Wednesday, June 27, 2012

In Memoriam

I am wildly emotional this morning. In a good way. Correction. A bittersweet way. Last night my lovely and thoughtful parents sent me a New York Times article about a writer who just died that they said reminded them of me. It was about Nora Ephron whom I am ashamed to say I didn't even know about!
And this is a travesty considering I have loved and quoted one of her finest works for years, When Harry Met Sally. This article detailing her life, passion and humor struck me immediately and stirred the embers in my soul that are always burning for writing into a full blown flame once again. I got a little teary. Not because she passed, though I was sad about this, but because once again this woman was doing something to me, something she started long ago.
Anyone who knows me, or asks about any of my loves will most likely hear the When Harry Met Sally story. This movie changed the course of my life. Nora in her very own way changed the course of my life with writing this brilliant film.
In case you don't know how this movie has impacted me, let me regale you with it now.
If I knew in the fourth grade that I wanted to be a writer and I loved New York City always, it was my eighth grade year that cemented my love and knowledge that I yearned for and would have both.
I was home after school sitting in our recliner near the living room window flipping through the channels trying to find something on TV, when I came across the film When Harry Met Sally. I knew about this movie. In fact I knew I loved it before I even watched it.
Why? For starters I have always been a hopeless romantic and when I would write stories, which was how I spent the majority of my youth, and most of them being love stories, the main characters in my tales loved the classics. And the two iconic and classic love stories my characters knew to love before I ever saw them were, When Harry Met Sally and Casablanca. The two movies that were destined to be my favorites.
Finally, my eighth grade self thought upon landing on the film. I had been meaning to watch this movie for what felt like years. So I settled in and partook of the movie that introduced me to my home. New York City.
Scene after scene that showed Meg Ryan in New York, from arriving at the Arc de Triomphe, to being a journalist in the city, to hauling a Christmas tree back to her apartment resonated with me and an ache started fiery in my depths. And I knew it then. What I still know now. I was meant to live in this great city. I too would be a journalist. I would haul a Christmas tree back to my apartment and walk Central Park in the fall. See the Arc de Triomphe, which I did see for the first time, three days ago and my throat closed up, my insides fluttered and I felt very close to tears. And last but not least, I wanted that speech. That amazing speech at the end of the movie. The one that goes like this:

I love that you get cold when it's seventy one degrees out, I love that it takes you an hour and a half to order a sandwich, I love that you get a little crinkle above your nose when you're looking at me like I'm nuts, I love that after I spend a day with you I can still smell your perfume on my clothes and I love that you are the last person I want to talk to before I go to sleep at night. And it's not because I'm lonely, and it's not because it's New Years Eve. I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of the life to start as soon as possible.

I have desperately yearned for someone to know the silliest things about me and love me anyway, to know that I too am a little fussy and particular. That I don't like ketchup on my burgers or hot dogs. That my eyes turn a violent shade of turquoise after I've cried, but that it is my favorite. That I color coordinate my closet and always fold my underwear.
Besides what this movie did for my drive and determination to make it to New York, it became my bible for relationships long before I discovered Sex and the City. Eighth grade me knew then, like it still vehemently believes now that men and women can't be friends, not necessarily because of the sex part, but some sort of emotion on the part of the man or the woman, always, yes always gets in the way. I believe that.
Do I have men friends? Yes, of course. Have I had a crush on every single one of them, whether mild and fleeting or full on falling in love? Yup, sure have. If you are a man friend of mine reading this, don't be alarmed, I am over it now if we're still friends, but yes, I have wanted you at one point or another(Amendment, unless you are taken, gay, or markedly younger than me, then no, I have not wanted to date you, so rest easy). Trust me, I don't want you now, for if I did, we would not be friends. Why?
Because men and women were not destined for friendship! I have said it before and I'll say it again. If I meet a man who is delightful, charming, makes me laugh, gets me, why in God's name would I want to sit and talk tea with him? I want to kiss him! I have my girl friends to talk with. I don't kiss them. Hence, why every man who comes into my life and ends up being just my friend I want to shake my fist at them and say, lord have mercy haven't you seen, When Harry Met Sally? Don't you know the rules? Posh on these new-fangled men and their silly ideas on female friendship.
Ok, that was an incredible tangent but it pertained to the movie and one of the many lessons it imparted on me, that I still take to heart today.
I have been emotional and weepy throughout writing this whole blog as that is how much this movie has been a part of my life.
And here's the thing. Now that you know how crazy I am for this film, also know this. In a sense having just discovered Nora Ephron and all the ways that she has shaped the writing world, still I know enough. I have always known her. She did more for me than any writer ever has or ever could. And I know that's a lofty statement and there are loads of writers I respect and admire, but, Nora, you in particular, you paved the way.
You were instrumental in me finding the path I was supposed to be on, am still on, and in me aspiring to not only move to New York City, religiously pursue writing, but also know that a great and worthy love is out there for me. One who indeed would know that Billy Crystal's speech is my favorite toe-curling speech of all time and that I secretly yearn for a speech all my own.
Last but not least, Nora awakened something in me long ago that is nowhere in the realm of being finished. The exact same feeling I had sitting in my parents living room all those years ago yearning deeply for something that seemed very far off and very intimidating indeed is exactly what I felt last night reading about her life.
I knew with a blazing ferocity that I am meant to be a writer. I want it so badly it scares me. Rattles me to my core. How can someone want something so badly? But I do. And in reading about Nora and her passion for writing, I know that I am right in this. In wanting what sometimes feels like the unattainable.
But if Nora did it, so can I.
So with an overwhelming well of gratitude which she will never know, I still want to say thank you, to her.

Thank you, Nora from the depths of my soul for doing what you did. And doing it so well.

And with that, I will leave you with one of my other favorite segments from the film.

Harry: You're the worst kind. You're high maintenance but you think you're
low maintenance.

Sally: I don't see that.

Harry: You don't see that? Waiter, I'll begin with a house salad, but I don't
want the regular dressing. I'll have the Balsamic vinegar and oil, but on
the side. And then the Salmon with the mustard sauce, but I want the mustard
sauce, on the side. On the side is a very big thing for you.

Sally: Well I just want it the way I want it.

Harry: I know. High maintenance.

1 comment:

R.S. said...

Nora was brilliant, as are you, my daughter! Would have been so amazing for you to have been able to meet her. She would have loved you, I am sure as much as you would have her!It seems as if her sense of humor and similarities are many. Wonderful piece! Love, Mom