THE BLOG

Nora's Influence On My Heart and My Writing About Divorce

06/20/2013 11:27 am ET | Updated Aug 20, 2013

I miss my friend, Nora Ephron. While I never met her, I knew her and she knew me. Her words are at play within me. Her writing always got to the heart of the matter, what mattered to me, and clearly, to a lot of us. Nora gave us a place where all of our hearts could meet.

Nora's writing through scenes in a movie would take me by surprise by revealing things to me that were inside my heart. She made me want to be a better person, as corny as that sounds, it's true, and to somehow let that be reflected in my writing.

I knew she knew pain and that she hurt in the don't-you-get it kind of way, that I totally got. She has influenced my writing about divorce because she reminds me not to be bitter even though I get it. Although with that, too, she does it in the don't you see kind of way. As only a good friend with a great heart would say to you, You want to be the heroine, right? Not the victim. Then I imagine she'd tell me, If you are bitter, they won't get it. They will see bitterness and bitterness is not an elevated place.

Humor is gentle on our hearts. Nora was a pro at this. She raised us up on a magic carpet for our souls to journey through tears and laughter. Nora elevated our perspective by lifting up our broken hearts to a place where we could be heroes. She did it with When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless In Seattle, Heartburn, and I Hate My Neck.

Nora was always so real. That's why we trusted her. Our tears and our laughter and our suspension into the place Nora took us was always precisely to the heart of the matter. That's why she matters so much to us.

She not only influenced me by being the kind of writer I admire, she also gave me a place to write by creating this Divorce Blog. It was sheer timing, as they say. When I was in the heart torn zone of my divorce, I was invited to hear Arianna Huffington speak at Harvard's Kennedy School. Someone in the audience asked Arianna (who was on a book tour) what her next big thing was. She said, "Well, don't tell anyone but Nora Ephron and I spent a weekend together and decided that we needed to do a Divorce Blog." So my long story short is that I launched with the Divorce Blog.

Nora was right when she said, "Marriages come and go, but Divorce is forever." 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 has 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 up her beautiful soul to us through her writing and showing us a better way, not only to get through divorce, but to get through life.

My heart to yours,

Sally Fay