Wednesday, December 30, 2009

.remote controllin' my destiny.

I've been writing every day for three weeks now and it feels really good to be able to say that. I've been consistent - posting blogs, or if I had nothing to post, working on something else. I'm proud of that, but's only been three weeks. I'd like to keep it up. I'm trying to think of a name for the zine I'm writing. I'm going to include stories about family, friends, the past few years, a few how-to articles and some poems from a project I started in the summer but never completed.

When I haven't been working on the novel(s) or blogging here, I have been posting reviews and commentary at my other blog/online zine, Positive Bleeding Zine. Beginning January 1st, I am starting a project in which I watch and write about the AFI Top 100 films of all time. But I don't want to just write reviews - these are all older movies, they've been around awhile and they have surely spawned many a critical essay already. I guess what I am hoping for is that watching these supposed "life-changing" films might open me up for something and I think I'd rather write about the experience of that. I'll still be writing reviews of other movies, etc. in the in-between time, but I want to do something different for this project. It's only 100 movies and I haven't given myself a deadline to have completed them - just a deadline to start. I guess I will play it by ear.
I mentioned back on December 15th that I had planned to post my thoughts on the book Julie & Julia...and then I never did. Here's what I wrote about it and forgot to post:

I recently finished the Julie Powell book Julie & Julia, about how this one woman - nearing the age of thirty, working as a temp and not knowing exactly how she wanted to proceed toward her future - decided to work her way through every one of the 524 recipes in Julia Child's Mastering The Art of French Cooking. She begins her story by telling us how close she is to the end of her rope - she sees a woman on the subway platform who is chattering to herself. Everyone is moving away from her because she's a little scary, even Julie...only, in the briefest moment, she sees herself in that woman. She feels like she's going crazy and she's got to do something to ground herself. When she gets home, she makes a really delicious potato soup and then her husband - who spends much of the book being described as the most supportive, inspiring, patient mate anyone could dream of - tells her that she should be a cook. She poo-poos the idea - it would mean she'd have to go back to school, she'd have to have money to do that, etc. Then he says she should start a blog and write about her cooking...and the idea for the project is born.

I really liked Julie Powell. She came across as a little bit nerdy with a lot of dry wit. Allow me to demonstrate. Here are a few quotes from Julie at her niftiest:

"From LA I got a bar of Scharffen Berger chocolate, some ancho mustard, and a messenger bag that was made especially for the cast and crew of Laurel Canyon, a movie I love because - seriously? - girl-on-girl action just doesn't get any better than Fran-McDormand-on-Kate-Beckinsale."

"It occurs to me that I've never adequately explained my devotion to Buffy The Vampire Slayer. This is partly because I hesitate to put into words an emotion so delicate and precious, and partly because I have just a bit of residual shame at being obsessed with anything involving Sarah Michelle Gellar. Buffy The Vampire Slayer is - for those of you who've spent the last ten years living under a rock where the public schools ban Harry Potter for promoting sorcery - a television show, known to its devout following simply as Buffy."

She goes on about Buffy for awhile. In fact, she mentions the show in scattered passages throughout the book - which, if you know me, you know that makes me giddy all on its own. Yay for total geekdom!

And then there's this bit about her friend, Isabel that I especially like:

"The nice thing about having a friend who is crazier than you are is that she bolsters your belief in your own sanity. How could I worry too much about the wisdom of cooking my way through MtAoFC for no particular reason when Isabel was concocting a business plan for midcentury-style fuck-furniture, and asking my mom to be a consultant?"

Experiencing this book was interesting for me, because it was like looking through a mirror at another mirror. Julie was looking to Julia Child to inspire her; I guess, in a way, I was looking to this book to do the same for me. I, too, have been trying to figure out what to do with my life - and how to do it. It's so funny to say this book inspired me, but it really did. It started me really thinking about what I could do and how I could do it. I guess you could say it made me hungry in two ways - hungry for buttery comfort foods, since most of the foods that didn't contain meat were desserts, and hungry for something to happen. When I say it's funny, what I mean is I found all the talk about food as fascinating as Powell's sarcastic lamentations about her life - and it says a lot when a vegetarian like me finds herself absorbed in chapters about cooking live lobster. That's not to say I wasn't cringing and feeling sorry for the lobster, but who am I to say what people should eat? And it did, I have to say, make for some engrossing, enlightening reading.
I also meant to post the assignments from Learning To Love You More that I had decided to do (because I love Miranda July and I think the idea is inspired, a word I seem to be using a lot lately). I didn't because I haven't completed them, but now I think I'll post the list of assignments and what I have so far. I'll re-post these with the rest once I'm done:

1. #63 - Make an encouraging banner.
2. #54 - Draw the news.
3. #53 - Give advice to yourself in the past.
4. #51 - Describe what to do with your body when you die.
5. #50 - Take a flash photo under your bed.
6. #49 - Draw a picture of your friend's friend.
7. #42 - List five events from 1984.
8. #35 - Ask your family to describe what you do.
9. #32 - Draw a scene from a movie that made you cry.
10. #27 - Take a picture of the sun.

That's the ten assignments I'm doing. Here are #50, #27, and #32. I did two for #27 - one on a sunny day and another on a cloudy day.  



#27 part deux


And speaking of conceptual art, I really love Yoko Ono's Twitter feed. That woman is pure awesomeness distilled.

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