Everything is copy


When I heard recently that author and film writer-director Nora Ephron had passed away, I was as sad as I have ever been about the death of a total stranger. Though I never met Ephron, I feel like I could have known her. I read her books and saw her movies and even kept up with her columns.

Her movies always made me leave the theater feeling good about being a woman in this age, and that isn’t always an easy thing to do. I could see the points she made with her movies and never understood people who put them down because they were romantic comedies. What in the world is wrong with making people laugh at themselves, each other, and the world in general?

While grieving for Ephron, I read a number of quotes attributed to her, and one of them really stuck with me. Well, actually two did. The first was “Everything is copy.” I live that phrase and so do most writers.

The funny part of this is the explanation Ephron put with it. She talked about how her screenwriting parents, Henry and Phoebe Ephron, often wrote about family situations. Among their works were the film “Captain Newman, M.D.” and the play “Take Her, She’s Mine.” Their daughter then grew up and wrote about family situations. I could relate.

Though Ephron wrote about her most heartbreaking difficulties, I find it easier to write about the funny things that go on in families. Occasionally, I will write about the frustrating things because they usually turn out to be funny after enough time has passed.

However, I don’t believe a sentiment attributed to Ephron’s parents about everything in life eventually becoming funny enough to write about. Maybe I just haven’t gotten far enough away from the things that I won’t write about. Maybe life has just gotten more serious since Ephron’s parents were writing “Desk Set” for Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn, or other great movies. Or maybe I have lived a darker life.

Whatever the case, I do think people who find themselves in the families of people who end up as writers do risk seeing themselves, or some reasonable facsimile thereof, in print. Sometimes that is a good thing, and sometimes it is not. Either way, it should really make everyone with siblings stop and wonder. Is what they are doing to their younger or older sibling right now going to end up in a book, newspaper column or movie?

Happy birthday Monday to Stefanie Walker of Bonham; Linda Howard, Melvin Plumlee, Becky Harris and Bobbie Marine, all of Sherman; Kathy Saltzman of Savoy; Mary Scarbrough of Sandusky.

Happy anniversary Monday to Frank and Joy Terrell of Sherman, 49 years.