June 27, 2012
Nora Ephron, we'll miss you.
I was not suspecting to hear about the death of one of my favorite screenwriters and directors this morning. It really came as a shock, and my level of sadness (for someone I didn't know personally) surprised me. It's always sad when celebrities die, but I think I really believed in what Nora was trying to do in life. She entertained the masses, while giving women a very unique voice. And she gave us some of the most memorable and romantic movie quotes of all time, while also being quite the feminist. She once described her character development this way - "I try to write parts for women that are as complicated and interesting as women actually are." Nora always seemed to write female characters that every woman I know wanted to be - women who want to create a full life for themselves, but don't always know how to do it AND are usually semi-neurotic.
She also gave some of the best advice possible in a commencement address she once gave. I absolutely love it! Here's a nice big excerpt and my favorite part of the speech. See the entire speech here.
"We have a game we play when we're waiting for tables in restaurants, where you have to write the five things that describe yourself on a piece of paper. When I was your age, I would have put: ambitious, Wellesley graduate, daughter, Democrat, single. Ten years later not one of those five things turned up on my list. I was: journalist, feminist, New Yorker, divorced, funny. Today not one of those five things turns up in my list: writer, director, mother, sister, happy. Whatever those five things are for you today, they won't make the list in ten years -- not that you still won't be some of those things, but they won't be the five most important things about you. Which is one of the most delicious things available to women, and more particularly to women than to men. I think. It's slightly easier for us to shift, to change our minds, to take another path. Yogi Berra, the former New York Yankee who made a specialty of saying things that were famously maladroit, quoted himself at a recent commencement speech he gave. "When you see a fork in the road," he said, "take it." Yes, it's supposed to be a joke, but as someone said in a movie I made, don't laugh this is my life, this is the life many women lead: two paths diverge in a wood, and we get to take them both. It's another of the nicest things about being women; we can do that. Did I say it was hard? Yes, but let me say it again so that none of you can ever say the words, nobody said it was so hard. But it's also incredibly interesting. You are so lucky to have that life as an option.
Whatever you choose, however many roads you travel, I hope that you choose not to be a lady. I hope you will find some way to break the rules and make a little trouble out there. And I also hope that you will choose to make some of that trouble on behalf of women. Thank you. Good luck. The first act of your life is over. Welcome to the best years of your lives." - Wellesley Class of 1996 Commencement Address
We'll miss you, Nora.