Sunday, September 5, 2010

Hooked on Books: A Double Session with Self Reflection

I recently finished reading Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. If you have any contact with the outside world, you know that this book is a New York Times Best Seller and its popularity has recently surged due to the movie version’s release starring Julia Roberts.

Eat Pray Love is sort of a typical, “Woman has inner conflict- thinks getting a divorce and dating men very different from her husband will help her-discovers like most post divorcees that men are not the answer to everything- goes on a year long travel voyage through Italy, India, and Bali-with lots of soul searching,” type of story. Of course everything falls into place for Elizabeth and she lives happily ever after and is at peace with herself.

Despite my hints of sarcasm, I did enjoy Eat Pray Love. Perhaps I am just jealous that Elizabeth Gilbert was paid in advance to go on her self reflecting journey, by her publishing company as long as she wrote a book about it...a book that as mentioned above, would go on to be a New York Times Best Seller and million dollar movie. I would like to throw it out there that if anyone wants to pay for me to travel the world; I am willing. Unlike Elizabeth, I wouldn’t leave my husband to do so.

A few months back, I did a very backwards thing and saw the movie Julie and Julia, before reading the book by Julie Powell. Julie and Julia is also a New York Times Best Seller and the movie received excellent reviews as well as some Oscar nominations.

Julie and Julia is about Julie Powell and her search for something more. Julie is a young wife, living the same boring life, day in and day out, while commuting to and from her underwhelming government job. Julie is stuck in a rut as the only thing exciting that seems to happen to her is when her garbage disposal breaks. Julie decides to take on something bigger than her, in hopes of finding a life outside of the subway and her job. She cooks her way through Julia Child’s cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and blogs about it. Despite multiple domestic arguments and some not so masterful French meals, Julie finds her “something more.” It may have helped that Julie’s blog became a worldwide phenomenon, she was interviewed by multiple news sources, was offered a book deal, and the book became a million dollar movie.

Although the book was somewhat different than the movie, (which I loved) I enjoyed it. The Julie in the movie was definitely more lovable and I preferred her to the real life fowl mouthed Julie of the book. Nevertheless, Julie and Julia was the perfect read for me at the perfect time, because not only do I love cooking.......and butter… but I also had just started my very own blog.

Eat Pray Love and Julie and Julia are of course not exactly the same, but both with similar soul searching-independent women tones and happily ever after endings.

My “Why I started a blog” story fits somewhere between Julie Powell and Elizabeth’s Gilbert’s stories, but without such deep highs and lows. I was in a rut of some sort. My rut didn’t have any deep rooted issues with my marriage, childhood, or lack of contentment with my job. It just had to do with me. Luckily, (or unluckily?) I didn’t have to go to India or cook my way through a French cookbook to pull myself out of it.

My husband, being the helpful guy that he is, suggested a blog. At first, like usual, I thought his idea was silly. Instead I started doing things that I always dreamed about doing but for some reason never did. For example: I bought a beach cruiser with a basket and started riding it around town. This made me smile. In fact, if you look closely the next time you see someone riding a beach cruiser, particularly if they have a basket, look for a smile. I made it my mission to seek that smile. I found that smile in many of the things I blog about.

Elizabeth Gilbert writes in Eat Pray Love, “People universally tend to think that happiness is a stroke of luck, something that will maybe descend upon you like fine weather if you’re fortunate enough. But that’s not how happiness works. Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes travel around the world looking for it.”

Almost a year later, I was continually seeking happiness and feeling it, when my friend Sharon told me she had started a blog. She told me how she used to be in journalism and loved writing. I had a similar story being on the high school newspaper editorial staff. I was always more excited than any normal high school student should be when an English essay was assigned. Sharon told me I should write a blog. I recalled Danny’s idea from a year earlier. I felt a little flutter in my heart, I SHOULD write a blog: A blog about happiness, a blog about the silly little things in my life that have helped me to be me.

Elizabeth found her way by traveling around the world. Julie found hers by a love of cooking, Julia Child, and blogging. I found mine by actually doing what makes me happy. The three of us have our happily ever after, the other two just wound up with a multiple book deals and few million more dollars than I have, but that’s alright because I’ve got my slightly silly world.


  1. I love reading your blogs :o) I especially like your silly sometimes sarcastic commentary, keeps it light and makes me smile :o) thanks for going with your heart, and Danny's advice, and deciding to create a blog.

  2. Love it my little blogger friend! Our books and million dollar movie deals are not too far off in the future. Your description of Eat, Pray, Love is spot on. I like the book (if I ever finish it) better than the movie, just the opposite with Julie and Julia.

    I love your blog, and if I inspired you to start it, then I am doubly content with the outcome.

  3. Leticia, Thank you so much for your sweet comment! I had no idea you read my blog...I'm glad you enjoy it :)

    Sharon, I feel the same way about both books/movies...well I haven't seen the Eat Pray Love movie yet, but from what I've heard, this is how I will feel...

    Thanks for the inspiration, I look forward to the book and movie deals!