Julie & Julia and Urban Grit

by Valerie on January 4, 2010 · 8 comments

Husband and I watched Julie & Julia last night – I was so excited to received this DVD from My Pretty Pennies as part of the Holiday Swap.  I had seen the movie in theaters over the summer, and had enjoyed it, so it was lovely to watch it again at home, away from 3 degree weather (yes you read that right).  Since I saw the movie in theaters, I read that Julie Powell said that the movie was a romantic comedy version of her book (of course, now I can’t find the quote) and I find that very accurate.  You see, the movie is lovely, but it does not have the not-so-pretty side of Julie Powell’s Julia story, where she deals with frozen pipes, no water, various pest problems, and overcrowded subways.  It’s the stuff I call urban grit.  

[As an aside, and speaking of not-so-pretty, I am completely avoiding Julie Powell’s second book, Cleaving, based on the reviews and her response to the reviews.]

Anyways, but back to urban grit, which is really what I am thinking about today, insofar as it relates to portrayal of a true story and blogging.  You see, Julie & Julia touches on urban grit, but very delicately, which makes sense, because that’s not what you want to see in a movie.

This is all relevant to someone whose blog is called City Girl Lifestyle and who likes to blog about pretty and nice and positive things, many of which relate to living in an urban environment.  And there are many, many positive things to blog about and I really do believe that a blog is about putting one’s best foot forward.  That’s why, if I was not reflecting about urban grit specifically, it would never occur to me to mention things like, there was a dead frozen rat on the sidewalk of Mass Ave, a block east from fancy Dupont Circle, for FIVE days, before finally, someone removed it.  Speaking of rats, they are far far worse in Washington, DC than in New York, though sidewalk roaches in summer are pretty horrifying.          

And being able to walk everywhere and rely on public transportation is the best thing ever, until temperatures are in the 0 degree neighborhood, at which point you find yourself hiding at home and starting to understand why people insist on having garages that they can step into from the comfort of their own home and why they drive everywhere. You get the idea –  mind you, the hot water is running and plentiful in my building, and the heat works, so I am feeling very fortunate, since I had several weeks of icy cold water when I lived in New York.

Enough of the venting, I do have a point, I promise.  You see, as much as I try to keep this blog authentic, I prefer to discuss the happier and more interesting topics of city living than the urban grit of every-day life.  It is also how I try to live life – while I am not in denial about the bad things, I try to not let them take over.  Try being the operative word of course.

How do you balance the good and the grit on your blog? And in your life?        
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
General Disclosures & Disclaimers

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Analiese Marie January 6, 2010 at 7:15 pm

I really relate to this post. I, too, try to focus on the positive and uplifting things in life on my blog. I choose not to focus on the negative and I think I'm a happier person because of it.


2 Christine Claire Reed January 6, 2010 at 7:54 pm

If we believe that at our core, our essence is that of a Shining Diamond (as the Buddhist perspective would assert), then what makes "Grit" more authentic than "Glitter?"

The exercise of focusing on the positive (without REPRESSING — there is a balance) is a noble exercise, I think. :)


3 Karley January 6, 2010 at 9:05 pm

You are wise to avoid "Cleaving."
I read both books, having read "Julie & Julia" right after seeing the movie.

When I read "Cleaving" before Christmas, I was so saddened and disappointed. Perhaps the second book is more "real" or authentic in terms of Powell's voice/feelings. I also realize we all have our faults and make mistakes, but what was disclosed in book #2 should've remained behind closed doors.


4 Lavanya January 6, 2010 at 9:28 pm

I enjoyed this post, CGL..and great question! I don't have any concrete answers though.. For me, I mostly write about stuff I want to record- almost like a food journal /travelogue..But there are times when I want the blog to be more everyday personal like a diary. And then, I feel like marking or atleast sharing somethings, that maybe less happy but very important, to better reflect me/how I am feeling.- so that it seems more like 'my comfortable corner' on the internet. But I do agree that the blog is a spot to record beautiful and positive moments in life and that is what I would like my blog to mostly highlight.


5 Sallie Ann January 7, 2010 at 12:17 am

My blog is so focused on veggie eating, so not much room for me to muse about good or grit, except with regard to good and bad food. I get much more personal responding to all my blogger friends! Ha!

I have to say, I didn't even consider seeing Cleaving as I was so put-off by Julie & Julia. And I’m being a snob about it because I too cooked my way through Mastering the Art of French Cooking..cover to cover. To me, Julie took everything far too personally, which is just my own judgment. But I couldn't relate at all to her drama in the book or movie. I'd also read My Life in Paris, and thought Meryl Streep did a lovely job with Julia, but they left out so much good stuff. That could have been its own movie. In Julie & Julia, I wanted to choke Amy Adams, and typically adore her and am not a violent person. My experience cooking through MAFC was a year of classic cooking instruction, which both increased my weight and cholesterol levels. It was an activity to mark off my to-do list. Not once did I consider throwing myself on the floor or crying.


6 Jen of A2eatwrite January 7, 2010 at 2:07 am

I'm trying to look at everything I do as a choice I'm making. That helps tremendously.


7 Carolyn January 7, 2010 at 9:36 pm

I like the grit! BRING IT ON!!

No, but seriously, I think a good mix of positive and negative with some grit throw in between is perfectly fantastic. It's real, ya know?

P.S. I'm soo curious about Cleaving, but Idk if I'll read it…


8 Kiki January 10, 2010 at 5:32 pm

GREAT question. I agree with Carolyn that a mix of the gritty and the graceful, the positive and the negative, keeps a blog real. Like during your detox diet series – when you wrote about what the difficulties you had, we could really relate to that. And I think relating to your readers, and helping them relate to you, is extremely important.

By the way, if you haven't read Child's 'My Life in France,' go get it right now! Blows Powell right out of the park.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: