Friday, 18 February 2011

"I'll Have What She's Having?"

Remember that line? Penned by the wonderful Nora Ephron for the screenplay of ‘When Harry Met Sally’ and spoken just after Meg Ryan (Sally) assures Billy Crystal (Harry) that women can indeed ‘fake it’. It was a fabulous scene and worthy of an Oscar for Meg Ryan. Or perhaps not? If she’s to be believed, we women are all capable of turning on such rapture on demand. Anyway, a funny scene I wish I’d written and one which I remembered, when a friend recently suggested I read some Nora Ephron. I’d wanted to read about the real, untouched by tourists New York , as I was about to take a trip there. Having managed to get a copy of her book of essays titled ‘I feel Bad About My Neck’ just before I left, I settled happily to the read at thirty thousand feet.

Suffice to say the poor man sat beside me was straining to see what title made me chuckle for most of the long journey. I LOVED it. Really, anyone who has ever struggled to think of a present for a girlfriend, buy her a copy of this book . It reminded me that when I started to write I really wanted to write a funny novel. Somehow, somewhere along the line, I seem to have lost sight of this? Possibly because since I started to write I’ve submerged myself in several ‘how to’ books and read more of everything from literary to vampirical sagas.

Nora has made me yearn for a return to humour. Nora is my new imaginary best friend. She and I regularly hoot with laughter over cocktails at the Manhattan Carlyle...

But this post is not only an homage to Nora. It’s also about said trip to New York that I’ve just taken and the effect it had on me. It was genuinely orgasmic. Seriously. No faking involved. Every moment was tasted, savoured and enjoyed. I saw the Dakota building, the Guggenheim; took a walk through central park in the snow, ate in diners; wrote a chapter of my WIP at a table in the main hall of the New York Public Library on fifth avenue and sat at the famous table in Katz’s deli where Sally did ‘her thing’ in the movie. Frankly, I was so turned on by the whole experience that I had to hold back from trying to mimic Meg Ryan. (I resisted - thought it best not to end up on uTube)

Because the NY experience was exceptional and rare, I tried to make sure to feel every nuance with every sense in my body and to take notes along the way. Right now, if I close my eyes, I’m back there... I can smell the salami on rye in Katz’s deli; I can hear the fire engine sirens outside; I can see the nut and bolt detail in the rusting structure of the Brooklyn bridge; I can feel the hairy, slightly scratchy but warm warm touch of the woollen scarf, wrapped tight against the cold and I can taste the steaming starbucks on every corner.

And I’m determined to keep it up - to ‘write with my senses’ in my head even while I’m walking or doing mundane chores. And to re-capture the humour... Because someday I’d love to sit beside a stranger laughing as she reads on the plane to New York (I'm on my way to close the deal on my new Tribeca condo...) I’d think, ‘I’ll have what she’s having’, just before I notice my name on the spine. Ah yes, the stuff dreams are made of. Speaking of which, my eyes are closed again and I’m back in the Carlyle with Nora. It’s Cosmo time and there’s laughter in the air.

11 comments:

Helen Black said...

I bloody love NY and you've captured it all so well.

In my imaginary life I live there for part of the year, perhaps spending summers in a villa in Provence.
LOL.
HB x

The Virtual Victorian said...

Wow - you're half way there if you're this inspired. Keep writing, keep imagining/remembering and you'll soon be flying high!

Susie Nott-Bower said...

Fabulous post, Fi! I've always wanted to visit New York but never managed it due to flying phobia. Your evocative writing makes me long to go there all over again...
Susiex

Caroline Green said...

OMG your description of writing in the library has almost made me pass out with longing. Is that the one where Meryl Streep asks for a book by 'Emile Dickens'?

Name that movie, someone!

I think I'm going to buy that book too.

Karen said...

Great post - it's made me want to visit NY and I hate travelling!

You might have converted me re: Norah Ephron too. I think I'm the only person who's never particuarly liked any of her films. I mean I can SEE why they're so popular without really feeling them, if that makes sense, but I might just give that book a go :o)

Caroline Green said...

Come on someone! Name that movie!

Fionnuala said...

Is it Sophie's Choice?

Debs Riccio said...

Oh Fi, I was right there with you, sharing your hairy scarf - what lovely images you paint! And funny books - there really aren't enough of them, are there? I shall now have to scootle over to Amazon and do some Ephron purchasing! Fab post and welcome back!

Caroline Green said...

The prize goes to...Fi!

Susannah Rickards said...

Beautiful post, Made me ache to go back to New York.

Fionnualalala, the funniest post ever on Strictly was that avatar J'accuse thing you did of a courtroom. You are made for comic writing.I still chuckle at the thought of it.

Fionnuala said...

Thanks Susannah ;)