One of my favorite writers, Nora Ephron is dead at age 71. Best known for her screenplays, (Silkwood, Sleepless in Seattle, When Harry Met Sally, etc.) I loved her for her essays--her funny, vulnerable, honest, intimate essays. Ephron had the ability to share with us her insecurities and struggles while maintaining just enough objectivity to put it all in perspective, usually a humorous one. When I work with clients, I often refer to Ephron's essays as an example of what to do if you want to write about your own life.
When I got the news last night, I was pissed. Seventy one is too young. I want more Nora Ephron. I'm not done yet, so how can she be gone? I thought about her recent book, I Feel Bad About My Neck and how I've read excerpts. I've been meaning to read it all, but I haven't yet. I was waiting for, I don't know what, the perfect time, maybe the annual trip to the beach where I could read it without guilt or interruption. I just wanted to savor it, like a decadent dessert.
It struck me that now, when I do read it (and I will), it will be bittersweet. I won't wonder what she is doing at that moment and picture her having lunch with her friends. I will be pointedly aware that she is no longer with us. That this voice that makes me chuckle even at the hint of her rye cadence is forever forward silenced.
God, we think we have time, we think we can afford to wait, we can put it off, whatever 'it' is. Put of the dream, put off the relationship, put off spending time with the kids, put off reading a book, put off writing one.
What if Nora Ephron put off writing? What we all would have missed!
We think we have time, but we don't. Not that put-it-off-for-later kind of time.
The gift Nora Ephron leaves behind is her work. Even though she is gone from her body, her body of work lives on and remains accessible to us now and for generations to come.
It's the one reward writers get for the hours of isolation, self-doubt, and wrestling with words--immortality.
So, thank you Nora Ephron for the gifts you gave and left behind. And wherever you are, I hope there's pie.