“Smarts plus heart = Nora.”
Sad to think that the creator of “Sleepless in Seattle” and “You’ve Got Mail,” is no longer with us. When I think of seeing those movies, I think of two qualities that they expressed: wit and warmth. Yes, the characters in the two films longed for love, but they also longed to be themselves: to grow and change. There was something about Nora Ephron’s films that was refreshing alive and upbeat.
Sure, her characters faced hard knocks; they were flawed and foolish. But they were also resilient and hopeful about life and its possibilities. In a word, they had heart. I think that’s the biggest gift that Nora Ephron brought to her writing and directing: heart. It’s that indefinable, elusive quality that makes us forgive a character’s failures and root for him or her, despite the fact that they are far from perfect.
When a writer brings heart to the page or the stage, we are right there with them. Because of heart, we see ourselves in the characters they create. Because of heart, we’re willing to go on a journey with them to someplace new and even dangerously beyond of our comfort zone. Because of heart, we are somehow changed and enriched by our encounter with the stories they tell.
Heart: What greater gift can we bring to our work as writers? Heart is what gives us the courage to write dangerously — and the wisdom to share the best that we have to give. Nora may have stopped pecking at her keys, but her words live on — and so does the wit, warmth, and heart she brought to her work.