Monday, August 17, 2009

dear mr. gable

Aside from a desire to cook and an ever increasing love of all things Meryl Streep, the recently released Julie & Julia,  the true story of the effect Julia Child has on a lowly office worker and writer from Queens, NY who decides to blog about her experiences cooking every recipe in Mastering The Art of French Cooking had a surprise message that I found just as comforting as strawberry shortcake. It is not only the story of Julie and Julia, but a story of anyone who has found inspiration in people that they have never met.

I've often felt a tinge of regret that I was never able to encounter or work with many of the people I most admire. One of the things I find so interesting about the film is the fact that Julie Powell does find out what Julia thinks of her and at first is devastated by the response. Julia Child read Julie's blog and was not impressed. In short, she thought she was disrespectful and not a true cook. This is touched on in the film and you can read Julie's recent response here. More than the story of these two women what I found most inspiring was the conclusion Julie comes to with the help of her husband. It does not matter if Julia Child did or did not understand what she was doing, all that mattered was the Julia Child that Julie had created for herself, and the Julia Child that completely changed her life.

In my heart of hearts I know that much as I wish it even if I were able to invent that blasted time machine I would not be the person I would wish and more than likely would not encounter those I most admire, especially as anything more than a girl in bobby socks behind a barricade. I know that Cary Grant will not have a seat reserved next to him at the bar in heaven between him and Deborah Kerr (and even if he did I would not be able to keep up with the Parkeresque repartee) and Myrna Loy is not observing my movements from some discreet cloud. And yet, in their exquisite shadow play these people have inexplicably altered the course of my life. These people that I never met and can never meet have touched and moulded as Julia Child shaped Julie Powell. And this is what is important.

(And it's probably best that Barbara Stanwyck isn't alive because I'm pretty sure if she knew I called her Babs she would hunt me down and brass knuckle me in the face.)

Cheers to the grand delusion.

Photograph taken by me at the Julia Child exhibit on display at the Smithsonian Institute.

8 comments:

  1. Meredith: Interesting post! It got me thinking about what my favorite stars have given me; how they have moved or influenced me. The stoic toughness of John Garfield; the essential loneliness of Bogart; the cool, yet sexy smarts of Myrna Low. And, of course, the grit and determination of Edward Wood! Thanks for setting my thoughts in motion!

    Oh, and again we are off on how tough Stanwyck was. Jeez! -- Mykal

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  2. Hear, hear! It always depresses me to hear that any actor I am in love with is a complete asshole in real life, but I have to remind myself that the person I am in love with or look up to, the person I see on the screen, is someone totally different than the person they might actually be, and that shouldn't matter. Because even if Jimmy Stewart like, Idunno, molested children in real life, it wouldn't really change the fact that his performance in It's a Wonderful Life has always made me weep with joy and appreciate life (and Christmas!) that much more.*

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  3. Mykal-glad i got the wheels turning. and always. :D

    toast-haha well we will hope that jimmy stewart didn't molest children, but you are absolutely right and i feel the same way about him.

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  4. What an insightful and well-expressed post. This bit...

    "In my heart of hearts I know that much as I wish it even if I were able to invent that blasted time machine I would not be the person I would wish and more than likely would not encounter those I most admire, especially as anything more than a girl in bobby socks behind a barricade."

    ...made me smile quite a lot, for that's how I feel-- many feel, probably. Thanks for sharing. :)

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  5. thanks for the kind response juliette. :)

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  6. What a wonderful post -- and so very true. I'm torn between wanting to meet those I admire the most, and not wanting to "let daylight in upon magic". As you've pointed out, perhaps it is best to be grateful for the way the person has affected one's life, and leave it at that. And enjoy the fantasy that there would be a place next to Cary Grant, reserved especially for you.

    (Just so you know, A.C. led me to this post. And I am grateful.)

    When you see Cary, tell him I said hello.

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  7. Thank you so much for the wonderful comment, it very much complements what you deem a wonderful post. :) I will be sure to tell him when I see him.

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