June 30, 2012 by Rebekah Newman
Nora Ephron once wrote that she had imaginary conversations with several chefs she hoped to meet. Whenever she cooked, she would talk to them about what spice she should add, what side dish to put with her main course, their thoughts on a particular sauce.
I, too, have an imaginary friend I speak with regularly. For about 10 years now, I have had imaginary conversations with Nora about movies I see, books I’ve read, friends and not-so-much friends, day-to-day activities, where we should eat the next time I am in New York and the list goes on. I am positive we would have been incredible friends, you know, if we had ever actually met.
I missed seeing Nora Ephron give a speech in Dallas last year. Since that time I periodically search to see where she might be speaking next, with the hope that I could be in close proximity. Hearing about her death this week makes me all the sadder to have missed her last year, but sadder still to lose the hope of actually meeting her in person in the future or of reading more of her essays or seeing another of her movies.
The following post is one I did last year after having missed her at the luncheon. Goodbye Dear Nora. I will miss you and our wonderful talks, no matter how imaginary they were to everyone else.
My Brush With Nora – Feb. 2011
I first fell in love with Nora Ephron after watching When Harry Met Sally. In the beginning, I mistakenly thought it was Meg Ryan I loved. Meg is great of course, but over time I realized we were too different to make it work. Later I decided it was Rob Reiner I adored, and while Rob will always have a special place in my heart, I now see it was Nora all along.
If you haven’t seen or read something Nora Ephron has written, you’ve probably been living in a cave for thirty years and you might want to start with learning how to google. Nora has a way of pointing out obvious and yet overlooked humor in common situations. She is what a good portion of comedic writers today and all romantic comedy writers aspire to be.
I am not a fan of celebrities. I find recognizable people to be overly beautiful and intimidatingly stylish. They are, as far as I can tell, imaginary people. If I were ever trapped in an elevator with one I would have nothing to say, which is saying something. As a rule, I try not to talk to real imaginary people. I would break that rule for a very short list of famous people and Nora Ephron is one.
As I type this, I am missing my opportunity to be trapped in an elevator with Nora Ephron. She is in Dallas today, speaking at a luncheon. I had intended to buy a ticket, but I waited too long and they sold out. At the luncheon I would have been a tiny dot sitting at a table in the back, just barely on her horizon. That didn’t diminish my dreams of running into her in the bathroom and striking up a conversation as we washed our hands. Or maybe she would feel our connection across the vast luncheon room and from her podium she would call to me. “You there,” she would say, “in the back. Yes, you. See me in the hallway after.”