Discovering Nora Ephron

NEW YORK, NY – MAY 23: Nora Ephron during TechCrunch Disrupt New York May 2011 at Pier 94 on May 23, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Joe Corrigan/Getty Images for AOL) *** Local Caption *** Nora Ephron *** Creative Commons License

Discovering a Life Changer

By: Nancy Thorne

Almost six years ago I heard the name Nora Ephron for the first time. It was in relation to one of my favourite stories, When Harry Met Sally. I was on my treadmill watching the movie when Nora’s voice, along with those of Billy Crystal and Rob Reiner, spoke to me during a featured audio commentary.

It helped change my life.

“I’m sweaty,” I said to my husband after traipsing down the stairs to locate him. “But I have to talk to you. I’ve decided to work full-time on my dream of being an author.”

If I hadn’t been shy in grade school, perhaps the ubiquitous question of what I wanted to be when I grew up would have slipped between my lips in one proud word of truth − writer. But I realized early on that this aspiration would be scoffed at, an unfortunate result of the female futilities of those days. My reply was always the acceptable: nurse, secretary, dental assistant or teacher. Still, to say my literary dream refused to disappear through the decades would be an understatement. And Nora Ephron bolstered my desire.

I ordered every book written by Nora.

I immersed myself into her words until I felt we were friends. I laughed in I Feel Bad About My Neck. I sighed in I Remember Nothing.

In Heartburn, it felt like we were together drinking wine in a quaint Manhattan restaurant and she was telling me her story.

I imagine reaching across the table to place my hand upon hers and saying, “I’m so sorry your husband had an affair when you were pregnant with your second child. What a terrible thing to go through.”

And, in her poignant and humorous style as a seeker of truth, I then imagine she’d quote herself:

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

Nora Ephron’s books focus on everyday women. Women who rally against life’s failings, women who live through ups and downs as she did, rebounding to discover not only happiness but also an authentic sense of self. Whether writing fiction, non-fiction disguised as fiction or essays, she wrote wittily of heartbreak and glorious awakenings.

Nora Ephron was a journalist, author, essayist, screenwriter and director. She had the ability to start over and construct wonderful new chapters of her life.

Her words inspired me to do the same.

An acclaimed author of short stories, Nancy's debut novel VICTORIAN TOWN is a time-hopping paranormal romance featuring a high-school girl out to solve a century-old murder. She lives just outside of Toronto with her husband, two sons and an energetic fox-red lab.

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