So I watched Julie and Julia last night and came away with two impressions. The first is that I could have watched an entire movie based on the story between Julia Child and her husband Paul. They were played so effortlessly by Meryl Streep and Stanley Tucci that you just wanted to be their friend and soak up their absolute love and devotion. Swoon.
The second is that writing is, in itself, the ends justifying the means.
Let me explain. So, in the movie, Julie is a woman adrift in life looking for a purpose. She decides that she will create each recipe out of Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child and blog about it. Obviously, I don’t have a problem with the blog aspect, but what I did have a problem with was her idea that the only point of writing was to be read. (In her case, to be read, published, and become a “Writer.”)
If I play the piano, does there have to be an audience in attendance to make the performance worthwhile? Or, can I simply enjoy the act of playing and the music that I create? Does the sound have to be shared to be appreciated?
Blogging is like playing piano in an apartment complex. If your neighbors want to listen to your music, they keep their windows open. In my case, if you want to read my posts, you have to open my link. A good neighbor does not pound the keys at 2am, but may try to play Brahms at nap time. I write knowing that there are neighbors who can hear through walls.
How many people write in a diary? I expect a very large percentage would never, ever like that diary to be read aloud at a book store, or in a classroom, or even in a living room. Those people do not write to be read. They write because they have words that must be purged from their head. They write because they get incensed, frustrated, amused, or titillated about a topic. Same here, except I am a social creature and when there is no one around to whom I may express my thoughts I head to the web, write a blog, and send it off into the void. The words are out of my head. If they go into someone else’s, then that is just fantastic. But if not, well, at least they aren’t stuck in mine anymore.
I write because I enjoy it. I write to get better, to better define myself and my world view. And much like playing the piano, I need constant practice. Have you ever heard someone who practices music just enough to get through? As a listener, you can hear almost every note struck, every chord sounded because there is no flow, no tempo. I write because the percussive sound of all the consonants and vowels, plosives, and plurals sing to me. The more I write, the better I can follow the song, the more voices I can bring in on the chorus, and the better my rhythm. I write so that I reach the high notes and hit the low notes. I write because words are the music to my soul. And while I claim not to have a soul and that I keep my heart locked up in a metal chest buried in my backyard for safe keeping, even I cannot deny the words of the Bard (cough, cough, Whedon),
“Life’s a show and we all play a part/
And when the music starts/
We open up our hearts.”
Words are my music. Won't you like to sing along?
(My next post will resort back to my regularly scheduled snarking, rudeness, cursing, dirty thoughts, and ridiculousness.)