When I tell people about the concept of my blog, I've often gotten the response: "It's just like Julie & Julia!" At first, I was reluctant to agree. I wanted my project to seem unique. But, let's face it: this blog is really just like Julie & Julia. But with sewing.
I've come to terms with that. Working in book publishing, I know that it's very common to hear new projects explained by what they have in common with successful ventures. A manuscript will often be pitched by an agent as "Twilight meets Harry Potter - but with zombies!" or something ridiculous like that. But, however absurd, this kind of pitch does actually accomplish the goal at hand: to make the reader understand the new project by adding context of an already established project.
And anyway, the similarities really are inescapable. In Julie & Julia (the book), an underemployed 30-year-old New Yorker with a sweet husband and a passion for cooking decides to start a blog project in which she cooks every recipe in an old cookbook and writes about it. In my humble story, an unemployed 30-year-old New Yorker with a sweet husband and a passion for sewing decides to start a blog project in which she sews every pattern in an old sewing book and writes about it. (Not that I'm saying Vogue's New Book for Better Sewing has the following of Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Let's not be silly!)
So fine. I am the Julie & Julia of sewing blogs.
So, since the film version of Julie & Julia released today and both Jeff (the sweet husband) and I had the afternoon off, we decided to go on a little date. I put on my full, gathered skirt and first we went to the little French restaurant across the street for croque monsieurs and Oranginas. (Is there anything more festive than an Orangina? I don't think so.) Then we walked over to the neighborhood cinema to see the film.
So, as you might know, the movie is based in equal parts on two books: Julia Child's My Life in France and Julie Powell's Julie & Julia. I was very struck by how both women's stories were about having a passion for something, and sharing it with the world in some medium. It was also about how that singleness of purpose plays out within the confines of a marriage.
In the Julia Child story (in which Meryl Streep is completely delightful), Julia's obsession with her art seemed to bring her closer with her husband, and the relationship story was one of utter adoration and support. In Julie Powell's story, her obsession veers into narcissism and causes her to alienate her husband.
My husband tirelessly listens to me talk about my sewing and my blog, and I hope that each of us having creative pursuits is something that unites us rather than divides us. In any case, the movie was a good reminder to me that the point of having a creative outlet is to connect us with the world, not disconnect us from it.
I was struck again by the many moments in which Julie Powell's story mirrored mine. The thrilling moment when she published her first post. The day she turned 30, an age which suddenly didn't seem so scary now that she had a bigger project in mind for her life. The meltdowns when projects went awry. The triumphs when they didn't.
In any case, the movie gave me a lot of food for thought (ha ha). Oh, and the clothes! Julia Child's story takes place, in part, in 50's Paris, and there was a party scene in which she was wearing a divine silk shirtwaist - with pockets!- and I thought how all you vintage pattern fanatics would die over it. Fabulous.
Do any of you plan on seeing this? I'd love to hear your thoughts, as creative types and as bloggers.
P.S. For the record, I want Zooey Deschanel to play me in the movie version of my blog.