There are many who stand by the side of the road and watch life travel by. Nora Ephron marched right down the middle line. She followed no one, instead charting her own unique path, and encouraging others to do the same by her example.
Her remarkable career is being written about in articles all over the web and print world today. I will leave that chronicling to others. For me, Nora’s place in literary history is much more personal. She was my rock star. She set the writing bar impossibly high with her ability to pierce any ordinary moment with an infusion of humor so damn honest and relatable that we were all in on the joke. Nobody knew that the personal was universal better than Nora.
In my fantasy, I became the long lost Ephron sister. I looked up to her, saw every movie, read every book, every interview, striving to shape my prose and humor in her imprint and, of course, falling pitifully short. But because she set the bar so high, I made it to a higher rung in my work than I ever would have had it not been for her example. Among the most important things Nora’s writing taught me was the meaning and importance of “authenticity of voice” – to find my own and trust that it would be enough.
Had I lived in New York, I would have made Alec Baldwin’s stalker look like an amateur. In a piece from 2010, “Stalking Nora Ephron,” I wrote of my attempt to meet my idol through an essay competition where the prize was a trip to New York and a face-to-face with the grand lady of humor herself. I didn’t win.
More than anything, I wanted the opportunity to stand before her and say thank you. It wouldn’t have been dignified. I’m sure I would have blubbered inanely and embarrassed both of us. Best I say it here where I can exercise at least the illusion of decorum.
I’m standing by the side of the road where I see your footprints and I smile. I love you, Nora Ephron. You are and will always remain my hero. Thank you…
This post was shaped by the prompt, “By the side of the road,” part of the 30-day writing challenge from Nicky and Mike at We Work for Cheese. I didn’t know how I was going to express my feelings about the passing of Nora Ephron and this prompt gave me the structure I needed. Inspiration is everywhere…