R.I.P. Nora Ephron

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Photo by Joe Corrigan
Courtesy TechCrunch via Flikr/Creative Commons

“My mother wanted us to understand that the tragedies of your life one day have to potential to be the comic stories the next.”  -- Nora Ephron

Author and screenwriter Nora Ephron died Tuesday at New York Presbyterian Hospital, where she was being treated for acute myeloid leukemia and pneumonia

While I am, of course, familiar with Ephron's movies such as Sleepless in Seattle, When Harry Met Sally and Julie & Julia, it wasn't until I started reading her obituaries that I realized how much more she had accomplished and the example she set for  women writers. 

As the Los Angeles Times notes, Ephron's "protagonists, who included the chef Julia Child and the whistle-blower Karen Silkwood, were often women and typically were just as capable — if not more so — than the men around them."

And as Mariam of Redbone Afropuff mentioned in a comment to a recent post on the blog, Ephron showed her that "yes, I can be a journalist, a novelist, a memoirist, and essayist, a screenwriter and a playwright all in one lifetime." 

Just to give a sampling of what she accomplished off screen, in the 1960s Ephron worked for the New York Post and then went on to write monthly columns in the 1970s for Esquire and New York magazines. Many of the pieces she wrote for these magazines were collected in three books of essays, Wallflower at the Orgy (1970), Crazy Salad: Some Things About Women (1975) and Scribble, Scribble: Notes on the Media (1979). 

Examples of more recent writings include her 2006 collection of essays, I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Reflections on Being a Woman and her 2010 collection of essays, I Remember Nothing, which takes a humorous look at the aging process and other topics.

Prolific is a word that just doesn't seem to fully describe her career, a career I'm sorry I didn't explore more when she was still with us. But her legacy remains to remind us to keep writing, writing, writing and to tell our stories no matter what.