Nora Ephron

I was sorry to hear that Nora Ephron had passed away on Tuesday. When I interviewed her two years ago I was unaware until reading her writing credits in I Remember Nothing that she had apparently written and directed about half the romantic comedies made in the 90s and beyond. Interviews can be surprisingly intimate conversations between strangers. It is always my goal that the author and I feel like friends by the end of our taping. I understood soon enough that this would not be the case with Ms. Ephron. After the shoot I groused about it to my wife. “She didn’t give me anything.”

And then I got the footage. It was one of the easiest interviews I have ever had to edit because all her answers were concise, interesting, and cogent. Also, unlike some authors unaccustomed to on-camera interviews, she kept her answers under two minutes, another blessing in the editing room.

At the end of the interview I asked Ephron what she would do if she couldn’t write. She answered, “Writing is what I do; it’s is like breathing.” She went on to say that first she would be relieved, and then she would cook, and then she would become very depressed because she’d have nothing to do.

After the shoot I walked with her to where she would be meeting the folks from Third Place Books. I asked her if she had another movie in the pipeline. “Oh, yeah,” she said wearily. “They always want another one.” I said good-bye, thinking what an odd answer that was. She was a guarded woman, and not about to give away anything terribly personal, but I suspected that her enthusiasm for the work no longer matched the eagerness of the studios to produce her.

And so there will not be another Nora Ephron film. We will all endure, and meanwhile she has taken her enthusiasm with her, where it rightly belongs. Her last words in our interview were, “But if I couldn’t write . . .? I’ve written a lot. And I do like cooking.”

Remember to catch Bill every Tuesday at 2:00 PM PST/5:00 EST on his live Blogtalk Radio program Author2Author!

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