An Ode to Nora Ephron and Her Words

Not to be so 2014 about something so timeless, but Nora Ephron makes me feel some type of way.

When I sat down to watch the documentary made in her honor — Everything is Copy — I expected all my positive feelings about Nora (can I call her Nora? I really want to call her Nora) to be reconfirmed and reiterated. But instead I walked away with a heart that was somehow both broken and bursting. With a mind that was as calm as it was reeling.

But that’s the thing about her, isn’t it? Her ability to reinforce what all of us already know with a humor and clarity so staggering our organs can’t help but reorganize themselves is exactly what made her writing — and still makes her writing — so deeply moving. All it takes is one genius line of hers for me to go from forgetting I’m alive to feeling my heart beat in my stupid eyes.

Whether she was musing on something as superfluous as getting her hair done, as gut-wrenching as the loss of love or as vast as the human experience, she found a way to marry the morbid with the hilarious and make so many women feel understood.

Above all, Nora taught us that “everything is copy.” Our shitty mornings and ruined plans and biggest failures will mingle with their emotional counterparts to give our lives texture and depth. I might even argue no three little words could ever mean more.

Not to be a little kid about someone so timeless, but Nora Ephron is my hero.

Above are some of my favorite of her words.

Feature photograph from Zumapress via New York Post; carousel photograph by Brigitte Lacombe for Vanity Fair; quote slides designed and illustrated by Emily Zirimis. 


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  • gleek

    I felt the exact same way after watching Everything Is Copy! I cried yet I also felt like I could take over the world. She will always be an inspiration for many reasons but, for me especially, the fact that she was never afraid to be herself and speak her mind reigns above all. Happy Birthday Nora <3

  • Allie Fasanella

    nora!! i love love 8 and 11. i mean they’re all so good man.

  • Yvonne Dunlevie

    I deeply identify with the hair comment.

  • AlexaJuno

    I was a Nora Ephron fan to begin with, but after watching, “Everything Is Copy”, she has graduated to official hero. Such a powerful woman, such an effortless writer. For any looking for a good read/listen, there is a twelve-hour audio book, “Crazy Salad and Scribble Scribble” that I’m devouring right now. Many of her articles from the 70’s about second wave feminism, Watergate, Nixon, etc. So fascinating to see where she began.

  • Patty Carnevale

    “All it takes is one genius line of hers for me to go from forgetting I’m alive to feeling my heart beat in my stupid eyes.” YES. yes. #12 in support of wear-your-swim-suit-to-work-day.

  • Emily Zirimis

    YES to all of these. Loved making them <3

  • Snailstsichr

    I love this one from a NPR interview. I actually got out of a warm bed to write it down, because I never wanted to forget it. “You can never have too much butter – that is my belief. If I have a religion, that’s it.”

  • Amelia Diamond

    She’s obviously said some deep important stuff but guys, that bikini thing: are all making mistakes with this one piece business ?!!??!

  • I think it’s so generous of her son to share her with us like this. We all feel like we grew up with her in our lives, but to get this perspective of her as a person – a mother, wife, friend in addition to being a genius writer – was so powerful. This and Lemonade are my two favorite things I’ve watched this year. Good job, HBO.