Everything is Copy

As revealed in the VERY FANTASTIC GO WATCH IT THIS SECOND new HBO documentary on Nora Ephron, Nora’s mother used to tell her that everything is copy. Meaning: everything that happens to you, no matter how devastating or terrible: it is a story that is yours to tell. And if you tell it, you control the laugh. Isn’t that brilliant? If you put yourself in front of your own angst, your own tragedy, get ahead of it, announce it in your own way — it no longer controls you. Among the 900 other fascinating things about this resplendent woman, the doc (made by her son, after her sudden death from leukemia at 71 in 2012) hits home how, after making a career out of writing movies and books and essays about her personal life, with scathing honesty — she managed to make her death private. She told no one except for immediate family that she was dying. When she could have capitalized on her own illness, her own confrontation of death, she kept it to herself — so that in a way, she could control it. Isn’t that amazing? An old friend interviewed for the movie asserts that ‘Nora was not a genius.’ But he meant it as a compliment. If she were a genius, she would not have been as human and accessible as she was. I have often worried that I’m not a genius.  Or rather, I very much know that I’m not. But thanks to Nora, I officially embrace this. If being a not genius means pulling people closer and closer towards you with the truth that you tell about how sad and wonderful and insane it is to be alive at all,  then I am all in.

Leave a Reply