Friday, July 20, 2012

What I Will (and Won't) Miss

Recently, the writer Nora Ephron died. She wrote the screenplays for movies like When Harry Met Sally and Julie and Julia. She also wrote memoirs, like I Feel Bad about My Neck. I found an old copy of the novel she wrote, Heartburn, in a used bookstore a few weeks ago, and I liked it so much that I've already read it twice. When I found out that she died, I felt sad, and a small, selfish part of me regretted that she wouldn't be writing anymore.

In her book I Remember Nothing, she made two lists: What I Will Miss and What I Won't Miss. I think she made those lists because it was a way of evaluating what was most important to her, and what didn't matter nearly as much. It made me think of what I would put on my own lists (other than the obvious things like loved ones).

What I Will Miss

   Writing fiction (and writing obsessive rants about why rude people should be made to live with Snooki or the cast of any season of The Bachelor for at least ten years)

   TV shows like 30 Rock and The Big Bang Theory that make me laugh and that make me think, Finally! Now people are finally starting to see that nerds are cool AND funny! (Is it bad to say that I'll miss TV? Am I supposed to say that I'll miss Shakespeare's plays instead? While I do enjoy watching his plays, reading his plays sometimes makes me feel like Wile E. Coyote right before the anvil drops on him. I feel like a bad English major because I still don't fully get iambic pentameter.)



    Good books that I finish reading in two or three days because they're so engrossing that I can't stop reading them.

    Walking down South Michigan Avenue, with Grant Park on one side and the Loop on the other side. When I stand there and watch all the cars, buses, cabs, and people rushing around, I think, This is my city. This is home.

 What I Won't Miss

    Writer's block (and all the writers who apparently never suffer from writer's block, because they like to brag about how they never run out of ideas and how they finish (and publish) several stories a year. They also chide philistines like me who watch TV.)

    TLC shows about gypsies who get married (and divorced a month later, apparently) at age 16 (or younger) and 34-year-old virgins who live in their parents' basements and collect jars of belly button lint (I WISH I was making that one up. But I'm not, because I just watched Virgin Diaries on TLC. Now I'm kind of afraid to turn on my TV again.)

     The guilt I feel over eating too much chocolate and the subsequent trips to the gym to work off all those calories, where I envy all the women who look like they eat nothing but grapes.

      The excuses I get from students on why they didn't finish their homework, why they keep missing class, and why they really aren't vampires (yet they sleep all day, particularly during class on the occasions when they do show up).

       Bad books that make me shudder at the mediocre writing and all the
 cliches and that make me wish I was watching TLC shows instead.

       Being stuck on the El on the day of a Cubs game with crowds of rowdy Cubs fans who are all apparently hard of hearing because they yell a lot, even if they're standing right next to each other. Those often happen to be the days when it's ninety degrees out and the A/C on the train is broken. On days like that, I think, Maybe I should move to the suburbs. 

We'll miss you Nora...and your writing. 

What about you? What kinds of things will you miss? What kinds of things will you not miss?


  1. I really liked Nora Ephron. I was sad when she died as well. And with authors we admire, we can't help but be disappointed that no new books will be released.

    I like your lists and mine would be similar. I'm a big fan of 30 Rock too.

    1. Hi Theresa,
      I particularly liked Nora Ephron's descriptions of her life as a journalist. I think it would have been fascinating to be a writer during the times that she described, particularly in the 1960s.
      I like 30 Rock because pretty much everyone on the show is totally neurotic. :)

  2. What's not to get about iambic pentameter??? It's not like quantum physics. Which I recently tried to get a working understanding of and failed miserably. I'm sure I'll figure it out eventually. And you can too!

    My list would be similar to yours probably. Only substitute NYC for Chicago.

    1. Hi mmarinaa,
      I was never very good at physics either. I wish I was, though, because then I could be friends with the guys on The Big Bang Theory. :)
      I'd probably put NYC on the list if I ever lived there.

  3. A proper send off for a spectacular writer!

    I wouldn't miss the gypsy show either. It's atrocious. Any culture that sexualizes little girls should be run off the planet. Just sayin'...

    1. Hi Emily,
      I wish that Nora Ephron had written more novels, because Heartburn was good. But I liked her other writing too.
      That gypsy show really bothers me. It especially bothers me that the men and boys on that show don't have to do any housework or childcare; they can basically do whatever they want. The women and girls are treated like servants.

    2. I know! And they're all okay with it. It's normal for the men to do nothing and the women everything. It's archaic.

    3. Hi Emily,
      The fact that they're all okay with it also bothers me. I think that the reason they leave school so early and marry so young is because doing otherwise would expose them to all the other options that are available to them. But a lot of the people on that show are so focused on keeping everyone the same that they won't let them experience anything else.

  4. What I'll miss: that perfect feeling of excitement when you start writing a new idea

    What I won't: the despair of rejection.

    I suppose I could make my lists longer but those were the first things that came to mind :)

    1. Hi Johanna,
      New ideas are definitely exciting. They give me something to look forward to.
      Rejection is hard to deal with, especially when it's something that you spent a lot of time on.

  5. Yes, everyone in 30 is an insecure mess. Glad I'm not alone!

    1. Hi Theresa,
      I think that the characters' insecurities are what make the show so funny. It's refreshing to watch a show about people like that, especially because most of the other shows are made up of people who look (and act) like soap actors.