Nora Ephron – Self Help

This list kills me, reminds me. focuses me, shuts me up, angers me, softens me, and inspires me to grab life and wring every last drop out of it.  It forces me to look at the time I have wasted and vow to never waste any more.  I love Nora Ephron for so many reasons, but this list is what I think about most when I think about her:

nora

The great Nora Ephron passed away at the age of 71, following a battle with leukemia that began in 2006. She had many strings to her bow, but most notably wrote the screenplays to some of the best loved films ever to grace the big screen, many of which she also directed and produced. She wrote the following lists — of things she won’t and will miss — in 2010 and used them to close her book, I Remember Nothing.

(Source: “I Remember Nothing: And Other Reflections” by Nora Ephron)

What I Won’t Miss

  • Dry skin
  • Bad dinners like the one we went to last night
  • E-mail
  • Technology in general
  • My closet
  • Washing my hair
  • Bras
  • Funerals
  • Illness everywhere
  • Polls that show that 32 percent of the American people believe in creationism
  • Polls
  • Fox TV
  • The collapse of the dollar
  • Bar mitzvahs
  • Mammograms
  • Dead flowers
  • The sound of the vacuum cleaner
  • Bills
  • E-mail. I know I already said it, but I want to emphasize it.
  • Small print
  • Panels on Women in Film
  • Taking off makeup every night

What I Will Miss

  • My kids
  • Nick
  • Spring
  • Fall
  • Waffles
  • The concept of waffles
  • Bacon
  • A walk in the park
  • The idea of a walk in the park
  • The park
  • Shakespeare in the Park
  • The bed
  • Reading in bed
  • Fireworks
  • Laughs
  • The view out the window
  • Twinkle lights
  • Butter
  • Dinner at home just the two of us
  • Dinner with friends
  • Dinner with friends in cities where none of us lives
  • Paris
  • Next year in Istanbul
  • Pride and Prejudice
  • The Christmas tree
  • Thanksgiving dinner
  • One for the table
  • The dogwood
  • Taking a bath
  • Coming over the bridge to Manhattan
  • Pie

 

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Don’t Do It For Anyone Else – Self Help

Today is my last day working for a company that I should have left a year ago.  The stars had to align, I had to find the best next step for me.  Basically, I had to run to something and not run away from something.  I think that I have found it and just like with most major changes, it happens so slowly it is almost undetectable, but with a blink of an eye, it was the new reality.  If I could give advice to my coworkers today, it would be to apply and interview everywhere, know your worth, make sure your obligation is to yourself first.  A long time ago, I got some advice from a coworker on her last day at that very large .com retailer I used to work for, she said “Don’t ever love a company because it is incapable of loving you back.”  It seemed harsh at the time, seeing I was still there and she was leaving.  Over the years, I have understood more of what she was saying:  Keep your priorities in check, Your obligation is to yourself first, Do not lose sight of who you are. It is true, we all fall into it to some extent, but unless the company is your creation, do not let it become your identity.  Hopefully, your company finds value in you and is active in creating a path that allows you to grow along with it and you are recognized for your efforts and participation in it’s success.  The successful company part of you is great, but it is not your identity.  Keep something for yourself.  Do something that is you and only you, that you enjoy.  Don’t do it for anyone else.

There is so much I could and want to say about Keith Haring, he is a personal inspiration and style icon.  I think of this advice quite a bit and is a lot to do with how I structured waldina.com.  I wanted to chronicle what inspired me, good and bad, but mostly good.  I didn’t think too much about what it would mean to anyone else, I figured it would be somewhat interesting from time to time and maybe every now and then, someone would find something they could use in their life.  But I knew I would only think it was good if I only did it for myself.

It’s incredible to think that Keith Haring was only alive for 31 years, given the impact of his work. In New York particularly, his public pop-art greeted many thousands of people every day, and internationally is highly regarded and recognized as a major art influence. He also left behind a valuable legacy that includes, alongside his artwork, the Keith Haring Foundation; launched in 1989 “to assist AIDS-related and children’s charities”, said disease being the cause of his death just a year later.

Below: a brief letter of advice he wrote to an aspiring artist and fan of Haring’s work, circa-1987.

KEITH HARING

676 BROADWAY N.Y.C. 10012 212-477-1579

Michael -

Thanks for your letter. I draw everyday. When I was 15, I wanted to be an artist so I drew all the time. It was my only visible talent.

Whatever you do, the only secret is to believe in it and satisfy yourself. Don’t do it for anyone else.

Good luck,

Keith

Thank you, Mr. Hitchcock

Today is the birthday of arguably one of the best film directors of all time, Alfred Hitchcock.  His films are perfections of the suspense/thriller genre.  Please consider watching one of them the next time you are planning movie night.  We have the box set out at the lake house and I sometimes just pop one in and catch a bit of it as I come and go throughout the day.  They are like old friends you never tire of seeing.

In March of 1962, Alfred Hitchcock took a break during filming of The Birds in Bodega Bay and visited a local school to greet the pupils. Soon after, the school’s principal wrote the following letter of thanks to the filmmaker, and described the visit’s positive effect on one particular child.

Transcript follows.

Transcript

WILMAR UNION SCHOOL DISTRICT

3775 Bodega Highway

PETALUMA, CALIFORNIA

April 3, 1962

Mr. Alfred Hitchcock

Alfred Hitchcock Productions

Bodega Bay, California

Dear Mr. Hitchcock:

I wanted to take the time to say that your stopping one morning on your way to Bodega Bay to give a group of children a drawing and autograph of you was certainly a deed of thoughtfulness. It is realized that taking the time from your busy schedule is not an easy thing to do.

The real purpose of this letter is to inform you what your deed of kindness did for a boy to whom you gave your drawing and autograph. This boy is quite shy and does not participate readily in class activities, such as sharing his experiences before others during sharing time. He was so thrilled and moved by his experience that he proudly shared his experience and autograph not only with his own class, but in every classroom in the school. The boy never before has done such a thing. Many times it takes such a spark as this to help a youngster out of his shell and on the road to confidence. You don’t realize what your act of kindness has done for this child.

I realize that many other people since then have tried to take advantage of the same opportunity and this has made it difficult and impossible for you to fulfill. None the less, your thoughtful act will not be forgotten by youngsters and teachers alike.

Sincerely,

(Signed)

Duncan Coleman

Principal

The Golden Bowl Is Broken

I remember reading this letter years ago.  I used to spend many rainy afternoons in the college library avoiding any course-related work by devouring the biographies of the “Lost Generation” writers, artists, composers, dancers, and their benefactors.  This letter has remained with me and I am reminded of it whenever I or someone I know experiences loss.  I used to include the “golden bowl” line in sympathy cards, but I think it really only meant something to me.  After reading several biographies on the Murphy family, I felt very fond of them, their loss of their two boys, while having all the treatments and specialists money could buy, hurt as if I actually knew them.  The Letters of F. Scott Fitzgerald was an often-borrowed book from several libraries from Seattle to Interlochen (until I found my own copy in a second-hand book store) and it’s content I think of at least once a week.  I hope you like it too. 

On January 30th of 1937, two years after his older brother, Baoth, succumbed to meningitis, 16-year-old Patrick Murphy passed away following a seven year battle with tuberculosis.  The boys’ 20-year-old sister, Honoria, remained.  A few days later, the children’s distraught parents, Gerald and Sara Murphy, received the following letter of condolence from their friend, F. Scott Fitzgerald.

January 31, 1937

Dearest Gerald and Sara:

The telegram came today and the whole afternoon was so sad with thoughts of you and the happy times we had once. Another link binding you to life is broken and with such insensate cruelty that it is hard to say which of the two blows was conceived with more malice. I can see the silence in which you hover now after this seven years of struggle and it would take words like Lincoln’s in his letter to the mother who had lost four sons in the war to write you anything fitting at the moment. The sympathy you will get will be what you have had from each other already and for a long, long time you will be inconsolable.

But I can see another generation growing up around Honoria and an eventual peace somewhere, an occasional port of call as we all sail deathward. Fate can’t have any more arrows in its quiver for you that will wound like these. Who was it said that it was astounding how deepest griefs can change in time to a sort of joy?  The golden bowl is broken indeed but it was golden; nothing can ever take those boys away from you now.

Scott

Why I am an Atheist

In 1903, Kentucky-based newspaper “Blue-grass Blade” asked its readers to write in and contribute to a forthcoming feature named, “Why I am An Atheist.” Hundreds of letters soon arrived and many were subsequently reprinted in the paper; over a century later, in 2011, they were compiled to form the book, Letters from an Atheist Nation.

Below is just one of the letters. It was written by Minnie Parrish, a 23-year-old divorced mother of four who later went on to become the first female doctor to practice in North Texas.

Why am I an Atheist

 

Because it has dawned upon me that it is right to be so, and upon investigation I find no real evidence of the divine origin of the scriptures. And because I cannot, as a refined and respectable woman, take to my bosom as a daily guide a book of such low morals and degrading influences. Written by a lot of priests, I cannot accept a salvation that is based wholly upon the dreams of an ancient and superstitious people, with no proof save blind faith.

 

Everything that so many people think transpires from the supernatural, and many things that would really perplex the average mind, have a natural and material foundation in the workings of the human mind; that is, things that are not connected with our solar system.

 

It is ignorance of the scientific working of their own natures and mind that keep so much “mystery” in the air; and as long as there is a mystery afloat the people will ascribe it to the supernatural.

 

I am an Atheist because I know the Bible will not do to depend upon. I have tried it, and found it wanting.

 

In fact, I found in the scriptures the origin of woman’s slayer, and that it was one of God‘s main points to oppress women and keep them in the realms of ignorance.

 

I am in the ranks of Liberalism because of its elevating principles, its broad road to freedom of thought, speech, and investigation.

 

MINNIE O. PARRISH
23 years old
Leonard, Texas

Letters of Note: Why I am an Atheist.

I’m unhappy, hope you’re unhappy too

Here we have the first letter sent by 21-year-old Morrissey to his Scottish pen-pal, Robert Mackie in 1980, in response to a personal ad in Sounds magazine. His note was written on the back of a James Dean photo (James Dean was of course the subject of a book written by Morrissey around that time), and as a result of the letter Morrissey and Mackie became pen-pals for 18 months. The Smiths formed in 1983.

Steven Morrissey

384- Kings Rd

STRETFORD

Manchester- M32 8GW

Dear Person,

So nice to know there’s another soul out there, even if it is in Glasgow.

Does being Scottish bother you? Manchester is a lovely little place, if you happen to be a bedridden deaf mute.

I’m unhappy, hope you’re unhappy too.

In poverty,

Steven

Smells Like Teen Spirit

We drive by Kurt and Courtney‘s old house a lot on our way home, we drive by the park where there are always people taking pictures of the bench and leaving flowers and candles.  For some reason, I like the idea that people are still drawn to his tiny little park.  His enormous hedge of rhododendrons is threatening to bloom and will do just that any day, I will share a photo when it does.Kurt Cobain hand-wrote the following to-do list mid-1991, as Nirvana prepared to film the now-iconic music video for Smells Like Teen Spirit. It was eventually filmed on a sound stage and directed by Samuel Bayer.

Transcript follows. Image from the book, Kurt Cobain: Journals.

Transcript

Smells Like Teen Spirt

needed

1. Mercedes benz and a few old cars

2. Access to a abandoned mall, main floor and one Jewelry shop.

3. lots of fake Jewelry

4. School Auditorium (Gym)

5. A cast of hundreds. 1 custodian, students.

6. 6 black Cheerleader outfits with Anarchy A’s Ⓐ on chest