Over the past couple of weeks, many people (friends, family, strangers, Nanny, baristas) have recommended that I go see the movie Julie & Julia. I'd seen the movie posters on local bus stops, the portrait of two women, two different women, separated by a generation and one measly letter in their first names. The poster was fine. I'm a fan of Nora Ephron, and Meryl Streep rocks, but I wasn't overly tempted. I figured that I'd see the movie at some point.
Well, I did. Last night. In case you are clueless like I was before 7:50 last evening, Julie & Julia follows gastronomical goddess Julia Child, and Julie, a thirty-year-old wanna-be writer who starts blogging her way through Julia Child's famous cookbook. The movie is clever and compelling, jumping back and forth between the lives of these two women who had in many ways been "saved" by food. The story is far from revolutionary, follows a solid Ephron-esque recipe, but is undeniably charming. The audience even clapped at the end.
There is one scene where the endearing Stanley Tucci who plays Julia Child's husband stands and toasts his wife. He says, "You are the butter to my bread, the breath to my life." I loved this line. How can you not love this line? I wished I had come up with it. I wished I had said it to Husband over good food and wine. But I realized even then in that escapist movie-bliss moment that people don't spontaneously utter poetic analogies. And that I would never have said it to Husband because he hates butter. Hates. But I still loved those words. Bread and butter. Breath and life. Simple things. Profound things.
But as I watched the movie, this friendly movie, I started wondering whether I should be at all offended that so many people wanted me to see it. Yes, it is about a thirty-year-old blogger. Ring a bell? And this blogger starts blogging for predictable, benign reasons: to escape the disillusionment of her Yuppie existence, to achieve short term goals, to write. But as time passes, she grows obsessed and self-involved, so caught up in her own fiction of quasi-celebrity that she almost ruins her marriage. She throws herself so wholeheartedly into her online world that she nearly sacrifices the true joys in her real world.
So, this movie, while presumably a tasty little treat for the masses, got me thinking. As we walked out of the packed theater, I joked to Husband. I said: I'm not like that, right? I don't get so absorbed that I disappear, do I? And he smiled. And rubbed my back. And then said one word.
Sometimes. Sometimes I disappear from my life to be here. When I heard that one dagger of a word, honestly and lovingly uttered, I flirted with the idea of stopping. Cold turkey. It's not worth it. But then I halted short of that dramatic conclusion. On the walk home, I had a silent and heated and very Aidan-esque debate with myself. Yes, it is worth it. I am doing this for reasons I might not yet grasp in their entirety. I am doing this because it makes me happy. I am doing this because I need to.
And today. Today, I'm still thinking about that charming movie. And the reasons why. The reasons why I don't cook. Ever. The reasons why I do blog. The reasons why I am sitting here, holed up in my study, staring into pixels when I could be out in the world staring into the eyes of my man and my girls. And my reasons aren't yet refined, or compelling. But my reasons exist, hovering like shadows. Loyal. Persistent. Protective.
I'm doing this because, for now, I must. Not simply because I want to sell books. Not simply because my agent wants me to. Not simply because I want oodles of comments and affirmation. I'm doing this today - and every day -- because if I don't take a few moments each day to write about what matters to me - whether it's a sleek tub or silly toy or a charming movie - I worry that the Me might be swept up in the ocean of Everyone Else, that my words, my clumsy but honest words, will vaporize in the air of a world far bigger than just me. I don't want that to happen. And maybe that is selfish. Maybe it is.
But Husband and my girls? They are the butter to my bread, the breath to my life. They are it for me. I guess I'm just realizing something, something a bit more complicated that Hollywood soundbites. That something: What is butter without a hearty piece of bread? And what is breath without a healthy soul to pass through?