Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Ephron effect

Reading is everything. Reading makes me feel like I've accomplished something, learned something, become a better person. Reading makes me smarter.... Reading is grist. Reading is bliss.

I couldn't have put it better myself. But then that's usually the case with the zingy prose of Nora Ephron. In addition to several recent collections by the late journalist and screenwriter, I recommend her classic 1972 article for Esquire, “A Few Words About Breasts.”
It was a source of great pride to my mother that she had never even had to wear a brassiere until she had her fourth child, and then only because her gynecologist made her. It was incomprehensible to me that anyone could ever be proud of something like that. It was the 1950s, for God’s sake. Jane Russell. Cashmere sweaters. Couldn’t my mother see that? “I am too old to wear an undershirt.” Screaming. Weeping. Shouting. “Then don’t wear an undershirt,” said my mother. “But I want to buy a bra.” “What for?”
In filmmaking they talk about “the Lubitsch touch.” Ephron's wry way with words should be immortalized as well ... “the Ephron twist”? I'll hoist a martini to that.  (Left: Jane Russell—a daunting role model in the d├ęcolletage department!)

5 comments:

  1. As I'm certainly not able to comment on much of this post (haha:), I'm a huge fan of Nora's. Just read "I Remember Nothing" during the holidays last winter. It got me through the relentless "family cheer." You're missed, Ephron...

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  2. Funny people are worth their weight in gold, eh? Especially when they (like David Sedaris) help you deal w/ the holidays and the myriad weirdnesses that they're prey to.

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    1. Ironically, I read that essay ("Some Thoughts on Breasts")just today. I was looking for something else that Nora Ephron wrote in a collection of essays called "Crazy Salad," and just kept reading. I found that her writing holds up as well today as it did back in the seventies. What really amazes me, though, is her evolution from essayist to novelist to screenwriter/director. Whoever said "Writing well is the best revenge" might well have talking about Ephron.

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  3. Oh the late great Nora Ephron, it's really sad she went so soon, her brilliant thought provoking sense of humor has always struck a chord with me.
    Here is one of my favorite Ephron quotes “When I buy a new book, I always read the last page first, that way in case I die before I finish, I know how it ends. That, my friend, is a dark side.”
    ― Nora Ephron, When Harry Met Sally

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    1. I hadn't remembered that one! Thanks, Penny. Ironic, Jane Russell just died too.

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