The Schmooze

Nora Ephron on Love, Life and Writing

Nora Ephron would have turned 75 today—and we’re celebrating all of the hilarity, wisdom and romance she’s brought into our lives with a few of her greatest quotes.

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On writing

“I try to write parts for women that are as complicated and interesting as women actually are.”

“A lot of college graduates approach me about becoming screenwriters. I tell them, ‘Do not become a screenwriter, become a journalist,’ because journalists go into worlds that are not their own. Kids who go to Hollywood write coming-of-age stories for their first scripts, about what happened to them when they were sixteen. Then they write the summer camp script. At the age of twenty-three they haven’t produced anything, and that’s the end of the career.”

“I don’t care who you are. When you sit down to write the first page of your screenplay, in your head, you’re also writing your Oscar acceptance speech.”

On body image

“Oh, how I regret not having worn a bikini for the entire year I was twenty-six. If anyone young is reading this, go, right this minute, put on a bikini, and don’t take it off until you’re thirty-four.” (I Feel Bad About My Neck)

“We all look good for our age. Except for our necks.” (I Feel Bad About My Neck)

On love

“The desire to get married is a basic and primal instinct in women. It’s followed by another basic and primal instinct: the desire to be single again.”

“Sometimes I believe that some people are better at love than others, and sometimes I believe that everyone is faking it.”

“I highly recommend having Meryl Streep play you. If your husband is cheating on you with a carhop, get Meryl to play you. You will feel much better.” (AFI tribute to Meryl Streep)

On being a woman

“Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.” (Wellesley College commencement speech)

“Whatever you choose, however many roads you travel, I hope that you choose not to be a lady. I hope you will find some way to break the rules and make a little trouble out there. And I also hope that you will choose to make some of that trouble on behalf of women.” (Wellesley College commencement speech)

On life and death

“Everybody dies. There’s nothing you can do about it. Whether you eat six almonds a day. Whether or not you believe in God.” (I Remember Nothing: And Other Reflections)

“You should eat delicious things while you can still eat them, go to wonderful places while you still can … and not have evenings where you say to yourself, ‘What am I doing here? Why am I here? I am bored witless!’” (2010 Reuters interview)

“My mother wanted us to understand that the tragedies of your life one day have to potential to be the comic stories the next.”

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Nora Ephron on Love, Life and Writing

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