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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Nora Ephron: My Writing Heroine

Long before I became a writer by profession I was obsessed with the words of others. I would watch movies like "Sleepless in Seattle," "You've Got Mail," and my all-time favorite, "When Harry Met Sally," over and over, until I was able to recite the snappy, clever dialogue.

Nora Ephron became a screenwriter and director at a time when there weren't many women let into that club. But it's no surprise, as a graduate of the stalwart women's college, Wellesley, (my daughter's alma mater!) she was a trail blazer.

She began in the mail room at Newsweek and eventually became a very accomplished journalist penning stories and columns, the latter of which punctuated with her signature wit.

It's not easy being a writer. It's lonely, isolating and filled with rejection. Unless you have a writing partner it means hours and hours of being alone. It's a bit of an odd career to choose. Somehow you are fine with being somewhat anti-social, but crave to share what you have to say with others. We are a strange breed. But writers are amongst my absolute favorite people to be with.

As a journalist, and novelist I always dreamed of getting to interview Ms. Ephron. I write about pop culture and entertainment and to me she was the pinnacle of success as a woman writer. It is because of her that we have the likes of Tina Fey and Mindy Kaling now.

When I was working on my first novel, I would write scenes and as crazy as it sounds, as I wrote dialogue I would think, "What would Nora say?" I wanted my own voice of course, but I aspired to capture the wit, wisdom and realness of what she was able to achieve. I long to create lines people, like me, will remember and recite.

I find it so sad that Nora is now gone and the world will have to rely on what's already been captured on film and the writen page. Women like her, like Dorothy Parker are rare and to be relished. I thank her for giving me a very high bar to aspire to reach, I can only hope to have one one thousandth of the success she had.

You make me want to be a better writer, Nora. And you inspire me to keep going against all odds. Something tells me I'm not alone.Thank you.

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