Did I spend time thinking about Nora Ephron before yesterday? A little. I admired and enjoyed her movies, her books, the wise and funny things I heard or read from her. But I never met her and, in truth, I didn’t think about her often. Until yesterday, when I was caught by surprise by my intense reaction to her death.
Here was a woman who, really, had spoken for and to the rest of us women. To my generation, for sure, but also, I think, to a much broader group. She chronicled the pleasures and displeasures of all our lives, the petty annoyances and indignities of aging and upkeep and societal demands, and the great joys of friendship, love, family, and relishing good moments and experiences.
I had one of those experiences last night, out to dinner with Dr. D. and a tablefull of friends. The women--and the men, too--toasted Nora as if she had been a personal friend. There was a down-to-earth quality about her that made each of us certain that, given the chance, Nora and we would have certainly been friends.
It felt like that, too, when Wendy Wasserstein died. Maybe what so many of us felt in remembering these two women, was how fearless they were in exposing what they felt and thought and believed and how their fearless honesty helped us define and understand and respect what we felt and thought and believed, too. And what we experienced. Yes, they both lived lives of huge accomplishment and resulting recognition. Yet somehow they included us on their journey. Somehow we got the sense that they were not rarified creatures living in a world we could never hope to know, but that they were us, writ larger. And way funnier. They inhabited the very same world, It will be so much less without them.