Monday, August 17, 2009

Pass the Butter, Please

Saturday afternoon I ran home after farmer's market, deposited signs, tablecloths, empty jars and jumped back in the car to take Maggie and Rose to a birthday party. The party was at a friends' house near the Grandin Theater in Roanoke. Julie and Julia was showing at the theater. It was a matinee. I had to be in town for over 2 hours. Seemed like destiny.

Life on the farm makes me too tired to go see many movies. Not to mention the cost.

But Julia Child is one of my heroes so of course I had to go. Meryl Streep is another of my heroes so I really had to go.

I walked from the birthday party down to the theater. It brought back memories of urban life. People sitting on stoops, walking to the local food coop, strolling with babies and dogs. The different flower gardens were a feast for the eyes and nose. As Rachel and Wendy and I walked into the cool dark cave the previews began to roll. The 5 o'clock show was crowded. We headed to the front to get an unimpeded view.

The movie was brilliant. (In my humble opinion.)

I love to read cookbooks for fun. A couple of years ago Philip bought me a copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking for my birthday. I pull it out occasionally to read through chapters on sauces, soups and roasts. On a trip out of state we listened to Julia's memoir. Such a fascinating story.

The juxtaposition of Julia Child's life to Julie Powell's life was so entertaining. Child's turning point in life takes place as she moves into elegant French quarters, markets and restaurants. Powell's takes place as she moves into a dump of an apartment in Queens, working a difficult government job in a grey cubicle. To search for meaning in their life, they both turn to cooking. Competitive cooking. Child, in the Cordon Bleu school of cooking, a world for men, not women, and definitely not american women, and Powell, in a self-imposed challenge to cook through every one of the 500+ recipes in the Mastering the Art of French Cooking book. In a year. And blog about it.

The movie was about Julia Child and her life, but as the story progressed, I realized it was more a story about Julie Powell and how she found her voice. You see, Powell chronicled her story through a blog. She always wanted to be a writer so her husband suggested she use the blog as a means to write, even if it was never published.

I laughed so hard as we watched those scenes! Tears rolled down my face. Seeing the aspics flop, the lobsters trying to escape, the boeuf bourguignon burn touched my heart because they mirrored so many aspects of my farm journey. I laughed and cried because I felt the pain, the universal pain of attempting something hard, failing, wanting to give up, knowing I couldn't if I tried.

I know there are thousands, probably millions of bloggers out there. Sometimes I wonder why I bother since there are so many others doing the same thing. Watching this movie made me see that there is value in the many different voices. We each have something unique to say, in a unique flavor, that is going to speak another person's language.

Not everyone appreciated Julie Powell's blog. Not even Julia Child. But many people did. Her journey inspired many other readers to stick their neck out and try something hard. Her journey changed her life. And many others as well.

It probably seems silly, but watching that movie really validated me. Okay, so I don't have hundreds of followers. Maybe a dozen! I have never published a single word and maybe never will. But just like Julie Powell, I am a writer. Being published or not doesn't determine whether or not I am a writer. I have a voice that matters to someone, even if only my children and my mom and dad! Blogging gives me a chance to share that voice with those someones that do matter. It gives me a creative outlet. I hope that our farm stories of failures and fallings and try, try agains will encourage someone else to try, try again. I hope that someone will feel less alone in her journey as she or he shares ours. But just like Julie, I can't not write, whether read or not, it has to come out.


Please go see this movie, fellow bloggers, fellow foodies and fellow school of life journeymen. And don't forget the butter. Just add more butter. Whatever you do, please don't skimp on the butter.


Leonora said...

I was so inspired when I left this movie last week. I just HAD to do something special with our meatloaf that night : )

CountryDew said...

Wow, I will have to see this movie! And I think you have lots of followers that you aren't aware of. Get a counter and be surprised! said...

Ahh, Meatloaf al la Bourgignon. I can just smell it! Whatever you do, Anita, don't go to that movie with an empty stomach.

Chris said...

I appreciate your writing so much and it does help me feel a little less lonely in my isolated country life. The subjects you write about are interesting to me, thanks. said...

Thanks for your kind comment, Chris. Glad to meet a fellow journeyman.