Why I (Still) Love Nora Ephron

I wrote this post two years ago in honor of Nora Ephron, and today seems like an appropriate time to re-post it. I will miss her. Nora Ephron is my biggest girl crush. My biggest fantasy lunch date. And my biggest influence and inspiration as a writer—when I’m strugging, I often think: WWND? (What Would Nora Do?) This week’s New Yorker did a lovely piece on her, accompanied by a gorgeous photo that in no way suggested she needs to feel bad about any part of her anatomy. The story was about Julie and Julia, her new film, whose trailers I have been watching on line. I’ve been following Ephron’s career since I read Crazy Salad in college. Heartburn has a special place on my bookshelf, and to this day, I hate Carl Bernstein. And like so many women, I am a rabid fan of her films. And I don’t want to hear that they can be saccharine, that things too often turn on coincidence, that characters extricate themselves from situations and relationships with little effort, and that the cities she creates on screen are fantasy places that don’t really exist. I know. That’s exactly what I love about them. (There are few things that make me happier than watching a back-to-back reruns of Sleepless in Seattle in my pj’s while eating chocolate chips out of a bag.) Ephron is the kind of writer who makes you feel as though you know her. She’s smart and funny and unafraid to be both feminist and feminine. She can piss off Rush Limbaugh and still look good doing it. She can be insightful and incisive about any number of political issues, but still admit that Obama’s loose-fitting tie in one of the debates distracted her. She can play with the big boys, but she never underestimates the power of a good meal—or a good haircut, for that matter. And in so much of her work, she tells the often unpolitically correct truth about what women think and feel—open up to any page of I Feel Bad About My Neck; watch the scene in Sleepless when Rosie O’Donnell tells Meg Ryan: “You don’t want love. You want movie love.” (Damn right, Nora.) But we also want our place in the world, a theme Ephron explores in her new film, Julie and Julia, in which a young writer, Julie Powell, realizes her dream through the inspiration of the more famous and successful woman, Julia Child. Ephron doesn’t know it, but her film is a version of a movie I’ve already made in my head—a never-to-be-released little fantasy called Nora and Rosemary. . . (This post originally appeared on Red Room.)

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