Friday, September 2, 2016

I woke this morning with a clear head ... and Nora Ephron came to mind

I woke this morning with a clear head. After walking around for the last three days trying to balance what felt like a swollen, oversized, inflamed bowling ball on my neck and shoulders. The pain has waned, the mucus has subsided, and I woke this morning with a clear, normal-sized head.

Nora Ephron (1941-2012)
Author, journalist, essayist, playwright,
screenwriter, novelist, director, producer,
blogger ... and one of my biggest
inspirations :)
I was going to read my Bible. I took up the laptop to find Matthew 5 and ended up on Pinterest reading Nora Ephron quotes – a turn of events for which I'm sure she would have had several witty remarks. She would probably have worked it into a plot for a famous romantic comedy,  adorning it with brilliant lines that would have made the movie a quotable hit.

Ah, Nora! How she lived! I think of her, and the word fabulous comes to mind. I enjoy her books, movies and essays. So delightfully humorous, and relatable. I loved 'You've Got Mail', 'Sleepless In Seattle' and 'When Harry Met Sally' long before I knew who had written them. In fact, I loved Nora precisely because she wrote these movies. Then I read 'I Remember Nothing' and 'I Feel Bad About My Neck', and I just loved her wit and blunt honesty. It's always refreshing to hear truth without the side serving of bitterness or hate. Some people tell you the truth, but it is so tainted by sadness, it just sounds and looks ugly. Then others tell you the same truths, and there is such a beautiful acceptance - a coming to terms with it - that makes the impartation gentler, more meaningful and ... wholesome.

Nora Ephron had that vibe. She said things that were true, but cushioned them in humour, or with a simple grace that made them more like gentle advisories than rude slaps. And she laughed a lot - at herself and others. Everybody who knew her said so. She mastered the art of taking life just seriously enough to get the lessons without allowing them to permanently harden you. I think I would have liked her if I'd gotten to meet her in the flesh. But I am happy that I got to meet her, to some degree, through her work, and her words.

There's a fundamental presumptuousness which accompanies writing about people we've never met as if we knew them. But there is also something wonderful about getting to meet a person through their work and words. It gives you insight you probably would have missed if you knew them in the flesh, because writing often reveals the depths of a woman/man.

That's why I love the literary arts. It introduces you – intimately – to perfect strangers, and seduces you into connections with people and places unknown. Through their words, you get glimpses of their minds ... and sometimes, what you see is so wonderful – so powerful and dynamic and brilliant – that you fall irrevocably in love. I honestly don't know how anyone goes through life without succumbing to the charm and magic of reading ... and writing.

I like the way Nora Ephron puts it:
“Reading is everything. Reading makes me feel like I've accomplished something, learned something, become a better person. Reading makes me smarter. Reading gives me something to talk about later on. Reading is the unbelievably healthy way my attention deficit disorder medicates itself. Reading is escape, and the opposite of escape; it's a way to make contact with reality after a day of making things up, and it's a way of making contact with someone else's imagination after a day that's all too real. Reading is grist. Reading is bliss.”
How true! How very, very true.

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