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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Star (er, Blogger-Turned-Author) Struck

My excuse for not blogging yesterday is really, really good. If you haven’t figured it out yet, see the above photo of my very own signed copy of Julie Powell’s new book. Because I met Julie Powell last night. In person! The woman who wrote a book about blogging her way to Hollywood while mastering Julia Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking”! The woman who inspired my blogging!

Is that geeky? Because until last night, I didn’t realize how much of a geek I really am. I’ve always been a little bit of a nerd, yes, but last night I was almost embarrassed to be seen with myself. I sat in the front row at a tiny bookshop called Books Inc., one seat to the left of the aisle, so as to be noticed by Julie. She would read from her new memoir. My violent heart thumped against my ribcage at the thought of meeting her, the dorky blogger-turned-author who worked as a temp most of her life, answering phones and making coffee for her chauvinistic superiors. There’s nothing cool about that. But still, my heart wouldn’t decelerate. (The real reason I know I’m a geek, though, is because I have no desire to see the hit movie that stemmed from her first book. And if it were Amy Adams at the bookstore instead of Julie Powell, acting out a scene? I probably wouldn’t have gone.)

Fifteen minutes before the reading started, there were just two other people ready and waiting in their metal folding chairs – and they looked to be about 80 years old. (This is another reason I know I’m a nerd.) The shriveled man and woman absently flipped through the pages of the Chronicle, their wrinkled noses about an inch from the paper, their backs crooked like question marks. I wanted to iron their faces, make them smooth.

Are they lost? I asked myself. Do they know how often Julie drops the f-bomb? Are they going to be okay with that? Do they know how inappropriate she can be? I wondered if she’d drop f-bombs tonight; kids were roaming the shop with their moms, for jeez’s sake. I wondered which passages she’d read from her new memoir. I wondered if I should tell her about my blog, about the way her book Julie & Julia motivated me to write every day, to blog my way to Hollywood... I started to sweat. I looked around, embarrassed to be so jumpy.

Finally, Julie started reading. In one account, she illustrated the act of cutting open an animal – did I mention her book is about butchery? – and the way it feels to wipe raw cow flesh from her face. In the next account, she described her love affair, her broken marriage, and the guilt associated with being a “skank” and lying to her husband. Somehow these two stories make sense together in the book, but I haven’t read the book yet so I'm still thoroughly confused. Regardless, the passages were intriguing, so I bought the hard cover for a whopping $27.95.

When it was time for Q and A, the granny shaped like a question mark raised her hand and asked: “If you say you’re a skank, how would you compare yourself to (Julie & Julia film director) Nora Ephron’s skankiness?” The audience exploded in laughter, and Julie’s face became a strawberry.

I guess granny wasn’t lost, after all.


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  1. Better a nerd than a skank. Though I'm not sure about the geek/skank debate.

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