Some Thoughts on Julie & Julia & Jane & Blogging – in No Particular Order

Julie & Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously by Julie Powell (2009)I saw the new movie Julie & Julia this weekend and loved it. The movie follows the real life story of Julie Powell a young woman working as a drone in a government job in New York by day and cooking adventuress by night. Inspired by her favorite chef Julia Child, she embarks on attempting all 524 recipes from Julia’s cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking in 365 days. The task seems monumental and that is the hook. The best part, however, was that she wrote about the entire experience daily on her blog The Julie/Julia Project, and later turned her amazing experience into the bestselling book Julie & Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen. This book evolved into the movie Julie & Julia by writer/director Nora Ephron who brilliantly combined Julia Child’s own struggles becoming a chef from her book My Life in France. Each book reveals the story of two ladies adrift in life, looking for direction and passion, who both turn to cooking and find their true calling. Amy Adams and Meryl Streep portray Julie & Julia respectively with great success. Streep is particularly amazing in capturing the distinctly exuberant personality and trilling voice of one of the most famous early television personalities and cooking icons in the world. 

What touched me most about the story was the parallel lives of Julie and Julia, and how two smart, funny and ambitious ladies find their bliss by doing what they love most. This concept is by no means new to me. Following your bliss has been in the popular lexicon for years, so much so, that I have begun to resent it whenever it pops into a conversation with family and friends who want to give me advice on my life’s direction. I must confess that I have followed my bliss across hill and dale for many years with variable degrees of success and failure. In my own defense, it has been my closest friend and my recipe for happiness, though it has brought little money and no fame. To all nay sayers who do not believe in following your dreams, I will only add “Business, you know, may bring money, but friendship hardly ever does.” 

Blogging about Jane Austen is a joy, but like all great challenges it is the journey and not the end result that is the reward. Julie’s adventure in cooking, blogging and ultimately as a published author is further evidence of this philosophy. She had her daily successes and failures in the kitchen and was at several points ready to quit, but she didn’t. Jane Austen wrote and rewrote for years, submitting manuscripts that were rejected or never published before Sense and Sensibility was accepted in 1811. She chose, in an era of few opportunities for women outside of domestic life, not to marry and to write instead. She too followed her bliss. If it made her truly happy, we will most likely never know. Money was not her prime objective in writing, though it was most welcome. Julie Powell and Julia Child may not have chosen their bliss for pecuniary emolument either, but like Jane Austen it certainly brought them fame, and I hope a little happiness. 

Bon Appetite! 

Further adventures 

19 thoughts on “Some Thoughts on Julie & Julia & Jane & Blogging – in No Particular Order

  1. I love Amy Adams!
    Aside from the fact that she is pretty, she’s a really good actress.
    I will buy a copy of these. Are there DVDs for this already LA?

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  2. This is one of the few movies I can’t wait to see and will pay full price for. Meryl Streep as Julia Childs? A marriage made in heaven.

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    • Worth even penny of the $10.00 Vic. I would see it again in a heartbeat. The writer/director Nora Ephron did a fabulous job. You’ve Got Mail also one of her movies is a special fav. Cheers, LA

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  3. I find this concept so amazing— a few years ago we would have all said “blog? what’s a blog? What is a movie about a blog???” and now its like its own little world….

    I agree that saying follow you bliss is one thing– doing it is another, and it is rocky. I decided to make the jump nearly 2 years ago. I worked as a small town newspaper writer and would interview local people who wrote a book or became an artists and made livings at their passion. I would interview them, secretly trying to figure out their success, but the bottom line was— they just got up and DID it. It all just takes one step and then another….

    Sounds like this is a good movie! Im interested to see how the two lives twine together…

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    • Heather as someone who has followed your own bliss so successfully, my hat is off to you. You made it happen because you are talented, resourcefull, and determined. I applaud you! Thanks for stopping by, LA

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  4. I saw the movie this weekend also and I enjoyed it. My Dad did not like how, near the end, they threw the zinger on us about Julia Child not liking Julie Powell’s idea with no followup or at least some rationalization by Julie. Overall I thought it was great but I will say that I enjoyed the Julia Child moments much more than the Julie Powell ones. But I think that is to be expected. Certainly Julie Powell did a really neat thing but in the end, it’s all about Julia Child.

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    • I had the same reaction as your Dad to Julia Child not liking Julie’s blog. Ashocking!I kept wondering WHY? It was a great tribute to her legacy as the first American to be a super star chef on TV and cookbook author who changed the have we now cook and think of food. Meryl Streep did steal the movie. But doesn’t she always? Thanks for dropping by. LA

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  5. What a lovely post–a call to adventure for all who crave following a cherished dream :). In one of the inspirational books on my shelf–perhaps Simple Abundance–the reader is encouraged not to fall into the trap of thinking one has to have money in hand to pursue a passion. We’re advised to follow the dream *first* and let the money (potentially) follow… I think there’s a lot of wisdom in that. Even if riches don’t come, there’s still the joy of having done what we love for as long as possible.

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  6. Wonderful review, and I liked how you made it personal and relevant to your marvelous work at Austenprose.

    When I was in college and gnashing my teeth over what to major in, my brother told me to follow my heart and that everything else, namely career, would work itself out right if I did. He was right.

    Polonius was an old windbag but he got one thing right, to thine own self be true.

    Can’t wait to see the movie myself. I’m travelling next week, so maybe it will be one of the selections enroute!

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  7. Excellent post as always Laurel Ann – a fine tribute to this movie, Austen and “following your bliss”! I haven’t seen the movie yet but have heard wonderful reviews from friends – will add it to my ‘to-be-seen-pile’ which is almost as toppling as my ‘to-be-read-pile’…
    Deb

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  8. I loved the film, too! I found it especially inspiring for bloggers — and kept laughing at Julie hunched over her laptop, typing away. I knew very little about Julia Child and was fascinated by her life! Both actresses did a superb job. I’m a huge fan of Amy Adams.

    I get so much joy out of writing — and, in turn, blogging. Through great blogs like Austenprose and many others, we spend so much time discussing books and Austen for the sheer joy of it — simply because we love it. It’s certainly not making us rich. :) But “Julie & Julia” made me feel totally inspired about what it is we create here — and eager to keep it up!

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  9. Great post Laurel Ann!
    I love how you managed to connect it to Jane Austen’s life which is not what I would have thought of immediately ;)

    My sister said when she saw it, the theatre was full of senior citizens. When I saw it in Montreal, I was pleased to see that it sold out and folks of all ages in attendance for this poignant tale of two women who pursued their dreams. Who knew Julia Child would be so cool??

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  10. Thanks for writing about this movie Laurel Ann. I particularly appreciate your linking it to JA. And, since I haven’t read the two books, I was delighted to see there’s a huge connection of writing and blogging in the movie… what a pleasant surprise. And yes, a triumph for late bloomers. It’s never too late to follow your dream.

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  11. I saw J&J this weekend with my 15 yr. old daughter and husband–we all loved it! It’s rare to find a film that all of us can enjoy, but this one was perfect.

    What a wonderful celebration of dreams and the magic that can happen between a man and a woman! It was a treat from beginning to end.

    (And special kudos to Stanley Tucci who was marvelous.)

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