I met Nora (Ephron) through Lena (Dunham). Somewhere in Lena’s book “Not That Kind of Girl” she mentioned about loving her and was looking up to her. I’m just too lazy now to look up the words for the purpose of quoting the exact line/s in respect to Nora. Lena impressed me in the first couple of chapters of her book so the name Nora Ephron registered in my head and I decided to search her up and check out her works when I get the time. Damn, I hate admitting that I came to "know" Lena first than Nora.
That same day when I read Nora’s name I happened to visit a bookstore looking for anything interesting. And, indeed, it was one of those days when you’re longing for interesting and life offers you interesting right in front of you. Not just one, but two. Yep, two beautiful copies of Nora Ephron’s.
When I got in the hotel (I was then in an out-of-town work), I check the books and decided which one to read first. I decided to have the “I Feel Bad About My Neck” first. I started it and after a few paragraphs I was having the feeling that I wouldn’t leave it until it’s finished. I convinced myself to wait until I’m back in Manila from a head breaking training and things are back to normal so I could enjoy the book more. As soon as I arrived Manila, I started “I Feel Bad About My Neck.” I decided to shelf Lena’s book and just get back to it when I’m done with the two. It was good that Lena mentioned Nora on the first few chapters where I was still beginning to get a bit irritated by her tendency of having me-myself-and-I syndrome. If not, I wouldn’t have remembered Nora and bought these books, which easily now become on top of my list of favorites.
I should say that I Feel Bad About My Neck is a MUST read by every twenty-six year old woman. I chose the age randomly. But the younger in the twenties, the better. The earlier you figure out some things you’ve been trying to figure out all your younger days, the better. It’s full of candid bits of wonders. I hate to use “wisdom.” It sounds so serious and dull. Despite Nora talking mostly about her experience in the 50s-90s, it never sounded “old.” And it’s funny and smart. She talked about events in her life that are more interesting than some fiction I’ve read.
“I loathed being sixty-four, and I will hate being sixty-five. I don’t let on about such things in person; in person, I am cheerful and Pollyannaish. But the honest truth is that it’s sad to be over sixty. The long shadows are everywhere—friends dying and battling illness. A miasma of melancholy hangs there, forcing you to deal with the fact that your life, however happy and successful, has been full of disappointments and mistakes, little ones and big ones. There are dreams that are never quite going to come true, ambitions that will never quite be realized. There are, in short, regrets. Edith Piaf was famous for singing a song called “Non, je ne regrette rien.” It’s a good song. I know what she meant. I can get into it; I can make a case that I regret nothing. After all, most of my mistakes turned out to be things I survived, or turned into funny stories, or, on occasion, even made money from.”
“When I pass a bookshelf, I like to pick out a book from it and thumb through it. When I see a newspaper on the couch, I like to sit down with it.... Reading is one of the main things I do. Reading is everything. Reading makes me feel I've accomplished something, learned something, become a better person. Reading makes me smarter. Reading gives me something to talk about later on. Reading is the unbelievably healthy way my attention deficit disorder medicates itself. Reading is escape, and the opposite of escape; it's a way to make contact with reality after a day of making things up, and it's a way of making contact with someone else's imagination after a day that's all too real. Reading is grist. Reading is bliss.”
“I live in my neighborhood. My neighborhood consists of the dry cleaner, the subway stop, the pharmacist, the supermarket, the cash machine, the deli, the beauty salon, the nail place, the newsstand, and the place where I go for lunch. All this is within two blocks of my house. Which is another thing I love about life in New York: Everything is right there. If you forgot to buy parsley, it takes only a couple of minutes to run out and get it. This is good, because I often forget to buy parsley.”
While I so wanted to read the book again – I don’t want it to end, I read her other book, “I Remember Nothing.” It’s a follow-up to “I Feel Bad About My Neck.” It’s as funny and smart. And I feel like I should bring them with me all the time so I can reread them whenever I want to. She’s got wonderful stories and insights about love, life, and death. You got to grab a copy of these two.
“In these days of physical fitness, hair dye, and plastic surgery, you can live much of your life without feeling or even looking old. But then one day, your knee goes, or your shoulder, or your back, or your hip. Your hot flashes come to an end; things droop. Spots appear. Your cleavage looks like a peach pit. If your elbows faced forward, you would kill yourself. You’re two inches shorter than you used to be. You’re ten pounds fatter and you cannot lose a pound of it to save your soul. Your hands don’t work as well as they once did and you can’t open bottles, jars, wrappers, and especially those gadgets that are encased tightly in what seems to be molded Mylar. If you were stranded on a desert island and your food were sealed in plastic packaging, you would starve to death. You take so many pills in the morning you don’t have room for breakfast.”
“You lose close friends and discover one of the worst truths of old age: they’re irreplaceable. People who run four miles a day and eat only nuts and berries drop dead. People who drink a quart of whiskey and smoke two packs of cigarettes a day drop dead. You are suddenly in a lottery, the ultimate game of chance, and someday your luck will run out. Everybody dies. There’s nothing you can do about it. Whether or not you eat six almonds a day. Whether or not you believe in God.”
"You do get to a certain point in life where you have to realistically, I think, understand that the days are getting shorter, and you can't put things off thinking you'll get to them someday," she says. "If you really want to do them, you better do them. There are simply too many people getting sick, and sooner or later you will. So I'm very much a believer in knowing what it is that you love doing so you can do a great deal of it."