Nora, thanks for the laughs

I learned through Twitter today that Nora Ephron, one of my favoritest writers/screenwriters/filmmakers, has passed on at the age of 71.  I have a soup of draft posts stewing for my blog this week, but her death pushed those in the back burner. This is just too bad a news not to blog about it right away.

71 is  far too young for a genius like Nora to die. I can’t believe she’s gone. It’s such a huge loss. I grew up to her heartwarming, deliciously funny without being vulgar rom-coms. One just can’t help falling in love with the notion of love after one of her films. With “You’ve Got Mail” (the sound of the dial-up modem brings back a flood of memories!), I wanted to be the charmingly beguiling, bookshop-around-the-corner owner Kathleen Kelly (Meg Ryan). I cried when that little boy called up the radio show to talk about his widowed father (Tom Hanks) in Sleepless in Seattle (it was in this movie that I became smitten by Carly Simons’ “In the Small Wee Hours of the Morning”). I almost choked with laughter when Sally (again, Meg Ryan) moaned her fake orgasm in the deli scene of “When Harry Met Sally” and director Rob Reiner’s mom’s line afterwards: “I’ll have what she’s having.”

Nora made a me a hopeless romantic. Her films taught me that humor, and not just passion, is an important ingredient in the serious business of falling in love. That it’s ok be vulnerable. That falling in love can be stormy and sweeping, and it can also be like a softly falling leaf. And that it’s perfectly ok to fall out of love, too.

I still can’t believe that “Julie and Julia” is the last Nora Ephron movie. She’s irreplaceable, especially today when most of the romantic comedies strive to generate laughs by resorting to vulgarity and nudity.

For the rest of this week, I intend to wallow in grief by watching her movies and reading up all her essays and blogs online, starting with her book: “I Feel Bad About My Neck.” This grief will mostly be punctuated with laughs, though, because that’s how it is with Nora. Her humor and wit were her gifts to the world. I want to have what you had, Nora.

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I write to live, or live to write. Whichever it is, writing is my life.

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