Thursday, June 16, 2005

Inspiration

When I was a kid I used to love watching The French Chef and trust me when I tell you it was not because of a budding interest in French cheffing. Like a lot of people, I just loved Julia Child. She was exuberantly goofy, warm, messy and real. Last night I watched a bio of her on PBS, which I found truly inspiring. Briefly, Julia was sort of a New England blueblood and a free-spirited child. She went to college but was no star there, and when she graduated her goal was something along the lines of "marriage-minded". She was interested in different things, but flitted around in a number of jobs, writing in her journal (or maybe a letter, I forget) in her twenties that she felt she had a great talent inside her but that she didn't know what it was and feared she was wasting it. Her father encouraged her to marry a wealthy Republican, but she said, "If I marry him I am sure I will become an alcoholic" refusing to marry for anything other than love, finally meeting her true love Paul Child well after all her contemporaries were married and having kids. Paul was solid but arty and worldly, and they moved to France where she fell in love with France's reverence for food, and at age forty decided to go to the Cordon Bleu (where she was supposed to be in a class for "wives" but pushed to get in with the guys). She was a slow learner there but did graduate a year later. Then she spent seven years working REALLY HARD on her cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, which got a few rejections before finding a home at Knopf (although Knopf himself said, "I'll eat my hat if this book does well"), and then she called up WGBH in Boston to do a little one-time promotional/demonstration spot and people wrote in saying how much they loved her and Julia became a star at age FORTY-NINE.
Do I even need to spell out why I mention this?
Today's the day, kids.
Bon Apetit!

8 comments:

B said...

ohhhhh....a star..PLEASE where fashionable sunglasses...because your future is so bright, you HAVE to wear shades!

B said...

and when I wrote where...it was supposed to be wear.

Teodoro Callate said...

I'm pretty sure Coltrane was 36 when he wrote/performed A Love Supreme, which depresses me because I'm 36 and not writing/performing A Love Supreme. The Beatles broke up when George Harrison was MAYBE 27. Which depresses me because I haven't nearly written Abbey Road yet.

So I'm glad to know that there is a chance that I can still become a famous French chef. Thank GOD!

Georganna Hancock said...

Happy Birthday! I loved Julia Child and her TV show, too.

Teodoro Callate said...

Oh Geez. Leave it to the dude to not figure that out. Happy Birthday, Betsy!!! And many morrrrreee........

thisbe said...

whoa! excuse me! did i really spend all yesterday afternoon with you without any mention that it happened to be your birthday even when we talked about old you are!?!?!?!?!? my lord: HAPPY now-belated BIRTHDAY you scoundrel!
(and by the way it was a wonderful reading last night--all the people from the summer writing festival buying your books in line downstairs, talking about how brilliantly wonderful you were and how the last chapter brought them to tears, which was true for me as well, so i know from whence they spoke, and anyway, it was just great, and your dad was so incredibly proud and just brimming with it all, and, well, so there: happy birthday ma'am!

Elizabeth Crane said...

Oh, no, I feel like such a bad writer now - yesterday was not my birthday! I suppose I can see how that was inferred (implied??? oy.) but by "Today's the day" in particular, I meant only to say - whatever it is anyone wants to to - like Julia - you can still do it! Just do it today! Even if you're forty-nine!
Thanks so much for the kind words, Thisbe, you are one awesome chiquita yourself.

jackie said...

At least you didn't spout that "That's why the present is a gift" platitude...

To quote Tim B., "If I spent half as much time taking action as I did bitching, I would've won the Nobel Fucking Prize by now." One of several of my new mantras.