Hurrah for Julie and Julia
August 8th, 2009
Two years ago, I read Julie Powell’s wonderful debut memoir, “Julie & Julia.” Her story of spending 365 days cooking every recipe in Julia Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” was electrifying and compelling.
I couldn’t decide what was more inspiring – Julie Powell’s innocent ambition and subsequent bravado or the between-the-lines story of the power of blogging as a voice for authors.
Either way, I ended up buying 5 copies of Powell’s book for my favorite writer girlfriends. I told them: You must read this book. It will open up your eyes to the potential of blogging.
At the time, I had just bit the bullet and decided to really try serial blogging. My best intentions prior to the fall of 2007 hadn’t gotten me very far. I originally “started” this blog in March 2007, when I foolishly thought Shedstyle.com would be a book-in-progress blog while Bill Wright and I created “Stylish Sheds and Elegant Hideaways.” Constant travel, photo shoots, intense deadlines and a generally crazy schedule conspired to keep that from occurring (I think I wrote 2 posts between March and October 2007).
In September 2007, I moderated a “Garden Blogging” panel at the annual Garden Writers Association symposium with blogger-friends Kathy Purdy, Mary Ann Newcomer and David Perry (you will find each of them and their blogs the LINKS section of my home page). I felt like a fraud. Sure, I created the panel and served as its moderator. But I was a pretender “talking” about blogging, not actually doing it.
I came home from Oklahoma City and, wholly inspired, I just started writing. I am eternally grateful to Mary Ann, David and Kathy for their honest and heartfelt support as fellow bloggers.
Like many tough things, repetition and frequency make it easier to learn new skills and habits. In less than 2 years I have written nearly 200 posts and met many awesome fellow bloggers, readers, friends.
Back to Julie and Julia.
That book really did change my life, thanks to the courageous Julie Powell and the inimitable Julia Child. I came home tonight from watching the movie “Julie & Julia” equally inspired.
As director and screenwriter, Norah Ephron is amazing. What a talent. Her screenplay is delightful. Her cast – Meryl Streep and Amy Adams – are delicious. Totally delicious in their roles as Julia Child and Julie Powell.
A woman seated near me (friend of a friend) told me a great story after the movie. As you may know, Julia Child lived in Santa Barbara in her retirement. The woman remembered working as a waitress in Santa Barbara in 1989. She waited on Julia and her husband Paul, who by then was in a wheelchair.
“Julia ordered a grilled-cheese sandwich and a banana for lunch,” this former waitress recalled. Hmm. I love hearing that our culinary icon, Julia Child, liked basic comfort food. It puts a smile on my face.
Not sure where this post is going, except to say that the writer in me LOVED the book and the film. I felt like I was watching all of our stories, our efforts, our hopes and dreams, up there on the screen. When the film portrayed Julia Child’s manuscript finally getting published after 8 years of work, I felt so victorious for her. When Julia Powell was interviewed for a story in the New York Times food section, I felt the excitement at hearing her answering machine buzz (well, that hasn’t exactly happened to me, but I can kind of relate).
Anyway, if you’re into food you should see “Julie & Julia.” If you’re a writer, you’ll definitely want to.
This post is dedicated to Nan, Paula, Mary Ann and Lorene, my friends who received copies of Julie & Julie from me in 2007.
August 9th, 2009 at 3:40 am
Thanks for sharing your perspective and experience. Along with you I have always believed that ‘Like many tough things, repetition and frequency make it easier to learn new skills and habits.’ I would add one thing, blogging or any kind of creative endeavor where someone has to put themselves and their ideas out there for all to see also takes courage.
.-= Susan aka Miss R´s last blog ..Retrofit | Ready to Party! =-.
August 9th, 2009 at 7:28 am
I adore you. I am going to see the movie today. I remember when you sent me the book, Julie and Julia. I remember when you asked me to be on the panel. You are the best woman’s woman I have ever met and I thank you for your kindness, constant encouragement and inspiration.
I still believe blogging should be done from the heart, with passion and honesty. Share what you see, learn and know and your sense of wonder.
.-= MA´s last blog ..Homemade cherry liqueur/cherry heering =-.
August 9th, 2009 at 4:53 pm
I also loved Julie Powell’s book and the movie was touching.
After a month off from blogging, it did make me feel like I had something to say again.
The real message here, dear Debra, is you are my Julie Powell. After I bought your book and then found your blog, I felt that wonderful
sense of ‘not being able to sit still’ because I had stumbled upon something/someone who was inspiring, creative, connected……
Your work constantly provides me with inspiration, and affirms my life long pursuit of gardening as art, as religion.
it’s a round world.
August 10th, 2009 at 8:35 pm
Um, wow, Suzanne. You just made my day. From me to you: THANKS for the kind words, Debra
August 11th, 2009 at 1:12 pm
Ah Deb… I’m weepy at your amazing spirit of lifting us up with hope, inspiration and above all WORDS!!! And you wonder why I dedicated my last book in part to you. You are amazing and wonderful. I’m going to see Julia & Julie next Sunday.
.-= Lorene´s last blog ..Here come the Lazy Housewives!!! =-.
August 12th, 2009 at 8:49 pm
The book is on my nightstand and as soon as I am out of the thick of the social season (it must be too hot in SoCal to do anything but party is the only way I explain the past and coming week) I am going to see that movie.
August 12th, 2009 at 11:04 pm
I would have loved to see Julia and Julia with you. Maybe I can talk a friend into going with me as Dad
doesn’t like chick flicks or cooking…just eating. I love reading about your latest interests.
Have a safe trip.
August 12th, 2009 at 11:18 pm
Mom, you should make Dad go with you. It’s a great movie! He’d like it, too. Otherwise, we’ll rent it together this winter, xoxo Deb
August 14th, 2009 at 3:32 pm
Miss Mary and I went to see it last night at the Columbia City Cinema, just down the street from your fave pizza place. It’s kinda old and funky there, but they have the best, best popcorn in the city. Real popcorn, served up in a brown paper bag.
I loved the movie, and got all choked up from that point on when the reluctant editor took the manuscript home and began trying her recipes and understanding what was there in front of her.
You do shine like a beacon in so many people’s lives, Debra, and those of us lucky enough to know and love you are better people for it.
Gratefully . . .
.-= David´s last blog ..Of Brown-Eyed Susans and Green Bees Knees =-.
August 15th, 2009 at 3:25 pm
I just saw the movie and thought of all of my talented writer friends; master gardener friends; and the friends who are aspiring chefs. It really made me realize that if you have the creative zest, nothing can squash it.
You have the passion to bring your zest to life for people who love gardening, design or living life to the fullest. You breathe life into what you write and how you express yourself.
Now back to laundry!