I will never presume to be even half the writer she was. She was one of the best ever, and to say I admired her is a gross understatement. She was a heroine to me. Hearing the news this morning that she has left this earth much too early produced sincere tears.
Her words inspired me to work harder at my craft. I watched her movies over and over - especially Sleepless In Seattle, You've Got Mail and her last, Julie And Julia, finding new reasons every time to laugh, and learn. There are lines of hers I quote often in my everyday life: "It's a sign!" (from Sleepless),and "I cannot help myself (from You've Got Mail), just to name two (you have to know the movies to understand the quotes). She created characters that never leave your brain; heatwarming, complicated and always humorous.
Her essays made me laugh, too, but also gave me thoughts to ponder, and, sometimes, she did both at once. For example, this particular quote on aging: "Our faces are lies and our necks are the truth. You have to cut open a redwood tree to see how old it is, but you wouldn't have to if it had a neck."
How could anyone who puts pen to paper (or fingertips to a keyboard) not be motivated by that kind of writing? And a lovely addition to her legacy as a writer are all the positive comments I've heard today from those who knew her personally; she was a good person, a true friend and someone who lived life in a way just as original as the characters she gave us.
My hope was that I would be enjoying new books and screenplays of hers for decades to come. Whenever I saw her name in a credit, I knew I was in for a writing lesson and entertainment that would not disappoint. I always hate it when special people leave us too soon. That couldn't be truer today.