Nora Ephron, the Oscar-nominated screenwriter, filmmaker, director, producer, novelist, playwright, journalist, author, blogger, and one of my biggest inspirations, died yesterday at age 71 after a battle with leukemia.
You probably know Ephron from her movies: When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seatle, Michael, You've Got Mail, Julie & Julia, etc.
What you might not know:
- After graduating from Wellesley, she interned in the White House of the President John F. Kennedy.
- Her first job in NYC was a mail girl for Newsweek.
- She & her sister wrote the incredible play, Love, Loss, & What I Wore. It has a rotating cast and I've maybe seen it three times. :)
- She wrote books: I Feel Bad About My Neck, Wallflower at the Orgy, I Remember Nothing (in which she hints about her illness), and more.
- Tom Hanks is due to make his Broadway debut in January in Ephron's Lucky Guy. (Let's all go!)
“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 all going to spend our last years avoiding bread, especially now that bread in American is so unbelievable delicious? And what about chocolate?”
“Whenever you give up an apartment in New York and move to another city, New York turns into the worst version of itself. Someone I know once wisely said that the expression "It's a nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there" is completely wrong where New York is concerned; the opposite is true. New York is a very livable city. But when you move away and become a vistor, the city seems to turn against you. It's much more expensive (because you need to eat all your meals out and pay for a place to sleep) and much more unfriendly. Things change in New York; things change all the time. You don't mind this when you live here; when you live here, it's part of the caffeinated romance to this city that never sleeps. But when you move away, your experience change as a betrayal. You walk up Third Avenue planning to buy a brownie at a bakery you've always been loyal to, and the bakery's gone. Your dry cleaner move to Florida; your dentist retires; the lady who made the pies on West Fourth Street vanishes; the maitre d' at P.J. Clarke's quits, and you realize you're going to have to start from scratch tipping your way into the heart of the cold, chic young woman now at the down. You've turned your back from only a moment, and suddenly everything's different. You were an insider, a native, a subway traveler, a purveyor of inside tips into the good stuff, and now you're just another frequent flyer, stuck in a taxi on Grand Central Parkway as you wing in and out of La Guardia. Meanwhile, you rad that Manhattan rents are going up, they're climbing higher, they're reached the stratosphere. It seems that the moment you left town, they put a wall around the place, and you will never manage to vault over it and get back into the city again.”
“There is something called the rapture of the deep, and it refers to what happens when a deep-sea diver spends too much time at the bottom of the ocean and can't tell which way is up. When he surfaces, he's liable to have a condition called the bends, where the body can't adapt to the oxygen levels in the atmosphere. All of this happens to me when I surface from a great book.”
“I love that you get cold when it's 71 degrees out. I love that it takes you an hour and a half to order a sandwich. I love that you get a little crinkle above your nose when you're looking at me like I'm nuts. I love that after I spend the day with you, I can still smell your perfume on my clothes. And I love that you are the last person I want to talk to before I go to sleep at night. And it's not because I'm lonely, and it's not because it's New Year's Eve. I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.”
“I live in New York City. I could never live anywhere else. The events of September 11 forced me to confront the fact that no matter what, I live here and always will. One of my favorite things about New York is that you can pick up the phone and order anything and someone will deliver it to you. Once I lived for a year in another city, and almost every waking hour of my life was spent going to stores, buying things, loading them into the car, bringing them home, unloading them, and carrying them into the house. How anyone gets anything done in these places is a mystery to me.”
“I don't think any day is worth living without thinking about what you're going to eat next at all times.”
“…the amount of maintenance involving hair is genuinely overwhelming. Sometimes I think that not having to worry about your hair anymore is the secret upside of death.”
“Don't you love New York in the fall? It makes me want to buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address.”
“I look out the window and I see the lights and the skyline and the people on the street rushing around looking for action, love, and the world's greatest chocolate chip cookie, and my heart does a little dance.”
“And then the dreams break into a million tiny pieces. The dream dies. Which leaves you with a choice: you can settle for reality, or you can go off, like a fool, and dream another dream.”
"The best thing about a pedicure is that most of the year, from September to May to be exact, no one except your loved one knows if you have had one. The second best thing about a pedicure is that while you're having your feet done, you have the use of your hands and can easily read or even talk on a cell phone. The third best thing about a pedicure is that when it's over, your feet really do look adorable. The worst thing about pedicures is that they take way too much time and then, just when you think you're done, you have to wait for your toenails to dry. It takes almost as long for your toenails to dry as it does to have a pedicure. So there you sit, for what seems like an eternity, and finally you can't stand waiting one more minute so you gently slip on your sandals and leave and on the way home you absolutely ruin the polish on your big toe and since your big toe is really the only thing anyone notices as far as your feet are concerned, you might as well not have had a pedicure in the first place."
“Oh, how I regret not having worn a bikini for the entire year I was twenty-six. If anyone young is reading this, go, right this minute, put on a bikini, and don't take it off until you're thirty-four.”
“When your children are teenagers, it's important to have a dog so that someone in the house is happy to see you.”
"I'm sorry to report that I have an Aruba. My Aruba is named after the Caribbean island of Aruba, where the winds blow so strong that all the little trees on it are blown sideways in one direction. But my Aruba is not an island. It's the thing that's happening with my hair, on the crown of my head, in the back. My cowlicks have won, and they are all blown sideways, leaving a little bare space."
“Beware of men who cry. It's true that men who cry are sensitive to and in touch with feelings, but the only feelings they tend to be sensitive to and in touch with are their own.”
“Well, it was a million tiny little things that, when you added them all up, they meant we were supposed to be together... and I knew it. I knew it the very first time I touched her. It was like coming home... only to no home I'd ever known... I was just taking her hand to help her out of a car and I knew. It was like... magic."
“I'll have what she's having.”
"One of my biggest regrets -- bigger even than not buying the apartment on East Seventy-fifth Street, bigger even than my worst romantic catastrophe -- is that I didn't spend my youth staring lovingly at my neck."
"I hate my purse. I absolutely hate it. If you're one of those women who think there's something great about purses, don't even bother reading this because there will be nothing here for you. This is for women who hate their purses, who are bad at purses, who understand that their purses are reflections of negligent housekeeping, hopeless disorganization, a chronic inability to throw anything away, an an ongoing failure to handle the obligations of a demanding and difficult accessory (the obligation, for example, that it should in some way match what you're wearing). This is for women whose purses are a morass of loose Tic Tacs, solitary Advils, lipsticks without tops, ChapSticks of unkown vintage, little bits of tobacco even though there has been no smoking going on for at least ten years, tampons that have come loose from their wrappings, English coins from a trip to London last October, boarding passes from long-forgotten airplane trips, hotel keys from God-knows-what hotel, leaky ballpoint pens, Kleenexes that either have or have not been used but there's no way to be sure one way or another, scratched eyeglasses, an old tea bag, several crumpled personal checks that have come loose from the checkbook and are covered with smudge marks, and an unprotected toothbrush that looks as if it has been used to polish silver. This is for women who in mid-July realize they still haven't bought a summer purse or who in midwinter are still carrying around a straw bag. This is for women who find it appalling that a purse might cost five or six hundred dollars - never mind that top-of-the-line thing called a Birkin bag that costs ten thousand dollars, not that it's relevant because you can't even get on the waiting list for one. On the waiting list! For a purse! For a ten-thousand-dollar purse that will end up full of old Tic-Tacs!"
"People who run four miles a day and eat only nuts and berries drop dead. People who drink a quart of whiskey and smoke two packs of cigarettes a day drop dead. You are suddenly in a lottery, the ultimate game of chance, and someday your luck will run out."
"Sometimes I wonder about my life. I lead a small life - well, valuable, but small - and sometimes I wonder, do I do it because I like it, or because I haven't been brave? So much of what I see reminds me of something I read in a book, when shouldn't it be the other way around? I don't really want an answer. I just want to send this cosmic question out into the void. So good night, dear void."
“Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.”
"What I will miss My kids Nick Spring Fall Waffles The concept of waffles Bacon A walk in the park The idea of a walk in the park The park Shakespeare in the Park The bed Reading in bed Fireworks Laughs The view out the window Twinkle lights Butter Dinner at home just the two of us Dinner with friends Dinner with friends in cities where none of us lives Paris Next year in Istanbul Pride and Prejudice The Christmas tree Thanksgiving dinner One for the table The dogwood Taking a bath Coming over the bridge to Manhattan Pie"
To read her commencement speech at Wellesley to the 1996 graduates - click here.
Stars remember her here.
until next time,