Adoring Nora

Nora Ephron moved from being an accomplished journalist to screenwriter to director. A new book shares her wise words

Nora Ephron was one of our beloved wise women. She moved from being an accomplished journalist to accomplished screenwriter to accomplished director. She died in 2012, but a new book brings together a collection of her interviews. Here are some of our favourite quotes from Ms Ephron, taken from Nora Ephron: The Last Interview, published by Melville House on 7 January (£9.69).

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What stops you working?

“Life. The main thing that distracts me is the pressure to go on with one’s life. That you have to stop to have lunch with someone or to take the cat to the vet… just the everyday routine is what bothers me. I have been to the supermarket maybe twice in five months. I just can’t seem to get there.”

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Are you an advocate of happy endings?

“I don’t mean to get boring here, but I have written things that don’t have happy endings. My closet is full of sad little scripts that didn’t get made that have sad endings. It’s very hard to get a movie made these days that has a sad ending. Or to get a sad movie made.”

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On successful women

“Here’s the given: it’s really hard for women. People are going to attack you in a way that feels more virulent than it does with men. And you have to know what you’re in it for, which is that you want to do your work, and you want to do as good a job as you can, and you want to do it again and again.”

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Turn your pain into a story

“I think that skill is a good, healthy thing to have. I think my parents taught me and my sisters a truly life-saving technique. “Someday this will be a story!” is a strange thing to say to a weeping child, and it’s counter-intuitive to me now that I’m a mother, but that’s what my parents would say to all of us.”

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Impatience is a virtue

[On the breakup of her second marriage] “I was able to not be too horribly victimish about the whole thing… I have friends who, four or five years after a divorce, are still complaining… or tied in crazy ways to the experience of the end of their marriage… I feel terrible for them, but I am very impatient about it. It’s like, ‘Move on, get over it, this is it.’ You know?”

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