Thursday, March 24, 2016

Everything is "copy": The downside



Nora Ephron's novel, Heartburn, is based on her failed marriage to Carl Bernstein. Ephron famously included a recipe for the Key lime pie her protagonist, a food writer, hit her unfaithful husband in the face with (Nora Ephron and Martha Stewart make Key lime pie in this video). Ephron explains ("Writers are cannibals...") the derivation for her of Everything is Copy in the video: her parents were writers who lived by it.

When I first heard it, I thought of Norman Mailer's short story, "The Notebook," which is in Advertisements for Myself

The excerpt below gives you the idea:

The writer was having a fight with his young lady. They were walking toward her home, and as the argument continued they walked with their bodies farther and farther apart..."There's one thing I will tell you," she went on bitterly. "You hurt people more than the cruelest person in the world could. And why? I'll tell you why. It's because you never feel anything and you make believe that you do." She could see he was not listening, and she asked in exasperation, "What are you thinking about now?"

"Nothing. I'm listening to you, and I wish you weren't so upset."

Actually the writer had become quite uneasy. He had just thought of an idea to put in his notebook, and it made him anxious to think that if he did not remove his notebook from his vest pocket and jot down the thought, he was likely to forget it. He tried repeating the idea to himself several times to fix it in his memory, but this procedure was never certain...

He was thinking that if he removed the notebook from his pocket, and held it in the palm of his hand, he might be able to scribble in it while they walked. Perhaps she would not notice.

It turned out to be too difficult. He was obliged to come to a halt beneath a street light. His pencil worked rapidly in nervous elliptic script while he felt beside him the pressure of her presence. Emotional situation deepened by notebook, he wrote. Young writer, girl friend. Writer accused of being observer, not participant in life by girl. Gets idea he must put in notebook. Does so, and brings the quarrel to a head. Girl breaks relationship over this...

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