My favorite authors are all dead. It isn’t a morbid thing to say or think about really. When your passion is a hearty mix of The Past and The Written Word, most of what you come up with is Dead Writers. Don’t think too much about it, will ya? Just accept the fact that, lovely though his work is, Charlie Dickens is NOT putting out anything fresh. What’s written is written, and there is no more. It was that way before I was born, so I have no qualms with it. There’s exactly TWO authors that I adore to no end that live in the present: one is Nora Ephron and the other is Lynne Trusse (a witty Brit).
While you probably haven’t heard of Lynne Trusse, you have heard of Nora. She brought us some of the BEST classic films in the entire world.

Sleepless in Seattle.

You’ve Got Mail.


Julie and Julia.

Don’t you love the dialogue in those movies? Couldn’t you let those movies run in the background of your day all day long and hardly get sick of them? Oh sweet sugary honey nectar to my soul! A good friend of mine once gifted me with one of Nora’s books, “I Feel Bad About My Neck.” In that book, I discovered something I’d only held in vague suspicion: Nora was IT.
She and I wouldn’t have been bosom friends, probably, but we have the same sense of humor. In the book she actually wrote an ENTIRE ESSAY about why she hates purses, and it’s radically hilarious. Purses, for crying out loud. PURR-SEZ. Who does that? What’s more: who does it so well that you can’t stop reading because you might miss something important?

She discusses her children, housing, aging, vanity, divorce, journalism and just about everything that can snuggle betwixt it all, and here’s the thing: it should be boring. It should be boring, but it’s captivating. Who can be 8 to nine months pregnant, find out their husband is cheating on them, meet up with their husband’s mistress’s SPOUSE and then, in a little less than 100 words, make you laugh about it? Nora.
She. Is. IT.
You can imagine my misery when I logged on to the computer last night to find out that she has died. She died yesterday at age 71 from leukemia.
I feel like I’ve lost a friend. Not a close friend… just an extraordinarily talented one. She GAVE me stuff, for crying out loud. Her movies and her books were there to pull me up when I was down. They never failed to lift me up because they were so DANG funny and full of sincerity and heart -all at the same time! They don’t make movies like that much anymore, but NORA did! I could COUNT on her, and her new material was always, always, just wonderful.
And now, like Dickens, it’s gone. But this time, I have qualms. She wasn’t allowed to die because I’d grown accustomed to fresh material from her. Extraordinarily talented people ought to be granted a sort of… immunity from death.
Don’t you think?
My husband doesn’t quite get it. So I asked him how he would feel if Steve Nash died. He said he’d be bummed. Well, I’m bummed.
Bummed out of my mind about the whole thing.
Nora knew about death, you know. She wrote about it.
“I am dancing around the D word, but I don’t mean to be coy. When you cross into your sixties, your odds of dying -or of merely getting horribly sick on the way to dying -spike. Death is a sniper. It strikes people you love, people you like, people you know, it’s everywhere. You could be next. But then you turn out not to be. But then again you could be.
Meanwhile your friends die, and you’re left not just bereft, not just grieving, not just guilty, but utterly helpless. There is nothing you can do. Everybody dies.
‘What is the answer?’ Gertrude Stein asked Alice B. Toklas as Stein was dying.
There was no reply.
‘In that case, what is the question?’ Stein asked.
Well, exactly.
Well, not quite exactly. Here are some questions I am constantly noodling over: Do you splurge or do you hoard? Do you live every day as if it’s your last, or do you save your money on the chance you’ll live twenty more years? Is life too short, or is it going to be too long? Do you work as hard as you can, or do you slow down to smell the roses? And where do carbohydrates fit into all this? Are we really going to have to spend our last years avoiding bread, especially now that bread in America is so unbelievably delicious? And what about chocolate? There’s a question for you, Gertrude Stein -what about chocolate?”
~Nora Ephron, “I Feel Bad About My Neck” 131-132

I hate to see talent like that go, absolutely abhor it. Thank goodness it’s raining today. The weather ought to have the decency to rain. To have the sun shine while Nora lies still would just be, gosh, unforgivably irreverent.
Maybe you didn’t know who Nora was, and now your ignorance is bliss. You can accept the fact that she’s not going to put out anything fresh without so much as a shrug -much like I do with Dickens and Frost and Fitzgerald and Austen.
In which case: lucky you. May you go on enjoying “Sleepless in Seattle” in peace (speaking of which: don’t you love the way she puts movies into movies? In Sleepless it was “A Love Affair to Remember” ~and her shriveled up little legs *sniffle*~ and with “You’ve Got Mail” it was “The Godfather” ~Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Wednesday~).
In the meantime, I’m going to tell you that I went into the city today for The Patient to have the stints ripped from his nose. Don’t worry -he came out all right.
I then went on to polish off a plate of mahi-mahi like I hadn’t eaten in 11 years. And then I bought 4 pounds of grapes, 6 pounds of gummi bears, and a green parakeet.

I realize I’m being dramatic here. ┬áBut let me validate myself by saying I’m not the only one.

And with that, I’ll away. There’s dreary, wet windows that need staring through.


  1. Nora, we salute you.

    And now I’m going to have to go watch “Bewitched.” I had no idea she wrote that one or I would’ve watched it years ago.

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