The Street Where I Live

British by birth, New Yorker by nature.

Everything Is Copy

Books & Words, New York CityAlexandra kingComment
Photo by Linda Nylind for The Guardian

Last week, I had one of those comically bad days. I overslept, forgot my umbrella on the way to the subway and had to stand on the train, soaked, the whole way to Manhattan, realizing half-way there that I'd left my wallet at home. Later that afternoon, after having seven vials of blood drawn at a routine doctors appointment that turned out to be not so routine, I passed out for the first time in my life, like some sickly, TB-ridden Victorian heroine, before wobbling back to the office, still umbrella-less, starving and ten pounds heavier in rain weight. On the way home I realized that I'd lost my beloved and expensive leather gloves at some point after leaving the doctor and it took me so long retracing my steps back to to try and look for them that I missed my pilates class. I then, gloveless in the freezing air, waited 20 minutes for an F train before choking back hot tears the whole (standing) ride home.

Needless to say, I launched into my apartment that night a snivelling street urchin of self pity and woe. I plonked my wet bottom down on the sofa, let out an almighty cry-roar and in that moment the torturing gods suddenly took pity on me- because, with a start, I remembered the magical words: Everything is copy.

It's something my (for she is mine) beloved Nora Ephron said, and like everything she ever said in her too-short life, it is no-nonsense and wry and absolutely true. It was a phrase she learnt from her copy writer mother; in Nora's words, "My mother wanted us to understand that the tragedies of your life one day have the potential to be comic stories the next.”

Nora, who saw herself as the heroine of her own life, and who advised others to do the same. Who saw the sublime and the ridiculous and the pathos in the trifling minutiae of our funny little existences, who, when asked to give her best life advice in six words, wrote "Secret to life; Marry an Italian".  I love her. I miss her. 

Advanced Nora, if you like:

I Feel Bad About My Neck

Frank Rich on Nora

Nora on her beloved Upper West Side apartment building, The Apthorp

Nora's last copy

And this, obviously. Is there a more romantic moment in cinema history?

I wonder- do you feel the same way about Nora as I do? what's your favorite Ephron moment?