Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Profile of a Blogger

I went to see the movie "Julie & Julia" yesterday. I had been anticipating it with much excitement as I love Nora Ephron, Amy Adams, Meryl Streep and the whole subject of cooking and what started Julia Childs down the road of being "Julia Childs". She seemed like the most unlikely person in the world to have such a career on television, in my opinion. To a small town Kansas girl, she made the strangest foods and spent so much time getting food I considered "strange" on the table. But I had fun watching her and decided at an early age that if this woman could make the messes she made and dirty every pot and bowl in her kitchen making a meal, then perhaps it was something I was capable of doing. Through the years and exposure to other places besides Kansas, even those strange foods are now considered first class and yummy by this former Kansas girl.

I have always loved writing but haven't worked it and crafted it like I should have through the years. I've had many people say I do it well and should do more of it. So, this year I decided to try my hand at blogging. I knew that I'd probably be talking to myself, but I would still be practicing the art. I have to admit that I felt jealousy that when the character Julie Powell, in the movie, started blogging she quickly became the "3rd most popular blog" on her blogging network, with real live followers. But more than that, I was struck by a comment that her husband made during a big fight. He said that bloggers were self-absorbed individuals. I guess because I consider myself a blogger, even though I only really have two followers, I felt very defensive at this. And I've been wondering since what a truer definition of a blogger would be. Dictionary.com defines it as "Someone that keeps a Web log (blog) or publish an online diary." Merriam-Webster's defines it as "a Web site that contains an online personal journal with reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks provided by the writer." I have to admit that both definitions point to a large involvement in "self" by using the words diary, personal and reflections. I don't seem to be helping my cause here at all. I consider alot of the blogs I personally follow and have to admit most have a personal nature or agenda regarding their own personal beliefs on a given subject. Health-related blogs I follow regarding food allergies set out to debunk alot of misinformation that is commonly found. They use advertisers that supports their opinions, as well as provide a living. Granted, much less self-serving but not altogether altruistic.

But, how does that differ from, say, a writer? Is there a difference between a blogger and a full-fledged, bonafide, published writer of, let's say, novels? I know this is just my opinion, but being a self-absorbed blogger, I guess I have that privilege. My belief is no, there are no differences in writing a book versus writing a blog. Considering the arguments that Julie Powell's husband had, both get wrapped up in their writing, in the story, in the characters. For Julie, Julia Childs became her alter ego, her id, her constant companion. She made a very generous gesture at the end of the story by leaving a pound of butter at the Smithsonian exhibit of Julia Childs' kitchen. It was her way of showing her final words of "I love you, Julia" to her muse, her confidante. Because as any real French cook would know, a pound of butter is needed in any great recipe. Writing may be self-absorbed, but its breath to it's creator. It's a physical need as easily as it is a mental need. It's the notes to instrument, the lyrics to the song, the paint on the canvas. And everyone is the better for all the self-absorbed writers in the world.

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