Just more than two years ago, my life was changed forever by the serendipity of a girl with an uninspiring blog subject and a near-complete inability to cook.
When Julie & Julia was released on August 7th, 2009, I didn’t have a clue who Julie Powell was. I didn’t know what a blog was. I barely knew the name Julia Child… as some famous cook lady who didn’t know how to spell her last name.
I did like to cook sometimes, mostly whenever Brittney had a boyfriend over. The trailer looked cute, and so in a less-than-comfortable theater seat, with altogether too much butter on my popcorn, my life was haplessly redirected down a path I would never have dreamed.
Julie & Julia was a delightful movie, if you can ignore the real-life comments made by Julia Child. I credit director/writer/producer Nora Ephron and the charmingly believable Meryl Streep for giving the movie the depth it needed.
As the film progresses, Julie Powell’s blog begins to gain popularity, and eventually she’s approached by a publisher and – spoiler alert – she scores a movie deal. In the midst of this huggable and lovable film, I may have had a negative reaction or two…
“But I can cook better than that!”
“Grr! I should be watching Schilde & Child!”
“Who put all this damn butter in my popcorn?”
The truth is, I might as well have been watching Schilde & Child. But the parallel I watched between me and Julia Child had absolutely nothing to do with cooking. It was the struggles that she went through, that captured my attention and my heart. She fought an epic battle to gain recognition as a cook among the worlds most renowned culinary masters. …all men I might add. And then banged out copy after copy of her recipes, on paper with a plunky thing, while publishers informed her they would pay her like fifty cents and stuff. It was in the midst of her struggles with the publishers, that her husband Paul said the magic words.
“Your book is going to change the world.”
I didn’t know it until that day. I didn’t know it until I heard those words. My popcorn became an ominous buttery blob in my throat. Tears rolled quietly and uncontrollably down my cheeks. My heart ached to be the one those words were meant for. I glanced around furtively at a theater full of dry eyes and smiles, and I knew someday I would write a book that would change the world.
Inspiration is a funny thing. I got home and told Brittney. She looked at me really funny. “But you’re a music major,” she said. “And besides, you can’t write.”
Well, there was that. But under the pressure of the locomotive momentum that was my excitement, those seemed like trivial details. So I began writing.
Two years later, I’ve forgotten everything I ever learned about music that doesn’t come naturally from my fingers. There at least seems to be some argument on the subject of whether I can write. I know who Julie Powell is. I know what a blog is, and I have one! And I know Julia Child was an amazing woman, with a heart of fire, whose perseverance deserves to be the inspiration for an unknown author who doesn’t know how to spell her own last name.
© 2011 Anne Schilde