Some months ago I was driving to the far away place my hairdresser moved to when she started her own shop (you know how it is—you can't break up with your hairdresser, it's far too traumatic) and for once I was grateful for the long drive because Nora Ephron was being interviewed on NPR and I wanted to listen to the whole interview. She talked about when she got started as a professional writer. With absolute honesty and humbleness she said how truly awful her first screenplays were (and these were successful, in the sense of bought and produced). How she had been incredibly lucky to have people take her by the hand and show her how to improve.
I especially remember two things she said in that interview:
- it takes about seven books (or scripts) to get good at writing them
- everybody talks about the importance of failure in learning, but if you don't have someone or something to help you figure out the problems and fix them, all you learn from failure is how to fail.
Yesterday, the Pacific Northwest Writers Association put up cuts from an interview they did with Nora Ephron not long ago. Here it is for your viewing pleasure. (It's about six minutes.)
And PNWA happened to send out another video this past week that I wanted to share with you, too. Bill Kenower, who created the PNWA author interviews, always asks the authors to complete the same sentence at the end of the interview: "If writing has taught me anything, it's taught me . . . what?" Here is a very short compilation video of answers to that question from some published authors.
Nora was a great inspiration. The answers to Bill's question often are, too. I hope you enjoy both.
I'm sad to say that I didn't know her writing. But she sounds very wise indeed. I'll definitely have to check out her work!ReplyDelete
Yes, she was fabulous at romantic comedy. You might be more familiar with YOU'VE GOT MAIL--it was in the 90s. :) That's not actually my favorite of her movies, though, because I didn't like it that the small independent bookstore owner (Meg Ryan) lost her business to the big box bookstore but it was somehow okay 'cause she got the big bookstore guy (Tom Hanks)! Nora Ephron was one of very few women who not only wrote but directed movies—a groundbreaker.Delete
This is so sad, that she has passed. But what a fabulous woman. I hadn't known about the 7 book concept, but I think it's correct. Now I have to write 7 books! And the quote about failure is profound. Thank you for the interview link. I will watch it. Thank you for sharing the link with Bill too.ReplyDelete
I am so sad that I will miss the PNWA this year. But Mr. Carter needs a happy birthday with Grandpa and Grandma. Have a wonderful time!
She was a fabulous woman, and so supportive of anyone who wanted to write.Delete
I'm missing PNWA this summer, too, unfortunately. We'll get there next time (surely they won't have it on Carter's b-day two years in a row!)
I loved her work so much. She's be sorely missed, but her stories will last forever.ReplyDelete
I think they might, Lydia. Humor is the most difficult t write well, and wow, did she know how.Delete