Nora Ephron’s death made me unexpectedly sad. Not because I expected to feel some other way when she died – it wasn’t something I thought about. Though I had some inkling she was ill, I didn’t know how ill and honestly I felt ambivalent about her work. For the most part I associate her with rom-coms – the girly, ingratiating kind that I’m not particularly fond of. But upon reading several obits, I reconsidered. Nora Ephron was much more than a “women’s author”; she was capable of complex, deeply personal work that presented a female point of view on film and on the page without apology. She was among a select group of women who could write, direct, or produce a film with A-list actors that was backed by a major studio. In that respect Nora Ephron was a household name; she not only paved the way for an entire generation of female humorists, she also ushered in the trend of chatty, observational comedy that popularized Seinfeld and Will & Grace, which in turn yielded huge influence over American popular culture.

But in the scope of my own life, her most important contribution was When Harry Met Sally…, a movie I fell in love with so hard as a teenager that I wanted to be in it. I watched it over and over with my best friend, we quoted it endlessly in every context, and on any given day I could identify with Harry or Sally or Jess or even Mr. Zero. The characters’ experience served as a backdrop to understanding relationships, and the plot was my blueprint for what I thought being an adult would be like. I wanted to have a funny, cute, close male friend like Harry who appreciated my quirks and shared my vocabulary, and who maaaaaybe would develop into something more as the years rolled by. I wanted to have a long-term marriage – or at least a successful living-in-sin arrangement – with a guy like the ones in the couples interviews peppered throughout WHMS, who finished my sentences and thought I was just as beautiful 50 years in as the day we met. And despite the “Can men and women really be friends?” debate that provides a key plot thread, it was one of the first films I ever saw that presented male-female relationships as an even playing field, one in which men could be needy and emotional and women could be witty and independent.

So in spite of my eye-rolling dismissal of most of the “women’s entertainment” that emerged from Nora’s influence, for me her legacy will always include some of the most treasured moments I ever spent in a cinema – moments in which I inevitably wished that life would imitate art.

Is Auto-reply Rage a Thing?

I apologize for this smug automatic reply to your email.

To control spam, I’ve taken the misguided step of only allowing incoming messages from senders I have approved beforehand.

If you would like to be added to my list of approved senders, please fill out the short request form (which I haven’t bothered to hyperlink – keep scrolling! The link is below that animated gif in my email signature). Once I deign to approve you, I will receive your original message in my inbox, along with the average of two other emails I receive per day – I know, right?? You’re wondering how I keep up with it all!

I apologize for this one-time inconvenience. (Well ok I’m not really sorry but I promise this process is much more convenient than simply deleting spam from my inbox. For me anyway.) And no, I haven’t given a thought to all the important messages I might miss because I’m too lazy to figure out how to use spam filters. Alienating my friends and holding them responsible for my failings just seems easier, you know? Thanks for understanding.

Click the link below to fill out the request: