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Lea Lane Headshot

Wanting to Be Nora

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Nora Ephron was just a bit older than I am, and perhaps that's why I followed her brilliant career and her interesting life so assiduously. Early on, when we were both in our 30s, I convinced myself that we had other things besides age in common: we were both non-observant Jews, we both lived in New York. We could both turn a witty phrase. And we were both freelance writers.

The slight difference was that she was a highly successful writer. I tracked her because of that and because she seemed to be successful at whatever else she put her mind to, whether essays, sceenwriting, directing, or playwriting. She seemed fearless.

She was also sophisticated, smart and fun. She stretched her abilities and tried new things and seemed open and honest and able to bounce back after setbacks. Like many aspiring writers of a certain age, I wanted to be Nora Ephron.

I met her once when she was in her early essay-writing phase, turning out brilliant pieces that were precursors of the blogs we have today. She was a regular writer for Esquire and New York and I saw her speak on a panel in New York on how to pitch magazine pieces to an editor. She was attractive and snappy but not so much so that women couldn't feel alright hanging out a bit with her after the panel, talking about writing.

She had by then written the collection Crazy Salad, and a humorous piece called "A Few Words About Breasts." This was in the pre-boob-job era when women were resigned to whatever they had, except for padded bras. Her piece resonated big time in a pre-viral world. We all talked about it.

Her essays wryly traced the arc of her life through relationships, work and aging, including the 2006 collection, I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman.

She went on to make movies and become famous and appear on shows with Charlie Rose and hang around with Tom Hanks and win major awards. And late in her career she became a featured blogger for HuffPost.

Something I always felt proud of is the time my post was featured on the home page, right under hers. And on that home page, for that brief time, I came closer to Nora Ephron, and had more in common with her, than I ever thought I would.

Many thanks for inspiring so many of us to reach high Nora, and for delighting us in so many ways with your insights, humor and talent. You will be remembered.