Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Samuel Pepys via Julie Powell

I've been reading Julie Powell's blog, "The Julie/Julia Project," whenever I can manage. It is, in turns, fascinating, horrifying, awe-inspiring, and exhausting. I think Julie Powell would be the type of woman (maybe she's not anymore, I don't know, but back then, during the Project) that was great to go to bars with, would hand me a vodka gimlet as soon as I walked through her door (if we were friends- it'd be odd if she was offering drinks to strangers), and could discuss the making of a proper Hollandaise with me at length (why wouldn't there be more lemon??).

Today, I read her entry from March 4, 2003. As usual, funny with a dash of desperation and straying off-topic (I want a monkey, too!).

There's a bit near the end there where she talks about her current reading material, the diaries of Samuel Pepys. Mrs. Powell's words:

You know, I’m on my second year of the Samuel Pepys diaries. This guy wrote every single day for nine years, and about ninety percent of it is about eating a good barrel of oysters and drinking and being very merry and picking up some new books and drinking and going to work, where not much to do, and drinking. Can be pretty stultifying on a day-to-day basis. But it’s addictive too, because everyone once in awhile he goes to see nine men drawn and quartered, or masturbates while thinking about his friend’s daughter, or witnesses the Great Fire of London.

I like to think I’m like that.

This is the exact blog post that has made me a fan of Julie Powell. I know that there's a lot of personal stuff that happened after her first book was published, and I know how I feel about the players in said drama now, while I'm in a time warp in 2003. But I think she's just swung my vote- I will be on her side, I think, by the time I read her books.

Blogs can be meaningless shoeboxes crammed full of old movie stubs, ragged friendship bracelets (WHY did we wear those??), the first rose received from that first significant other (what's his name?), and a plethora of other cliches. But when done with thought and care and passion, blogs can be lasting, impressive work, without the frustration of trying to get published but with the satisfaction of getting thoughts and ideas out there.

People all want a voice, and for that voice to be heard. This is never more apparent than when reading the blog of someone who didn't know, at the time, that their angry/annoyed/ecstatic/raving/ranting pounding away on a keyboard would amount to a book deal/movie/call from their hero/free sandwich.

I'm not sure what I want. I certainly have no theme to my blog- it's not goal-oriented, like the Julie/Julia Project, it does not delve very deeply into my personal life, like Dooce (I love Heather Armstrong, but I will never understand how she talks about ... all that in such a public setting. More power to her!), and it's certainly not for profit (though if it must be, I would want it to be like Etsy).

My blog is still a shoebox. I'm working on finding a more permanent container, but for now, my ratty old shoebox works juuuust fine.