I read Nora Ephron while I lay on my pink velvet couch at 11:45am, desperate for a break from the glare of my computer screen. She wrote of the feminist movement in the 1970s, dropping Gloria Steinem's name like they were neighbors or friends who occasionally saw one another at brunch on the Upper East Side. The words and, more specifically, the way Ephron strings them together with such exquisite yet seemingly carefree mastery of cadence and tone, feels mesmerizing. Was it Nathaniel Hawthorne who said “easy reading is damn good writing”?
Another woman whose writing style I admire is the author of one of my favorite books ever (which is saying a lot) Chasing Slow, Erin Loechner. Her words are straightforward but also melodic in a way that I wish came more naturally to me. What she writes, like the beloved Nora, tucks meaning away for future generations to explore and unpack and feel deep in their bones. It’s timeless writing, is what I really mean to say. Future classic.
In any event, the reason I’m fangirling over these two writers is that I read both of them today. Just one essay from each. One in a slightly yellowed copy of Crazy Salad some things about women & Scribble Scribble notes on the media I borrowed from the library; the other delivered via email and read while I was waiting for the microwave to beep.
And I just really love great writers, and the stories they share. Reading great writers makes me want to be a great writer. We know it’s smart to keep the company only of people we’d want to be like; perhaps writers ought to keep the company only of writers who inspire them to new mastery.
Then again, would we even know good writing without knowing the bad?
A few words I adore from Emma Brocks for The Guardian: “You write, in part – in the main, probably – for the people you admire and they take on a much greater role in your life than their actual presence might justify. They are the voice in your head, the reader over your shoulder, the people you are trying to impress and live up to. In any given life you don't get many like Nora.”