Twice in a week? Amy, are you feeling okay?
My life isn't always about cake. Or cupcakes. Or whoopie pies. Or...you get the idea. Sometimes my life is about movies. Or thinking too much. Or movies and thinking too much.
I kind of have a lot going on in my brain right now. I wouldn't call it a crossroads, but I have some pretty big options laying in front of me. When big options present themselves, I have a tendency to over-think everything in my life.
I saw "Julie and Julia". I did, I watched it. From beginning to end. It's rare that a movie keeps me up at night for weeks. The last time this happened, it was "Slingblade", AKA "The Movie that Changed My Artistic Life". J&J did not change my life, but it did keep me up at night. Thinking.
I remember when the movie came out, all my friends were wanting to pull a Julie and Julia and cook their way through a cookbook. Yeah, ok. I remember suggesting to a friend that a local church cookbook collection would be nice: a bunch of heirloom recipes using local ingredients. In my eyes, this is giving you a sense of heritage and connection to church and community. I was scoffed at (yes! She SCOFFED me!). "That isn't the POINT, Amy. The POINT is to go through the cookbook to learn cooking techniques from masters." Oh, sorry. How silly of me. How silly of me to consider most of the ladies in my church to be masters of their family recipes. Except Edith. Her heirloom family recipe is potato salad with hotdogs in it. Thanks, Edith...I'll pass on that one.
Before I watched the movie, I never read the book. Or the blog. I remember hearing about it on the radio, and loving the idea of it. I always admire creativity and originality, and anything to do with food. I remember seeing stills of Meryl Streep in costume as Julia and thinking, "wow, I can't wait! She looks amazing!"
I love Meryl Streep. She's an amazing performer, and probably the only actress in American Cinema capable of portraying Julia Child as anything except a caricature. Her performance was very theatrical (outward expressions of inner emotions), larger than life...but, coming from Meryl, I tend to believe that to be a comment on Julia herself, a larger-than-life woman, not a caricature. Did you notice how I spoke of Meryl Streep like we're old friends? Mer and I, we go way back.
The movie had a "Sleepless in Seattle" feel, which, I know...duh, Amy...same director. But the script was similar: you have your life, I have my life...here's how they are different, here's how they are alike...yes we should be together. I was hoping for something edgier, rougher, rawer (whoa, that is NOT a word).
After watching the movie, I went to read some of the Julie/Julia Project blog, and said, "wow, this isn't what I expected. At all." I wouldn't have guessed THIS writer to be so Amy-Adams-perky-with-spunk-and-a-determined-chin. I really found Julie Powell's voice to be whiny and self-centered. And I'm sorry Julie, I know if you read this you will get offended and call me a hater in your blog. But Dude, you put yourself out there for comments, so expect them, both good and bad.
When I read blogs, I'm also stalker-girl and read all the comments. Every one. And on the Julie/Julia Project blog, you can almost identify the exact moment when she gets some notoriety, just from the comments. Suddenly, everyone is commenting witty and insightful thoughts on the blog, hoping that a literary agent will discover them and give them a book deal, based only on their views on Julie's cat. Come on people, gimme a break. Have some self-respect.
And, now we come to the part that keeps me up at night. How am I different? Doesn't this blog somehow question my self-respect just from its existence? Am I any less self-centered than Julie Powell, showing off my cakes? Who cares about my cakes? How is my blog different from the masses of food blogs out there? I don't share too many recipes. I don't have the patience to document the process through pictures. Quite frankly, I'm really rough with cake decorating and am pretty sure Kerry Vincent and her knotted headband would have me arrested by the cake decorating police if she saw my gumpaste roses. I know that you need a voice to blog. It seems that my voice is scattered...or maybe I haven't found my voice yet.
I once had a thought (ok, several thoughts) about show ideas that I wanted to pitch to the Food Network or the Travel Channel. Maybe my blog voice is here somewhere:
1. A hard core reality show. Here's how you cook when your food budget is $20 for the week and you have two small children. Here's how I struggle-and-eventually-get-through the picky-food phases. Here's how to stay on a diet with no money and two small children. Here's how to cook with no counter space and an electric cooktop. Here's how to bake in an oven that has a door that doesn't close properly.
2. A hard core reality show part 2. Here's how to open a bakery with two small children and no money. Alls we gots is 2 cake pans, Grandma Olive's recipe box, and passion. Passion is important, right? I sort of missed the boat on this one: The bakery is constructed; all the drama with the plumbers and the village and the health inspector is passed. The only drama I have right now is trying to figure out how to stay on diet while being elbow-deep in cake frosting 70% of the time.
3. 1000 places to take two small children. Or 1000 places NOT to take 2 small children. This one is for the Travel Channel. Probably a daytime slot. I mean, there's got to be more to see than water parks and Disney, right?
(The "Two Small Children" seems to be a recurring theme, yes?)
So Julie and Julia did this to me. Reminding me, once again, that it is impossible for me to just enjoy a movie. Or a book. Or a blog. Or a creative idea. Especially when I'm staring at big, life-altering options.