How do you write about Nora Ephron? How do you write about someone who's work is so iconic that it has become a part of our social fabric? Someone who's writings have made up large pieces of my conscious mind-- through the number of times in a given week I think of quotations from When Harry Met Sally
-- to the threads filing through my subconscious mind-- how important I feel An Affair to Remember
is as a movie due to my watchings and re-watchings of Sleepless in Seattle
? How do you talk about someone who's work literally formed the material catalyst for your mother-daughter relationship? (Well, her and Jane Austen, that is).
I never had the honor to meet Nora Ephron, so I feel I can only talk around her. She has always been this cinematic giantess to work around, but now, with all the words written about her after her death, I don't feel I can ever get at her, not really. We have already begun to enshrine her, in our hearts and our cultural memory. I do not lament this, but it does make working out what her writing has meant to me a difficult set of feelings to parse out.
But maybe I am able to say this: there are people in this world who have a gift. Their gift is not necessarily words or creativity, imagination or dialogue. No, their gift is this: to take their tools and their talents and change the way people think and understand, the way they interact with one another. Nora Ephron had this gift. She changed the way I saw pieces of the world, and I know from the outpourings after her death, she changed many others.
And while I am sad that she left us, sad that she will no longer share any new stories or screenplays with us, I remind myself to be grateful I had a chance to encounter the work of a woman like her at all. And I remember that we should all be so lucky to leave this world with such a body of work behind us, with such a legacy to offer to our audience.
When Harry Met Sally: The film is probably best known for a scene where Meg and Billy Crystal are arguing about a man's ability to recognize when a woman is faking an orgasm. Sally claims that men cannot tell the difference, and to prove her point, she vividly (but fully clothed) fakes one as other diners watch. | Meg Ryan, When Harry Met Sally, Orgasm, Actress,