I just watched the movie Julie and Julia with my good friend Mandy. She and David and Isaac came over to share New Year's dinner with Dora and I - Brian is working - and she stayed late to watch with me. What a wonderful movie - for so many reasons. It left me feeling inspired - and a bit jealous, too.
Just before I started my blog, I found my mother's extremely dog-eared copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking. It caught my eye on a bookshelf at my dad's house, although the movie had not yet been released and the recent upsurge in interest in Julia Child hadn't yet happened. I love cookbooks, and was on a quest for some of the recipes I remember my mom making during my childhood, so it jumped out at me. I brought it home in fascination, although many of the recipes have intimidated me too much to try them thus far.
Shortly after inheriting my mom's copy of Julia's cookbook, I saw a commercial for Julie and Julia. I had literally just started my blog, and seeing the preview sort of made me feel like giving up, even though I absolutely love Meryl Streep. She is one of my favorite actresses, ever, period, and I'm not just saying that because I spent two hours with her tonight. Seeing the preview I thought, "what's the point? This has already been done, better, by someone else."
The movie is very charming. Julia is lovely. She and her husband Paul are sweet, in love, funny, endearing. These are people you want to have over for dinner. You want to be invited to their house for a Valentine's Day party, wearing a big red construction paper heart on your lapel. Julie's story is charming, too. The similarities to my own life, though few, are striking - at least to me. She's working in a government job, trying to feel good about her work and not always feeling convinced that she's doing something productive. She's a bureaucrat who comes home and pours her heart into her kitchen, into making spectacular food and serving it on - yes - Fiestaware. She's a regular person, trying to figure out who she is, failing and flailing and eventually arriving at some new unimagined place where she's what she always wanted to be. Just like Julia. I guess that's the point.
Lately this blog has been a challenge - my words have felt stifled, my vignettes haven't been cute little circular threads that tie up in a bow, the comments from my readers have dwindled. I know you're out there - and I appreciate you so very much - but I miss hearing from you, too. We are all so busy - I know. This blog has been a casualty of busy-ness as well. I've even cringed at the very thought of my blog lately, of how it's not quite what I want it to be these past few weeks.
The other day I downloaded photos from my camera. I hadn't done it in a while for some reason. I added 537 new photos to iPhoto, and my best estimate is that about half of them were of food. It's like all of December's food-related experiences were chronicled in those 200 or so frames. Maybe lately, this blog hasn't been exactly perfect. Maybe I've been flailing around a bit as a writer - and a person. I may not have a book deal, or 50 comments on one post, or 64 messages from editors on my answering machine, or a movie about me in which I am charming and flawed and cute in a pixie-ish kind of way. I may not have these things, but I have 200 images of beautiful food made with love, shared with joy and celebration with the people I love. That is something to be proud of, that is something to remember, that is something that means something to someone, somewhere - I just know it. It means something to me, at least.
It's 2010 now, the year of...who knows what. Possibility, I guess. I have never been a huge fan of New Year's, but tonight my friend Mandy said she loves it, she loves the start of a new year, and I have to admit there is some small part of me that agrees with her. Starting fresh, I guess. Beginning again. There are new and exciting things on the horizon - meals to be made, dreams to summon to reality, blogs to write. I promise to share it all here - and promise myself that it will mean something, a lot actually, no matter how many editors are calling, no matter how many comments I get. Perhaps, in 2010, I, too, will arrive at some new, unimagined place, where I've always wanted to be. It's going to mean something to me, and to Brian and Dora, and to all of you, I hope, and its going to be delicious.