I never thought I’d join the chorus of people mourning the passing of writer and director Nora Ephron. The news of her death stunned me, though in a way that totally surprised me.
I was not a huge fan of her writing in the later years, and especially, her movies and play. Much of her depiction of American women and their ‘best friends,’ I thought was cloying and annoying. As one admirer of hers wrote, “She thought about things, everyday things, and then wrote about them in the most approachable way. Like ‘Come on girls, we see this thing alike, don’t we?’ Then you belonged to the Nora Club.”
Except I often didn’t see this thing the same way, and like Groucho Marx, I’m not a big joiner of clubs that would have me. And yet..
Nora Ephron was a terrific re-inventor of herself and not in a way that was merely ‘fashion.’ She managed to do the things she wanted to do — mostly on her own terms. A famous example: when life handed her a philandering husband, she turned it into a best-selling novel and movie. She was a pioneer for women directors, yet insisted on overseeing the all-important on-set catering, with no regard for the perception that may have driven of her ‘feminine side.’ I wouldn’t be surprised if she dictated the menu at her own funeral reception. That seems very “Nora.”
She didn’t whine. When she learned of the illness that would end her life, she told very few intimates, preferring to work and live each day to the fullest. Which according to her many friends, it was.
And she quickly put her own stamp on expressing herself in forums like this one. In her tribute to Nora, Arianna Huffington said, “She quickly grasped that one of the reasons for blogging was to start the conversation and to create the community that comes together briefly to talk about things they might not be talking about if you hadn’t written your blog. And, to the surprise of no one, she summed it all up with a memorable, perfect metaphor: ‘A blog was a soap bubble,’ (Nora) wrote, ‘meant to last just a moment or two.'”