Sunday, August 9, 2009
The Writing Project
Posted by Laura Carney
My boyfriend has left for the weekend and he has this giant iMac computer in the most secluded part of our apartment -- it is like this big machine that I never ever touch -- but now that he is gone, here I sit behind it. Which makes me feel like I should probably post something here.
Normally I write on the little laptop, but he took it with him on his trip to his parents' house.
I'm not really that interested in writing about fashion today. I get to edit stories on it for real now, on a near-daily basis. So maybe that need is being satisfied.
In any case ... I need to make some headway on my book. I've been writing it on the train, but sometimes I am too tired to stick with it. Last night, I saw "Julie and Julia" with my mother, who was up for a visit. Something about watching this 30-year-old in Queens embark on this huge project that involved writing every day really inspired me.
The movie was definitely more empowering for women than anything I've seen in a long time. Despite the fact that it was about cooking.
But there was a time when cooking was "men's work," especially if it was seen as an art, so for someone like Julia Child to think she could study it with a bunch of men was probably considered absurd back in the 1940s.
I'm not entirely sure where I'm going with this ... I guess it's that there was a part in the movie where each of the protagonists, Julia Child in 1950s Paris and Julie Powell in Queens, NY, in about 2002, received word that a book they had written was going to be published. And both wanted to be able to find some kind of purpose in their lives ... to take what was their passion and share it with others. Julia did so with a lengthy cooking book, which ended up having a large-scale effect on so many women. And then the modern-day character, Julie, used that cooking book to jumpstart her life and find something she really loved doing. She found herself surrounded by "writers" who had achieved some kind of mainstream success and couldn't figure out how to do that on her own, despite the fact that her husband constantly encouraged her writing and told her how talented she was.
I should probably attach some kind of spoiler alert to this post. Sorry if you've yet to see this movie ...
Anyway, I want to have that feeling in my life ... that is all that I'm saying. Maybe I should update my process in this, in finishing my memoir ... or at least my process in finishing this essay I've started for The Sun (a literary magazine that recently asked me to contribute).
My boyfriend works and socializes with several young writers, people trained in fiction writing, who have published one book if not many. People who are well-known now, although they may not have been when I first met them.
There is no reason why I can't be brave enough to be one of these people. And I'm not saying that I want any kind of notoriety. Just that I want to succeed with putting my stuff out there ... stuff that is not just journalism, which is my main profession, but the writing that is more free-form for me ... because my sense is that I could have a strong impact, just maybe ... and just maybe have that same sense of fulfillment those characters have in that film.
(The moment Julia discovered that her book would be published.)
I'll have to keep updating on here ... maybe this can be a motivator .... who knows.
In the meantime, here's a great article on the movie and Nora Ephron.