Marshall & Julie: Day 9

5 08 2010

Thanks to those (two) of you who let me know you were reading.  I did an analysis of Julie Powell’s blog, “The Julie/Julia Project” over at Anomalous Material, and I sure would appreciate if you went to check that out.  I was trying to find a place to link to the quite lengthy comment, and this seemed like a good place.

You know, where Julie and I can be servantless American bloggers.

Day 9: “The Proof Is in the Plumbing” / “The Work Is in the Homework”

As I thought about what I would write this entry, I had a feeling this would be an excruciatingly short entry. So, as a result, I did some exploring around “Julie & Julia” and found a few things I could talk about to lengthen my response.

The paperback, which has gotten pretty worn after nine months of on-again, off-again use, begins with six whole pages of critical acclaim. Six! Up until recently, I could probably barely fill six pages with all the comments on my site. And even less of that I could file under “praise” because there’s only so many times you can print “good review” or “interesting post” before it loses its effect. I’m sure if I browsed through my pages of comments, I could muster up some quotables.

(And don’t get the feeling that I don’t appreciate every comment or I’m looking to have praise heaped upon me every time someone visits – it’s merely speculation.)

Then there’s the title page, with “Julie and Julia” set neatly inside a box bordered on top and bottom by a nice checker pattern. Flip over to the boring copyright page, but next to that is Julie’s dedication page. She writes: “For Julia, without whom I could not have done this, and for Eric, without whom I could not do at all.”

So this set in motion a thought in my head: who do I dedicate this work to? Obviously, I would have to dedicate part of it to Julie Powell because she is the one who inspired me to start blogging. But since I am not married or do not have any significant other, who does the other part get dedicated to? Simply because I have ended two sentences with a preposition in just this paragraph, my mom wouldn’t want this to be dedicated to her. In all seriousness, though, who?

To be honest, I can’t really think of one person with some sort of saintly charm that has encouraged me so much and with such vigor to merit a dedication (apologies to all those who have tried, it doesn’t mean that you don’t mean anything to me!), or even a group of people as a whole.

But then my thought process shifted to the Oscars, where people are dedicating golden statues every year in their speech; maybe I should take a nod from them. A few years ago, director Blake Edwards gave a particularly poignant speech when receiving his lifetime achievement award, and it still sticks with me. In it, he says:

Each and every one who has contributed to this moment, friends and foes alike, I couldn’t have done it without the folks … so to everyone, from the little guy with the shovel [for elephant poop who sings “There’s No Business Like Show Business”] to the discerning folks in the Academy, my mother thanks you, my father thanks you … and I sure as hell thank you.

So, in true Edwardsian fashion, my dedication will say (and I don’t care that I’m writing this in the ninth chapter; I’m a blogger and thus a rebel):

To Julie, who wrote and reached me, and to everyone my words have ever reached, because I write for them.

Then there’s the table of contents, which isn’t necessary because I’m not writing a legitimate book … at least, not at the moment. And the last thing before the meat of the story arrives is an author’s note, giving some information the lawyers probably told her to put in for legal protection. She says that details have been altered but also that she “sometimes … just made stuff up.”

Now, I don’t mean to knock Julie Powell’s work. She got a book and a movie deal and got an Oscar nominee to play her. Even if I were to get a movie deal, I don’t think it’s possible to find an Oscar nominee to play me. But making things up is something I just won’t do. My story may not be exciting enough for Hollywood, but I certainly try to tell it with enough Hollywood flair to make up for what it lacks in being incredibly compelling. I don’t feel the need to lie to my readers; I haven’t yet, and I have no plans to in the future.

But onto the serious content, skipping the sex as always. Julie has some nasty plumbing problems, which make it hard to stay focused on the task at hand. She and husband Eric resort to the gimlet, an alcoholic drink, to cope. Thankfully, Julie gets some relief by opening up a new chapter in the good book, moving closer and closer towards finishing her 524 recipes. Yet the euphoria is short lived as she winds up being stuck with making unnecessarily annoying rice for each dish. Readers suggest that she just buy a rice cooker, arguing that the great Julia Child would have been all for it had they been around back in the day. In the end, Julie opts to cook easy rice in the pan – although I can’t imagine how crazy she would have gone for the microwave rice packets.

I don’t know the pain of dealing with plumbing, largely because I’m so young and my parents just call someone when it starts to leak. We’ve had our fair share of them, though – a leak in September led to a big kitchen remodel. But I have had plenty of things to keep me away from doing what I love, a big, important life thing. Namely, school.

Looking back on last year, it sure was tough to do all my schoolwork and run a blog. Not to mention it was my hardest year of classes yet AND I was in three shows during the year. I’ve spent a lot of the summer scrapping for cash where I can, but I’ve certainly enjoyed the time to rest and enjoy my favorite form of art. There were plenty of times when I wanted to drop the textbook and write a review. But we can’t always do what we want because sometimes the passion project has to take a backseat to the important stuff in life. We never want to shelf it; however, we just have to at times.

And since I am only 17, no, I did not turn to alcoholic beverages to slog through the tough times. In fact, as long as I had the time, I would write or watch a movie. There’s something very easing and therapeutic about doing either of those things. I love knowing that someone other than one teacher will read what I write. I love knowing that there’s an audience, however small, that wants to hear my opinion, and these people let me know how they feel as well. Emotion – that’s something a textbook can’t show.



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