When someone asks what I am working on
I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says “Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.”Lewis Carroll in Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There
Song: “Seasons Song” by KaiserCartel
“We had put almost all of our possessions in storage, which was a metaphor for being twenty, as were so many things.”
― Lorrie Moore, A Gate at the Stairs
E. L. Konigsburg, author of beloved children’s titles The View from Saturday, A Proud Taste for Scarlet and Miniver, and, most famously, From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, has died, at eighty-three.
For more of this morning’s roundup, click here.
Quote from From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.
A O. Scott and David Carr delve into reading, the tried-and-true way and the technologically savvy way.
First of all, I must say that it is nothing short of a miracle that Norah Ephron chose to have children with Carl Bernstein before they divorced (watch Heartburn for more information.) I say this because the recent (although yet-to-be-published… but more on that later) and much talked about New York Times piece from her son is the first of his that I’ve read, but my does he have has her gift for words. The piece reads like a story, a long elegy, although it is not overly mournful.
I think the key to my enjoyment of Norah’s writing was that I always felt like I was learning something new… about a new subject, or about people. Whatever it was, she always made it come across in the most matter of fact way. For example, one of my favorite lines from a movie, ever, (I enjoy it so much that I repeat it every time I pass a flower shop or bodega, is, “Don’t you just think daisies are the friendliest flower?” The miracle of that scene in You’ve Got Mail is that Joe Fox brings Kathleen Kelly the flowers not even knowing that their her favorite. Well, maybe sensing that they are, but the point is, she loves them so much and still did not see that they were soul mates! Kathleen! I had to tell my ex-boyfriend about a thousand times that daisies were my favorite (not gerber, the weedy kind please) before he brought them to me one time. The second time I got them from him, they were dead. We broke up a week later (unrelated, but still!) And yes, daisies are my favorite because of that line and because of Kathleen Kelly and because of The Shop Around the Corner and well, because Norah Ephron told me, in the most straight foward way, that they ought to be. She knew women better than they know themselves and thus taught us to be who we are.
So in Jacob’s piece, when he writes that Norah’s idea of a perfect day was frozen custard in Central Park? Well isn’t that everyone’s perfect day? I mean, to whom does that not sound lovely? This is the beauty of Norah— simple truths. I subscribe to the gospel of Norah the way the men in You’ve Got Mail get their answers from The Godfather. And you know Ben has her gift because he shares this detail about her “low” idea of a perfect day in the piece. This kind of minute observation about her life and herself were what made people love Norah and her writing.
Jacob writes that on her death bed, she had one of the only uncertain moments in her entire life. Norah’s confidence and certainty and the way she infused them into her writing and her characters are absolutely legendary. I’m putting off reading her last two books… I don’t want there to be nothing left of hers for me to take in and learn from. And I haven’t been able to get tickets to see her play. But I’m sure there will be a revival… if I weren’t sure then I wouldn’t be heeding her advice. And I’ll certainly be watching out for what Ben has to say next.
And about how the piece has not yet been published… it’s online (link below.) But it’s from the Time’s Sunday Magazine. And Jacob spoke to Matt Lauer about it on this morning’s show (Thursday). But it won’t be in print until the weekend… probably in the paper that gets delivered on Saturday. A world without Norah makes no sense.