She convinced me to be myself from a large screen in a theater through words that Meryl Streep spoke.
I went home and found out that a woman named Nora Ephron wrote the script and it was based on her own divorce and philandering husband, who was in an uproar that she had written such personal things in fictional characters.
Her words sprung from pain, and they were funny. I longed for them to be mine. Even if my life didn’t match hers, I knew the tender, deep girl who longed to be the pretty one, but knew she was the smart one. I understood her desire to be known and loved by a man who thought well of her, but wasn’t captivated by her.
She wrote it down...and she made the whole thing funny, as she looked back. Not only was she funny in her writing, but she was always prepared when she spoke, with just the right thing to say.
I later listened to her on the radio where she described her “growing older” and “menopausal” experience and I laughed out loud as I drove home in the rain. I was just thirty five...and I knew what she was talking about.
Her mind was much older than mine, but she spoke for me. She spoke for every thinking woman I ever met, and I wept, listening to her words...and longed to write like her, just to make it fair.
Today, as with most things that whisper from the west, I heard about her death on Open Salon. It made me run home to Mama – The NYTimes online and Wikipedia to see what happened. It was Leukaemia, the bloodsucking cancer that killed her, and she had had it for years.
I never met her. I don’t even own one of her books, but I am grieving like I lost my cousin and I can’t be there with my family. I am truly sad that the world is without her.
In my research, I read several “last interviews” that she granted. All of them tender, many of them funny. She didn’t remember things the way she wished she did... and I cried.
My favorite lines from the interviews were similar to my favorite lines in her movies – quick, simple and charming.
When asked what wouldn’t she miss?
“For starters,” she said, “The former Soviet Republics, Twitter, the Kardashians, all housewives, illness everywhere, every drink invented since the Cosmopolitan, especially the drink made with crushed mint leaves (you know the one).”
And the things she will miss: “My kids, Nick, spring, fall, waffles, the concept of waffles, twinkle lights, butter, Paris, and pie.”
Even this made me get tears in my eyes.
I couldn’t have said it better myself.