Following the lives of Julia Child (Streep) and Julie Powell (Adams), the movie highlighted the parallels that these two women faced in their lives, whilst somehow managing to draw out their individualities as well and overall creating a fascinating film.
Julia Child was the wife of an American diplomat who, in 1949, was moved to France as part of his work. Unsure how to spend her days, Child discovered a love of cooking and went on to learn and master French cuisine, eventually writing a definitive recipe book to get such creative cookery into the homes of everyday housewives across America.
Julie Powell was working in a soul-sucking job in post-9/11 Manhattan with an unpublished novel and a burning desire to find some sort of meaning in her life. Deciding to challenge herself to ‘cook her way’ through Julia Child’s cookbook within one year (524 recipes, mind you!), Powell forms the challenge in the form of writing down her experience in a blog.
Before she knew it, Powell was among the first people in the world to be approached by publishers to turn her blogging into a book deal, and one of the first that would seek income come from her casual blogging hobby.
The stories I’d heard from my friends whom had been ‘professionally blogging’ since early 2002 (around the same Powell was going ‘viral’) were inspiring and exciting; just the sort of fuel I needed for a fire I had burning inside me.
Sitting down after work one night, I plotted out an idea that had been tapping the back of my mind for a while, it only having taken form after watching the film. I was pumped to get started, but practiced restraint enough to properly decide the angles and method that I was going to take to deliver my stories to the world.
Discussing my plans with my wife we both decided that, if nothing else, it would be incredibly cathartic to write what I was planning, and so I purchased a domain name and got to work crafting the blog theme from scratch.
I’d commissioned an artist from the UK by the name of Willie Hewes to design me three ‘mascot’ caricatures of myself in my wedding outfit, with Jack ‘The Artful Dodger’ Dawkins as inspiration for the overall emotion and design.
My plan was that I would write up as much as I could prior to my blog launch date, and set a heap of posts to be auto-posted at a regular time each day of the week. I wasn’t as organised as I’d hoped, and when the day came around, only about a week of content had been pre-written. I powered through regardless, I’d come this far!
I decided to call my blog “It Takes 10 Years To Become An Orphan” because only a short time before my birthday I’d finally cut all contact with my mother, who was my last remaining family (that really mattered, given the rest of the extended family had had no interest in my life during the ten years since I’d left home and were just as self-serving as she was) – essentially rendering me an orphan.
Ten years to the day would be the date of the final post, which was February 13th 2011. Technically this would mean I had 190 days from my birthday (August 8th 2010) to the ten year anniversary of my leaving home (February 13th 2011), however I ended up using an extra five days either side of the dates to set-up and wind-down the blog after the mammoth seven month writing journey.
I was to write every single day, preparing and editing and posting the stories in chronological order (including photo and image editing), and this was going to work out to be almost more than I and my relationship could take.
The launch date of August 8th 2010 rolled around, and my first post went up. It was a two-parter, with the second post coming the next day. After that came a ‘prelude’ to the entire story, which described how I came be kicked out of home in the first place (more on that soon).
I had to adjust my blog’s about page and put a ‘disclaimer’ on the site, stating that it was all from my point-of-view and were my recollections of events, because of course my litigious-happy parents threatened to sue.
Regardless, I pushed ahead through the initial criticisms and wildly idiotic responses I got from people who weren’t even anywhere close to involved with my family, and kept writing out my story.
With the first week up and live, I’d received mostly positive responses, and a bunch of empathy from friends who’d never known the whole story as to exactly how and why I left home at seventeen.
For the sake of brevity, I was kicked out of home for two reasons: 1) was because of an irreconcilable relationship breakdown with my parents after they discovered my spiritual beliefs, and 2) after an altercation I had with my brother whom has mild cerebral palsy.
After spending a week out of home in late October 2010 after they found me out and I refused to acquiesce to their demands, I found that home life was consistently deteriorating with each passing week, until finally in early February 2011 my brother threw a hammer at my head while I was up a ladder and I kicked him in the shin in retaliation. My lack of restraint was cause enough for my parents to decide they couldn’t handle me anymore and resolved to kick me out.
From there we travel across ten years of apparent forgiveness, emotional betrayals, and straight-up emotional manipulation until I’d finally had enough of the games and bullshit and called it quits.
After The Blog Was Done
While writing the blog posts and stories of my past, I attracted the attention of some of the bigger Australian publishing houses on Twitter and skirted the idea of turning my blog into a memoir; rewriting the whole thing to have a narrative arc that weaved all the seemingly unrelated stories into one larger story.
This is still the plan, however that plan has evolved and will span not only the Orphan story, but the ten years prior AND after as well.
To facilitate this, I’m going to spend the next handful of years intermittently writing and rewriting my 30 year memoir story here on this blog, to solidify the stories of my past and to properly prepare for a publishing deal.
Who knows, I might just self-publish the story if it doesn’t pick up any attention 😛
Where To From Here?
From here, I’m going to be writing various blog posts on a range of topics, but if you happen to see one of the three mascots below in a thumbnail, then you can bet it’s going to be a story from one of those three decades.
The working titles, for those who are interested, are:
- It Takes 10 Years To Get Kicked Out Of Home
- It Takes 10 Years To Become An Orphan
- It Takes 10 Years To Start Again
I’m not planning to write in chronological order this time, but I have copious notes on all three decades to provide me with plenty of story fodder for your reading pleasure.
Come, peer into my world and read my life as the open book that it is!