I am planning my trip to the US next week for my book on how not to age. Part of my aim is to interview interesting women of a certain age and discover their anti-ageing secrets. One of these women is the writer Nora Ephron (see below blog things everybody should know).
I have been a fan of Nora’s since I read her novel Heartburn almost twenty years ago. Then of course I saw When Harry met Sally which made me revere her even more and when Sleepless in Seattle came out (one of my all-time top ten films, yes, I know, I’m deeply superficial) she was elevated to goddess status in my mind.
So imagine how gutted I was to hear from her agent that she will be in London when I’m in New York. I briefly thought about re-arranging my whole trip but realised that would be impossible, not least because my ticket is non-flexible and having not yet written anything as good as Sleepless in Seattle I can’t afford another one.
“How about a telephone interview?” I asked. He said he would get back to me. I was thrilled and couldn’t wait to tell Nora that when I met Margaret Jay I hated her on sight, and that was before I even knew she’d run off with Nora’s husband Carl Bernstein.
Today, three weeks later, I finally hear back. It’s a no. “She doesn’t have anything to contribute,” writes the agent. “It all ended up in her book I feel bad about my Neck.”
Well that’s just rubbish. There is really one chapter of the book that is about ageing and you’re not telling me that one of the most prolific female American female writers of our times has “nothing to contribute”. This is a woman who never stops contributing.
Maybe she is just too famous now, but I would hope, well first I hope I become as famous and successful as she is, but then if I do become famous and successful I hope that if a life-long fan of mine who is younger and less successful than I am tries to spend ten minutes on the phone with me I would agree to do it. I mean she could multi-task, paint her nails at the same time and I would pay for the call. She could even get one of her servants to take the call, how the hell would I know? I just don’t see what she has to lose. Maybe she gets inundated with requests every day. Although I can’t think from whom, it’s not as if she’s Sharon Stone (another one who turned me down by the way, but I was less surprised by that).
Iris Murdoch replied to every letter she ever got from a reader. I do too, even the truly offensive ones. It really doesn’t take much, and who are you writing for, if not the people that read you?
So my book will have to do without Nora Ephron. I guess I’ll get over it. And as her mother used to tell her; “Everything is copy.”
By the way, my husband has been complaining that my blog only has pictures of sexy men on it. He says it’s like a middle-aged woman’s fantasy blog. So here is a picture of Sharon just for him. And any middle-aged lesbians who might be reading. As for the rest of you, normal service resumes tomorrow.
Copyright: Helena Frith Powell 2007