Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Wednesday Words: The Passing of Giants

The world of writers has grown a bit smaller in the past few weeks, and some true giants of their professions have left behind legacies that will be long remembered and very large shoes to fill (if it's even possible).

June 5th brought the death of Ray Bradbury, a master of science fiction and a writer of what I consider to be the beginnings of today's current "dystopian" trend. I remember buying my copy of Fahrenheit 451 on a hot summer's day in Verona, Italy from the only English-selling bookstore that my friends and I knew of. I picked it because I felt that the title was an accurate reflection of the temperature during my stay, but the story captured me in ways that hit close to home. The imagining of a society in which the printed word is considered dangerous therefore it no longer exits and an obsession with constant entertainment and technology has taken over is hardly fiction anymore - this blog only serves as evidence of that. Bradbury's book on banning books is one that has spoken volumes beyond its short page count, and there's no doubt in my mind that it will continue to be a reference point for years to come.

Then yesterday, June 26, notable screenwriter Nora Ephron died. I should more accurately say that she was perhaps best known as a screenwriter, but her life-long love affair with words went far beyond that as she was also an actress, novelist, playwright, journalist, and blogger. Now that I'm in my 20s I am more fully able to appreciate Ephron's body of work, which isn't to say that I didn't enjoy it when I was younger. I remember many nights curled up on the couch when I was little watching Sleepless in Seattle and You've Got Mail - these films were full of charming characters, smart dialogue, and had an amazing ability to allow viewers to escape their reality and into someone else's for a little while. She redefined what it means for a film to be a quality romantic comedy because it's not always smiles. When I first say When Harry Met Sally... in high school, it was like Ephron had crawled inside my brain and asked the question that once asked, will never go away: can guys and girls really ever be just friends?

The answer is a messy one: Yes, but no. Well, kind of. It depends. Hey, did you see the ball game last night?

Two very different writers and lives that aimed to explore different facets of the human condition, and both giants in their own rights. May today's writers learn by their examples, and may these souls rest in peace.


  1. You've Got Mail is such an amazing film and I loved When Harry Met Sally because of that dilemma that it addresses of whether guys and girls can just be friends.

    Both these authors will be missed.

    1. Could you imagine if she had done You've Got Mail now a days? It'd probably be more like You've Got Twitter, but I bet she could have made it work =)