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Nora Ephron: What The Beloved Writer Taught Us About Divorce

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Nora Ephron applied her trademark wit to everything in life, from the women's movement of the seventies, to the soul-strengthening power of mashed potatoes.

But here at HuffPost Divorce, we're most fond of Ephron's writings on heartbreak and healing after a split.

Divorce was a subject Ephron knew all too well: In 1983, after marrying and subsequently divorcing journalist Carl Bernstein, Ephron wrote Heartburn, a bitingly funny novel that changed our perspective on what it meant to be divorced.

“I think that men were allowed to write about their marriages falling apart, but you weren't quite supposed to if you were a woman,” Ephron told the Academy of Achievement in 2007 about her experience writing the book. “You were just supposed to curl up into a ball and move to Connecticut."

But Ephron refused to admit defeat after her split. In the years that followed, she wrote novels, essays, and beloved screenplays, directed films, happily remarried -- and even launched The Huffington Post's Divorce section. As editor-at-large of HuffPost Divorce, Ephron paved the way for countless other divorcés to blog and share their particular experiences moving on and starting over after divorce.

In tribute to Ephron, who died at 71 a year ago today, we asked a few of those bloggers to share with us how the late writer's work on divorce inspired them during their darkest days. Read their responses below, then tell us what Ephron taught you about heartbreak -- and anything else -- in the comments.

How Nora Ephron inspired me after divorce:

"Going through a divorce is like having the worst flu, ever. The kind where it hurts to move your eyeballs. Reading Nora Ephron's Heartburn was my divorce flu remedy. Knowing that someone like her had gone through the same thing I was going through, and went on to become happy and successful and free gave me inspiration and hope and that little nudge I needed to get over it. When Nora died, the world lost a beautiful, funny and wise soul...but she left us with gifts that will endure for years to come." - Jennifer Ball, blogger at The Happy Hausfrau

At age 22, I read Heartburn, and I’ve never quite been the same since. Since then, I’ve believed that literature can bloom out of the stuff of a woman’s life -- the love gone awry, the vinaigrettes, the key lime pies, the way you’re treated when you’re with a toddler on a flight stuffed with business types. Since then I’ve believed that the writers who matter to us the most are the ones willing to say the truth, no matter what the personal cost. Today marks the anniversary of our loss of Nora Ephron, yet I can’t help but see her influence alive in the work of Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Lena Dunham, and Mindy Kaling -- women in full possession of a sense of humor and an ability to bring our lives to the page and the screen, women who use their talent to make the world a better place for women. Wherever I see powerful, funny women telling like it is, I nod and say Nora was here. - Theo Pauline Nestor, author of "How to Sleep Alone in a King-Size Bed: A Memoir of Starting Over"

Nora Ephron defined a whole era of her own zeitgeist with her romantic story lines, her optimistic hope for lasting love and her gut-wrenchingly funny take on divorce, even with all its ugly scars. She was an original and her work was sui generis. She had the uncanny ability to draw from the present moment in society and find ways to make her stories funny, filled with love and always giving her fans hope. Hope is how I will always remember Nora. Hope for new beginnings, hope for life after divorce and hope for lasting love. I miss Nora bushels and pecks... - Agi Smith, advice columnist

Any woman who has ever been blindsided by betrayal and been left in a puddle of tears by an ungrateful cheating husband can thank Nora Ephron for giving them not only hope, but proof that “wife goes on.” While Nora’s adorable charm, wit, pantsuits and pecan pie dazzled legions of friends and fans, [her divorce] opened the door for her to fall in love with husband Nick Pileggi. To our applause and relief, he showered her with appreciation and respect and gave her the decades-long love story she deserved and wanted. Nora's legacy? She showed all divorced people that you can love again as long as you retain your smarts, humor and, of course, even the scorecard. - Jill Brooke, author of the forthcoming "The Need to Say No: How to be Bullish Not Bullied"

“Marriages come and go, but divorce is forever," Nora wrote. The pain and anxiety of divorce is ongoing and there is always some situation where somebody doesn’t get it. Nora would know exactly what I mean. When I find myself wanting to write about one of those real life situations with a little too much bitterness and sarcasm, I imagine that Nora would guide me to write from the better place within me so that the situation doesn't get the better of me. If I can bring humor and heart to my work, as Nora did over and over again, it is better for everyone, especially me. Nora said, “Be the heroine of your life, not the victim," and she was right about that, too. I am eternally grateful to Nora for opening her beautiful soul up to us through her writing and showing us a better way, not only to get through divorce, but to get through life. - Sally Fay, writer and a filmmaker

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