"Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity." ~ Gilda Radner

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


I am sitting on the edge of my bed, in my writing room, clutching my copy of Nora Ephron's book, I Feel Bad About My Neck And Other Thoughts On Being A Woman.

Nora Ephron. Dead at 71. Pneumonia brought on by acute myeloid leukemia. Apparently she had not been well for some time. But she was a quiet trooper.

Heavy, heavy sigh.

Another one of my writing mentors, gone. But clearly, Nora Ephron will never be forgotten.

I feel very sad. As though I just lost a dear friend. A dear, funny friend, with a disarming dry wit. An awesome writer  and film director. Her screenplays brought me some of my most favorite movies ever...Heartburn, Silkwood, When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, You've Got Mail..

Never saw Julie and Julia...for the life of me, I don't know why.

Big Nora fan since I read her essay Crazy Salad many years ago.  Had to have I Feel Bad About My Neck because, geeze, what woman over 50 doesn't feel bad about her neck? Read it cover to cover, all in one day, last year.

Hung on every written word. Laughed. Cried.

Started wearing black turtleneck sweaters more frequently because, well, Nora was right.

"You can put makeup on your face and concealer under your eyes and dye on your hair, shoot collagen and Botox and Restylane into your wrinkles and creases, but short of surgery there is not a damn thing you can do about your neck," she wrote.

Except, perhaps, as Nora professed, wear black turtleneck sweaters.

"Our faces are lies, and our necks are the truth," she concluded. " You have to cut open a redwood tree to see how old it is, but you wouldn't have to if it had a neck."

I also loved Nora's other honest-about-aging book, I Remember Nothing.  Because, truly, I don't. Not like I used to.

But it was what Nora wrote regarding her thoughts about the inevitability of  death that has stayed with me, rattles me, really, as I continue, in my mid-50s, to wrestle with the question, "What do I want to do with the rest of my life?"

"You do get to a certain point in life where you have to realistically, I think, understand that the days are getting shorter, and you can't put things off thinking you'll get to them someday," she wrote. "If you really want to do them, you better do them. There are simply too many people getting sick, and sooner or later you will. So I'm very much a believer in knowing what it is that you love doing so you can do a great deal of it."

Like Nora (who was a blogger, by the way, for The Huffington Post), I love writing. And I am doing a great deal of it during the 40 Days of Writing challenge. How appropriate, then, I think, to  take a few moments to reflect on Nora's "do what you love now" philosophy  at the halfway point in the challenge. Perhaps commit to continuing to write regularly after the challenge concludes in July. Maybe take my writing, my blogging, to the next level. Whatever that is.

Meanwhile, in Nora's honor, I am officially in search of a bottle of  Dr. Hauschka's Lemon Bath, her favorite bath oil. She mentions it at the conclusion of  I  Feel Bad About My Neck. If I find it, and can afford it, I'm buying a bottle.  Then I plan to enjoy  long, hot soaks in the tub, up to my not-so-gracefully aging  neck in lemon bath oil, plotting my writing future.

"The instructions say one capful per bath," Nora wrote. "But a capful gets you nowhere. A capful is not enough. I have known this for a long time. But if the events of the last few years have taught me anything, it's that I'm going to feel like an idiot if I die tomorrow and I skimped on bath oil today. So I  use quite a lot of bath oil..."

Thank you, Nora Ephron, for sharing your comedic genius, spot-on relationship insight and  inspiring life wisdom through your writing, your books and your movies.

You were one of the best.

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