My heart is a little heavier today over the loss of one of my first career mentors: Nora Ephron. Nora always managed to capture the loneliness I identified with but never without providing a path out of it into a shared weird world with your weird soul mate. Her worlds were interior yet earthly detail-loving, filled with disappointments and also just enough humor to keep people moving. Both sunny and a little sad.
I love all her work, but for me, You've Got Mail is not just a love letter to my favorite city-- it's the movie embodiment of my own personality. (And not just because I spend so much time online. Or because I love the 90s. Or because I used to work at Cafe Lalo.) I don't think anyone gives it enough credit for being, at the personal level, very well written. The butterfly scene. The elevator scene. When she talks about how much she misses her mom. Every description of New York.
And when I think about the disappointments I've had in my own life-- both professional and personal-- I've wished for a man like Joe Fox (and, well, Tom Hanks) on the other side of that disappointment. A man who knew both not to be afraid of telling me like it is, but the harsher the reality, the more supportive and gentle the delivery need be. One who would tell me to go to the mattresses, who wouldn't be afraid to put me out of business if necessary, but also tell his father that I was the single human being who filled his heart with glee, that he wanted to turn his life upside down and marry me. A man who will make me feel like a Stevie Wonder song.
Nora, of all the female writers I can think of, you're the one it hurts the most to lose. Your work ethic, prolific output, emotional intelligence, and sense of humor are still some of my greatest inspirations. You're the kind of modern-living philosopher I will always aspire to be. And it's no coincidence that, of all the quotes I love, the only one that made it to side of this little blog here is one of yours:
"Sometimes I wonder about my life. I lead a small life - well, valuable, but small - and sometimes I wonder, do I do it because I like it, or because I haven't been brave? So much of what I see reminds me of something I read in a book, when shouldn't it be the other way around? I don't really want an answer. I just want to send this cosmic question out into the void.So good night, dear void."
Good night to you too, dear Nora.