egg. (It’s simple, but I could never manage it.) Thanks to one of the essays (I can’t remember if it’s in I Feel Bad About My Neck or I Remember Nothing), I think of her when I wear my bright pink coat (Her mother told her never to buy a red coat: “People will see you coming and they’ll say, ‘There she is in her red coat.’ ”). I think of her when I eat cherries or drink Coke Zero.
And of course I think of her when I write. Jessie Hearts NYC was inspired by Sleepless in Seattle and I think I mention at least one of her films in all of my books (or maybe I just mention a bunch of them in Jessie – I can’t remember). I have a sticker on my desk that my friend (and fellow Bea contributor) Diane bought for me. It says ‘What Would Nora Do?’ Sometimes I stare at it until my eyes water. And then I write. Eventually.
Yesterday, Twitter and Facebook filled up with Nora quotes. It was lovely, but it kept making me cry. My favourite was this, from the commencement speech she gave to Wellesley, her alma mater:
Whatever you choose, however many roads you travel, I hope that you choose not to be a lady. I hope you will find some way to break the rules and make a little trouble out there. And I also hope that you will choose to make some of that trouble on behalf of women.
That’s what Nora would do.
She will be deeply missed.