Listicles: In Honor of Nora, Who Told Us to Embrace the Mess

I’m one of those people who likes Nora Ephron’s writing more than her movies.  Her prose looks effortless, which is, of course, the hardest thing in the world to achieve, especially if you’re going to make people laugh. It’s way easier to make people cry than it is to make them laugh.

The only tiny upside to Nora’s dying a few weeks ago is that her writing was everywhere, including her lists of what she will and won’t miss when she dies.  It seemed like a no-brainer to suggest to Stasha that we use Nora’s lists as inspiration for our own lists, and in so doing, tip our hats to Nora. She didn’t like technology (and so probably never read a blog), but a blogger could do a lot worse than to use Nora as her writerly inspiration.

I wouldn’t miss:


Fox News

February in New York

Clarence Thomas. Also Scalia. Healthcare notwithstanding, not so keen on Roberts, either


Reality televison


Pro-lifers, ditto creationists

Perfume that stays in the elevator for hours after its wearer has gone

Plastic surgery and the cult of youth

Jerry Bruckheimer movies

I would miss:

My boychicks





The West Village in the early morning

The wumph of heat that hits you when you walk outside on an Abu Dhabi summer day

Dinner with old friends, new friends, Husband. Pretty much eating in any restaurant without my children.


Jon Stewart and Rachel Maddow

Books (digital and analog, but mostly analog: the heft of the pages, the object-ness of it)

Mother, brother, sister, cousins, aunts, uncles: what a comfort, to have this extended family. It reminds me always of the net suspended beneath trapeze artists: it’s there to catch you when you fall.

Beautiful shoes

Hearing the call to prayer waft over the city,  reminding me that I live outside my regular life

Things made with butter

Live opera. Also, live Springsteen

Brandi Carlile, Delta Spirit, Habib Koite, Paul Simon’s “Graceland” — the current faves now in rotation

Singing along to loud music (see above) while driving (alone)

The sound of my kids scrabbling through a box of Legos, because when the Legos go silent, their childhood is over

Murray Perahia playing Scarlatti, Handel, Bach

The ocean. Thus also, the beach.




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5 Responses to Listicles: In Honor of Nora, Who Told Us to Embrace the Mess

  1. Stasha July 12, 2012 at 12:28 pm #

    I just knew your lists would make me happy. Beautifully written. Also I played with Legos yesterday-I am still a kid after all 🙂

  2. Arnebya July 12, 2012 at 5:28 pm #

    This made me smile. I would not miss nearly everything on your wouldn’t miss list (except calamari). I will add that I wouldn’t miss winter anywhere or people who pop their gum or mosquitoes or bill collectors who act like your payment/nonpayment is affecting them personally or gas prices or braces or working or death of friends and family or infant death or my period. I would definitely miss my family and avocado and Brussels sprouts and sour cream and butter and summer and naps and popcorn and sex and grapes and trees and laughing and liquor.

  3. Dick Horwich July 13, 2012 at 12:26 am #

    I would really miss calamari.

  4. Alexandra July 13, 2012 at 1:10 am #

    When I think of this, I only see 2 words in my head over and over:

    My children.

    My children my children my children.


  5. anna July 16, 2012 at 9:23 pm #

    aw, i can’t write the snarky comment i had planned with alexandra’s beautiful one just sitting there above me.

    i will put checking out the west village in the early a.m. on my things to do list. i can just hear the silent bustle.

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