Nora Ephron died this week. She wrote the screenplays for When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, Silkwood, Julie & Julia. She began her career as a journalist and was also a film director, an author, and a blogger. I wonder if she was called a ‘mummy blogger’?
Ms Ephron was a woman who was talented beyond measure, a working mum who was successful however you define it. Yet she also wrote about the unpleasant process of ageing and how unfairly biased it was against women, the focus of her best-selling collection of essays, “I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Reflections on Being a Woman“.
Nora Ephron had two children, and was a single mum for a number of years after divorcing husband Carl Bernstein of Woodward and Bernstein fame, the journalists who broke the Watergate scandal.
But clearly, she was never just the wife of someone famous. She wrote, directed or produced 15 films, received multiple Academy Award nominations and released six collections of essays.
I love Nora Ephron’s writing, and was always drawn to words written by her or about her.
She has some classic quotes about parenting, which are often shared.
“When your children are teenagers, it’s important to have a dog so that someone in the house is happy to see you.”
“Here’s what a parent is: A parent is a person who has children. Here’s what involved in being a parent: You love your children, you hang out with them from time to time, you throw balls, you read stories, you make sure they know which utensil is the salad fork, you teach them to say please and thank you, you see that they have an occasional haircut, and you ask if they did their homework.”
“The nest is actually empty. You’re still a parent, but your parenting days are over.”
“[A successful parent is one] who raises a child who grows up and is able to pay for his or her own psychoanalysis.”
She also crafted a fine phrase about relationships and marriage:
“I don’t want to be someone that you’re settling for. I don’t want to be someone that anyone settles for. Marriage is hard enough without bringing such low expectations into it, isn’t it?”
—Walter from Sleepless in Seattle
“Beware of men who cry. It’s true that men who cry are sensitive to and in touch with feelings, but the only feelings they tend to be sensitive to and in touch with are their own.”
“I love that you get cold when it’s 71 degrees out. I love that it takes you an hour and a half to order a sandwich. I love that you get a little crinkle above your nose when you’re looking at me like I’m nuts. I love that after I spend the day with you, I can still smell your perfume on my clothes. And I love that you are the last person I want to talk to before I go to sleep at night. And it’s not because I’m lonely, and it’s not because it’s New Year’s Eve. I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.”
—Billy Crystal to Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally
And about life:
“Here are some questions I am constantly noodling over: Do you splurge or do you hoard? Do you live every day as if it’s your last, or do you save your money on the chance you’ll live twenty more years? Is life too short, or is it going to be too long? Do you work as hard as you can, or do you slow down to smell the roses? And where do carbohydrates fit into all this? Are we really all going to spend our last years avoiding bread, especially now that bread in American is so unbelievable delicious? And what about chocolate?”
I bet you love her too now, right?
Nora Ephron had an amazing life and career, which you can read more about here.
For a real treat, read her Wellsley College 1996 commencement address about women having it all.