Before I forget to tell you or before you forget if you don’t get to the end of this review, you must buy and read I Remember Nothing by Nora Ephron. The humorous/poignant mix enlightens and endears on nearly every page. Whether she’s explaining the love/hate relationship of having alcoholic parents or reminding us that labor hurt – hurt like hell as a matter of fact – or exploring how familiarity births new perspectives, you know that she speaks from experience, and now that’s she’s almost REALLY old, from a sageness that only age could cultivate.
If you’re a writer, you need this book if for no other reason than to assure yourself you could write a book similar to this as it’s not really that long, it’s full of easy-to-refer-to lists, and it’s a delightful, albeit bitter-sweet, reassurance that aging is something do-able. For everyone else, you’ll fall in love with Nora Ephron all over again if you’ve forgotten how much you love her writing. And it even has a recipe. And if I ever learn to cook, I will try to make it.
Of course, I need to disclose that I just adore Nora Ephron and owe much to her. I first realized I was a writer when I became Meg Ryan. Well – in my head—Meg Ryan sort of moved in after I had watched “Sleepless in Seattle” for about the hundredth time. It’s sort of like I pictured everything I did and said as if Meg was playing the role of me. I felt as if I was scripting everything as I went along living my life as if I were somehow a writer while Meg was living the life I was writing.
I realize this concept is confusing to anyone trying to read what I just wrote, but I assure you, it is no more so confusing to anyone than to me, and I’ve been living this way for quite a while – but creative lives are complicated anyway so I’ve adjusted very well to this weird sort of arrangement. Of course, it could have something to do with my incessant need to journal which is a script of one’s life—sort of—and since I became aware through writing that we all indeed seem to be actors upon a stage, Meg Ryan sort of became my default alter-ego or something.
But I think Meg must be playing the role of Nora, too, as I always hear Meg’s voice when I’m reading Ephron. Watching “Morning Joe” the other morning when Nora Ephron was on promoting I Remember Nothing, I noticed that Nora doesn’t sound like Meg, and, for some reason, I kept wondering why. I just kept feeling that something was wrong as this brunette person with possibly a few highlights but basically with the wrong hair color speaking in a voice I did not recognize, was just not Meg Ryan. I also began to wonder if Meg, the real one who could be out there watching “Morning Joe”, was thinking the same thing.
I really want to check into this with Chris, a friend of mine, well an acquaintance actually – well never mind as I’m losing my point here—but Chris is the real life Eve –as in the three faces of—and I’ve been meaning to check with her to see if I should be worried that Meg Ryan is acting out my life in my head which I feel I am writing as if in the third person, but I can’t find Chris’s number and can’t remember her address. But if anyone I know is an authority on other people living in you, it would be Chris.
But I’ve been involved in this NaNoWriMo novel writing project (National Novel Writing Month) for the past few days (it actually does run the whole month of November) and to tell you the truth, I haven’t had time to do or check into much of anything. These days up is down, and down is sideways. Writing has a tendancy to stretch (as in warp) perspective.
Except last night I took time out to read I Remember Nothing as I just plum needed a break from my life, especially my writing life, at the moment and all this fiction writing which I don’t really know anything about. And I’m a fragment writer at best so even writing at all is a stretch. In any event, I Remember Nothing will not disappoint.
Some classic lines are:
- I feel bad about Teflon
- I chose journalism. I have no idea why.
- But I don’t remember a thing about Eleanor Roosevelt herself.
- This might work better as a memoir.
- Really old is eighty
And if anyone asks me, I remember nothing about anything these days except that I Remember Nothing kept me smiling and nodding in agreement for the most part. You owe it to yourself to support one of our wittiest women writers, especially all you women writers out there. There’s so much to learn about writing and life. Ephron never fails to enlighten.
But I must disagree/agree with her conclusion that really old is eighty. Really old is anyone who’s 20 years older than you are at the moment. I decided recently that I’m sixty for the duration so Nora is correct. Eighty, for me, is really old. But if you’re say, seventy-five, then really old is ninety-five. I don’t remember all that much, but— I assure you —I remember you don’t need a lot of math to remember this formula: Age + 20 = Really Old. Cheers.
PS – A friend, Jan Marshall, is a wonderful writer and my emergency math consultant. I plan to share her insight in some of these posts one of these days. All I can say is if you ever need an emergency age adjustment, Jan is your woman. She is especially helpful to cougars who are in constant need of adjustment. Thanks Jan.