Thursday, June 28, 2012

Nora's Lists

Nora Ephron, 1941-2012
Two days ago the world lost Nora Ephron due to complications from the leukemia she had been battling for several years. I didn't know a great deal about her other than I enjoyed many of the movies she had written and/or directed over the years, but in scanning the myriad tributes to her over the past two days I have come to realize that she was looked up to and admired by women - and men who name themselves as feminists - the world over. I never gave much thought to the strong female leads of her movies, nor to the fact that she was a rare animal, a "woman director" in Hollywood; in my defence, it simply didn't seem "out of the ordinary" to me, not because I have my head in the sand but because when the social order starts to feel "right" to me I have a tendency to be soothed and not shocked by it. These tributes, appearing on such diverse online sites as The Huffington Post, The New York Times and The Christian Science Monitor (Ms. Ephron was Jewish), are remarkable to read now, as fascinating and insightful as the incredible volume of tweets sent out over the same period of time lamenting her loss. She seems to have been a rather quiet hero, neither shrill nor obvious, just a woman who believed that women had been shortchanged forever and set out to subtly change the way of the world.

Far more clever and eloquent writers than I am have discussed the loss of Nora Ephron at great lengths and I am not going to try to put my two cents' worth in other than to urge you to seek out and read the best of the bunch. However, one of the sites I came across while I was doing exactly that - seeking out tributes to Nora Ephron - was Lists of Note, which is a sort of "sister site" of Letters of Note (which, in turn, is a site I link to in the right-hand column of this blog). Appearing on that Lists of Note site on Wednesday was a terrific post entitled "What I Won't And Will Miss", two lists that Nora Ephron put together and used to close her 2010 book, "I Remember Nothing". These lists (of things Ms. Ephron would and would not miss when she was dead) fascinated me and I have spent the past 24 hours or so pondering what I would include on similar lists of my own. Now, unlike Nora Ephron when she compiled these thoughts, I am not staring down my imminent mortality; nevertheless, I've decided to post my own lists, which are not nearly as elegant as hers, here on this blog and I fervently hope that you will use the comment area to provide lists, snippets of lists or just one or two things that you will miss, or not so much, when you have shuffled off this mortal coil. I would be very interested indeed to read those comments and I hope this becomes my most-interactive blog post yet. But even if I am shouting into the wilderness, here are my two lists.

What I Won't Miss

This covers more than one item on my list
Racism, homophobia, misogyny, or any other of the myriad ways human beings can find to hate and oppress one another
Reality TV
Willful ignorance
Organized Religion
Big Business
Don Cherry
In fact, all bad music

Just this picture alone gives me stress
String beans
Smoking (all around me; I've never smoked)
Internet trolls
Bad pet owners (not owners of bad pets)
Good people dying young
Ordinary people dying young
Credit card companies

A Surf Scoter covered in oil
credit: Brocken Inaglory

Environmental destruction
Child abuse
Spousal abuse
Elder abuse
Umpires and referees
Uncomfortable silences

What I Will Miss

A three-for-one deal
Tim, Jill, Sarah, Addie and all of my loved ones, friends and family alike
Skating on an outdoor rink under a full moon
Full moons
The moon in any phase
The smell and sound of the ocean
Root beer
Root beer floats
Ice cream
Debussy's Claire de Lune
The Laurentians
The north shore of Lake Superior
The Canadian Shield
Road trips

Rocky the sock monkey
Cryptic crosswords
Anti-gravity chairs
Sock monkeys
Breaking Bad
The Rudolph special every Christmas
Every Christmas
Babies and baby animals
Short-track speedskating
Saying the word "cookies"

Calvin & Hobbes desktop wallpaper

Baseball in the spring
Burying my face in the soft belly of a favourite pet
The changing of the seasons
The smell of coffee brewing on a Sunday morning
Billie Holiday
The National Film Board of Canada
The smell of freshly-cut grass
Calvin and Hobbes
Logic and reason
Comfortable Silences

I also agreed with virtually everything Nora Ephron put on her two lists; again, please take a look at them if you haven't already.

And now it's your turn. What would you miss? What would you rather be free of? I don't care if your lists are the complete opposites of my lists: bring them on!


  1. Wouldn't Miss:
    -crowded subways
    -itches you can't reach
    -the horrible feeling that you've forgotten something when going away on a trip

    Would Miss:
    -creme caramel
    -walking barefoot on grass
    -the satisfaction of solving a difficult problem
    -the people I love


I've kept my comments open and moderation-free for many years, but I've been forced to now review them before they post due to the actions of one member of my family. I apologize for having to take this stance, but that's the way the world is headed, sad to say. Thank you for your understanding.

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