Friday, August 07, 2009

blogging on a rainy day

I’ve been blogging long enough (daily, for 5.5 years) that I have given some thought, at various points, to what I am doing and why I’m doing it. I started carelessly, in imitation of bogs that I liked, but I hope that over the years I have been more deliberate, less rash, less audience driven.

The Internet has no editors or censors. Bloggers develop their own parameters of what’s right, what’s appropriate. When you first post, it’s like having your youthful alcoholic beverage – you don’t know the limits. Smart bloggers learn quickly enough where not to go.

It’s a rainy day. I don’t have evening work hours at the shop to overwhelm my schedule. It’s also the opening night of Julie and Julia, the movie about the blogger and the cook.

Well of course I would be looking forward to it! We buy three tickets to the very first show. So early that we take coffee rather than popcorn into the theater.


Did I like the movie? Yes, of course. Quite a lot, in fact. But what stuck in my head afterward was the little vignette introduced toward the end of the film, when it becomes evident that Julia Child was not keen on endorsing Julie Powell's blog. (In case you haven’t followed the trailers, the premise of the story is this: Julie writes a daily blog about a year of cooking from Julia Child’s fantastically wonderful book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking.)

My initial reaction to this little piece of the story was sadness. I admire Julia Child tremendously. I have her books, I’ve read her biography, I’ve laughed at her audaciousness. I don’t want to think of her as dismissive toward a plucky, insignificant blogger.

But when you think of it, is it wrong to be cautious about endorsing a puny, inconsequential (at least before Nora Ephron got her hands on it) blog like Julie's? Especially if, like Julia Child, you possess a superb talent and you have devoted years of effort to the presentation of your cooking ideas, for others to enjoy?

It’s still raining outside. Late in the evening, I’m cooking again. For daughters. It’s not a big production, but it’s some of our favorites – rosti (a potato dish of Swiss origin), beef in mustard sauce, spicy corn. I’m not an especially creative cook, but I’m plenty competent, in the way that people who have cooked daily dinners from fresh ingredients for some thirty-five years are bound to be competent enough.

Then I blog. Competently, in the way that people who have blogged daily from fresh ingredients for some five plus years are bound to be competent enough. Think of a theme, type, edit and post. How hard is that...

Sometimes, like cooking from scratch, it’s very, very hard. And sometimes, like a souffle, a post can flop. And you can kick it under the table and hope that tomorrow you'll be sharper and just that much more insightful. Like trying for a better souffle. Only you don't have fifteen years to improve it. Just a day. Never more than a day.