I just finished Nora Ephron’s last book, I Feel Bad About My Neck. Unfortunately, it was truly her last book as she passed away much too soon shortly thereafter. She filled her story with clues that she knew what was coming... but made the best of it and shared the diagnosis with no one. Private self-contained grief. Or so I am sure she thought.
The truth is writers expose themselves in 120wpm, for as they type or write in long hand, no matter how hard they try, pieces of their souls fly out of their fingertips and land on their yellow pad or on their keypad.
There are no secrets, when you are a writer. Pen name. Bah! A nom de plume, names changed to protect the innocent are real people. Not imaginary fantasies. For imagination, no matter how flamboyant, always contains the skeletons, the shadowy outlines, the shapes and styles of the people we come to know are living in between the lines on the page.
A good writer writes from experience. Life experience. It is impossible to disguise the depth of personal affect. We live. We meet. We greet. We love. We respect. We hate. We adore. We watch and observe…People.
We make people memories and their stories bleed into the storytelling. A writer throws everything and everyone into a metaphorical blender, whirring and mixing, only to be pieced together into a telling tale.
Real and imagined are marriage partners.
Separated at birth, but married on the page.
Don’t kid yourself. One keystroke, and you leave your fingerprint behind. The writer’s trademark. Now you see me. Now you don’t.
Every story has an author. Every author has a story. It is a brave profession, and a generous gift to share.
The hint for me in Nora’s last writing,
is the What I Will Miss and What I Won’t Miss List at the end of the book.
If you get a chance, at least read that much.
Then perhaps you too will be moved to make your own lists.
What I Will Not Miss
Shaving my legs
Shaving ANY hairy body parts
Old awful memories of Jr. High
Hair rollers and hairspray
Caring what others think of me
One word text answers
Texting in general
Thumbs Up and Down
What I Will Miss
Face to Face Conversations
Letters in the mailbox
Live Christmas trees cut down and decorated with my children’s hand made ornaments.
Good Humor Pink Lemonade on a stick
8 ounce ice cold Cokes in big red coolers for 25 cents
Bologna slices with a red rind you rip off with your teeth, roll up like a cigar and chew all the way home from the deli
Fishing with hot dog slices for bait, at the park with my boys.
Reading Shel Silverstein tucked in bed with two footie pajama clad sleepy eyed toddlers.
Dancing in the rain.
Selling my first picture.
Writing my first blog.
Moving into my first house,
having never lived in one before.
Learning to drive at 22.
Laughing so hard I can’t catch my breath.
The loves of my life.
Breathing in a new day eyes to the sun.
All of you.
What will you miss? What will you not?
Think about it.
Write about it.
Leave your fingerprints on a page.