Everything is copy – true?
Writer Nora Ephron was told this by her mother. Her parents were both writers and Nora took the words to heart – she wrote a great deal about her own experiences.
I think most writers would agree that writing about personal experience is not only easier, it’s more fun and quite possibly more interesting to the reader simply because it comes from the heart.
But I’m not talking here about how writers only would interpret the phrase.
Writers are somehow conditioned to collect their experiences to write about at some time in the future. Most have said, when life swings another major change their way ‘well, here starts a new chapter of the autobiography’.
But ‘everything is copy’ is a useful motto for non-writers too.
Copy, after all, is temporary. What’s good copy for the newspapers (or blog) today is old news by next week. In other words,life moves on, time change. Things,especially mistakes or embarrassments, that seem important to us today might not be even remotely interesting or earth-shattering to others. And it will all be forgotten soon anyway.
We might read today about a celebrity who has made complete idiot of themselves but next week, it will be forgotten as the next scandalous story arrives.
Gossip columnists make their money by exposing these stories – and most of us know that often, they are exaggerated. And nobody knows our own real story. (Which to me, is an excellent reason to write an autobiography).
So maybe we worry too much about things that don’t really matter? In Yorkshire, traditionally fish and chips were wrapped in newspaper. The health and safety mafia stopped that because of some perceived hygiene problem – whereas in fact the newspaper was wonderful insulation and a great way of recycling.
So there was a saying … ‘today’s news is tomorrow’s fish and chip wrappers’.
Incidentally, for me, Nora Ephron’s greatest line was:
“I’ll have what she’s having.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR