Last night I managed to stay up long enough to watch Julie & Julia. Actually, I had problems going to sleep after watching it, which is saying something. I just loved the film and the performance of both leading actresses, especially Meryl Streep. She had me laughing one minute and moved to tears the next. What I most related to, however, was the story of Julie Powell. She was a writer (or wanted to be one) who ended up doing a job which sucked the life out of her and reduced her to tears on a bad day. She wanted to write and she wanted to share her writing. All this I could empathise with. I am not saying I end up crying because of work (actually I did a few times) or that I am a writer, but like her I feel like I’m still waiting for my career to start.
Before falling pregnant I was climbing some sort of ladder in retail management and I loved it. I felt like I was going somewhere but since moving to the smaller island (or the ‘wrong’ island as a friend likes to call it) I feel like I’ve been living someone else’s life. This isn’t how things were supposed to go…or were they? When I’m having a bad day (after whining for a couple of hours) I think about how different things would have been in my life hadn’t I landed in this shop…I would have never met my husband (I had noticed him a couple of years before we actually first spoke in this shop…but that’s a different post altogether), I would have lost many hours of my daughter’s life (commuting between the islands takes up a total of 4 hrs a day!) and I wouldn’t be here, writing again. Like Julie, I love writing. In my teens I felt different from my friends because I loved all the things which were considered to be nerdy (classical music, reading Dostoevsky, writing poems, ballet). I wanted to fit in so I hardly ever shared this side of me. Eventually, when I was 14 I found a way of enjoying both worlds. I wrote a ‘novel’, the main characters of which were my three best friends and myself. It was called ‘An Impossible Triangle’ and chronicled the adventures (mostly of a romantic nature) of its four heroines. It has since gone missing and its disappearing is a mystery considering there were around 200 pages of typewritten pages(yes, typewritten…we’re talking about 20 years ago).
After that, we all moved on to University or our first job and I made new friends who were more like me (nerds, that is). I could finally be myself! Or so I thought… My course required me to translate non-stop for 5 years and that, coupled with some very active years in students’ councils, left me little time (or inspiration) to write. Since then I’ve started writing again but always threw away or deleted all I wrote because, in the end, keeping a record of my musings was not the point. The act of writing in itself was therapy enough and helped me through many difficult times.
Back to the film, at a certain point Julie is out with old girlfriends and they all talk about their high-powered jobs. She feels out of place and inadequate. That’s another thing I could relate to. Whenever I’m out with my old girlfriends (my co-heroines in ‘An Impossible Triangle’) I feel like I’m still 20 and they’re these grown women, with their Blackberries, houses and property all over the islands and salaries I can’t even dream of earning.
So the film, and consequently Julie’s story, gives me hope. I too can become a best-selling writer and my books can be made into films. Watch this space! 😀