Monday, August 17, 2009

Julie & Julia & Jodie

I was 32 when I started cooking; up until then, I just ate.
- Julia Child

I feel the same way about men.

Saw “Julie & Julia” this weekend (bit of ego stroke to marquee the pupil before the teacher, pop-culture momentary flash before legend, but then bloggers have big egos) and in the best possible setting at Cinebarre, a theater chain serving alcohol and real food. Simply ask for a cold beer or basket of fried pickle chips (called “The Big Lebowskis”…dirty) and a young boy silently serves you in the dark. Meryl Streep, of course superb, a cameo by the always sublimely funny (and tall) Jane Lynch and Amy Adams, who need only smile brightly and bring a self-proclaimed bitchy character to warm life.

Dare you to leave the film not craving a creamy sauce or martini.

But Julie Powell of the “& Julia” is an unlikable chick flick heroine; I didn’t find myself rooting for her. I assume some dialogue and most of the blog snippets read in voice-over come mostly verbatim from Powell’s blog which spawned first a book then the movie. Can’t find the original blog in full online (since it can be ordered bound in soft cover from Amazon for $7.99) but I didn't care for the simplicity of her writing, the kind of entries that begin, “Today I…” and the mind-blowing unimaginative for a food blog, “Guess who’s coming to dinner?”

A Google search of Powell reveals an extramarital affair and how she’s less than favored in her former blog community. Some of that speaks to gossip and, of course, publishing envy. Perhaps the movie dumbed it down, made the blog bites bigger and easier to swallow, but as a copy writer by day and blogger by night I expected something special. Only the best blogs get book deals.

Right?

The foodie in me understands and envelopes the fulfilling, sensual act of wrapping moist lips to sweets and savories. I could jump on that apple cart, earn chatty women followers, become a food blogger. Find a gimmick, then once established break out the stuff that touches beyond the snap of a carrot, exotic ingredients and lush colored staged photos.

What Powell got right, right away, was “the hook,” the easily identifiable branding. I got a business card this weekend. A recruiter in Denver looking for writers to populate an urban Web site with words, one where each piece can translate to dollars based on online popularity and hits. I checked the site and found in order to submit work, one must first categorize where those words fit, define the style. In 370 posts and four years I'm not playing a character, not writing life as I wish it to be or how I want you to see me but how’s it’s unfolding and my place in it. Maybe that’s difficult, if not impossible, to categorize.

Suppose I could write only about sex, that sells. Speak openly to desire and passion and living off script with panties down. At 40. The easily-identifiable former fatty enjoying sweaty palms. The woman who refers to herself as a girl, with the heart to tame a feral cat but who hasn’t yet been in love. Or even long-term like. And if that story ended happily, paired off with "the one" like the cargo on Noah’s Ark all the better. The hook.

Valerie Bertinelli could play me in the cable version.

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