Meet the Writers – Nora Ephron

Meet the Writers - Nora Ephron

what was the spark that inspired this book I remember nothing the answer is I have no idea I honestly don't know what the spark was because I don't remember anything but I do have a I do know that there came a moment because it's on my computer when I wrote the words I remember nothing a memoir on it not that this is exactly a memoir but I just thought that would be a funny title for a book and and then I started doing that thing you do where you start writing down you just kind of start writing down what might go into a book that was called that and and then things just piled up well I think it's everything that has crossed my mind in the last three years and one of the things obviously when I when I wrote I feel bad about my neck that's a book that that has a lot of cosmetic issues in it because because as as many of us know that's one of the ways you really know that you're getting older is the mirror the dreaded mirror the mirror that you're constantly going please don't let me pass this mirror and look in it please don't let me get a glimpse of myself because I will be so depressed because inside you understand I think I'm sixteen that was then though now I think you get to a point when you're getting older where you really do know physically that you're getting older you know and even if you even if you find yourself in the gym you know that you're getting older and you know because things just go slip-sliding away all the things you you think you used to know you're not sure you even used to know them but they're just vanish and you suddenly noticed that a dinner with your friends is an endless series of what was the name of that she was the one who was you remember her she had just and and of course we've all been saved from the true mortification of this by our mobile devices because we can google the answer if you can just figure out what to ask Google you can get the answer but there's no question that that you when you get older it's not that your disk is full it's that it starts getting empty and some very weird way and and you remember nothing and you find yourself saying it all the time I remember nothing I think one of the reasons people bought I feel bad about my neck is that they felt bad about their necks I think it was one of those titles who sometimes you get very lucky with the title when people go Oh God finally finally finally somebody is is saying you know I had I really wrote that book because I was so exhausted from reading books or reading about books that said how fabulous you were in your 60s how fantastic life was how how you could have the greatest sex of your life I'd I just I thought are these people on crack I mean what is this about and so I think that there was a relief for people that somebody was was saying in a kind of wistful way let's let's talk about this realistically and I think I remember nothing is is meant to continue that conversation well you certainly get a lot of wonderful letters when you write a book when you write books like these and one letter I got was from a woman who's who said okay you're in your 60s now but let me tell you about what the 70s is is like and she prepared me she said that you always have to sit on the floor and look up at people because of course this is true you know this is true that you must never have a picture of yourself taken unless the camera is slightly above you never let anyone take a picture of you from below because horrible things happen but anyway so she said I always had to sit on the floor and I thought well that's great because I have to make sure I can get up from the floor I mean I'm I'm in awe of her that she can not only sit on the floor looking up in people but that she can then get herself out of that position so anyway I'm prepared for then she also said that you have to stop you have to stop dyeing your hair at a certain point which of course will be news to almost all the people I know in my age bracket in New York nobody's really ready to do that but I know what she meant I know what she meant when you write about your friends and your family you know I grew up with parents who wrote about us and my sister Delia who's a wonderful writer got her head stuck between the banister rails when she was about 7 years old and within a year it happened in a Jimmy Stewart movie that my parents wrote so we grew up you know with my mother saying everything this copy and life is material and you write about what you know and all of those things and we very much understood in our family that you can write about one another and you just can do that but that doesn't mean when it happens everybody is thrilled about it I have to say that and not everyone grew up in my family so they go wait a minute but you know writers there they just do those things I think many books are not meant to be movies so so making books into it's one of the reasons why when a lot of books that are made into movies we say but did you read the book because the book was really good because books have a different shape a novel has a different shape then a movie does a novel is often first this happened and then this happened and then this happened and then this happened and that's not the shape of a movie at all the shape of a movie is beginning middle end so so what you look for when you read a book to make into movies is there a beginning a middle and an end and where is it with Julia and Julia that was a completely constructed beginning middle and end not the Julia not the Julie part of it which was I am going to spend one year cooking every recipe and Julia Child but but the Julia Child part of it where do you start that story with her and where do you end it we ended it way before we ended it just as she became Julia Child just as that book came which by the way speaking of old age she was 50 years old when her first book was published which is amazing when you think of how long she was famous and how we all thought she'd been there forever and ever and in fact she'd had an entire couple of lives before writing that book and changing her life I think the hardest thing about writing is writing and it's much harder now than it used to be because of the siren song of the internet which sings to you all day long so that when you get to a certain point in your writing process where you can't think of the next sentence what you think is not I'm gonna sit here and think of the next sentence but I think I'll check my email or I think I'll go and see the New York Times website and see if anything has happened since 12 seconds ago when I last checked it so I think that's the hardest thing about writing but I try to write every day and every single day I can at least say I tried to write something today I hope that when people read it I remember nothing I hope after they read it they remember it absolutely that would be a fabulous thing to have out and it's funny so I hope they laugh


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