Without You, I Couldn’t Write.
This post goes out to the ones who we couldn’t write without.
Okay, well maybe we could write without them, but, at least in my case, I couldn’t write as well – with as much conviction, assurance and passion – without him. Without my Langley.
A nightmare awoke me at around three this morning. Then I couldn’t get back to sleep. So, I watched the movie Julie and Julia (Meryl Streep & Amy Adams, Nora Ephron, 2009). I hadn’t seen this movie in over a year. If you had asked me what the film was about a year ago, I would have said, “Cooking.”
Which is true. In part.
I jumped into the fire of becoming a full-time writer last October. If you ask me now what this film is about, I would unequivocally say, “Writing.” Funny how perspective works.
Then, if I took a minute to reflect further, I would say that this movie is also about the people who support these women in their endeavors: cooking and writing. These people are their husbands, friends, collaborators and even their editors and publishers. (As a writer, I’m never quite sure if these last two are the enemy or a writer’s greatest allies. It’s a precarious and tenuous thread on the writing sweater.)
Both of these women’s husbands, while human and fallible, are insanely supportive of their sometimes brilliant, sometimes psychotic wives. There are two particular scenes in the movie when they say all the right things. All the things that my own husband has said to me, not that I listened, of course.
At one point, Julie is having a breakdown because Julia (Child, Julie’s hero & icon of her masterpiece’s altar) spoke ill of Julie’s blog. Her husband, Eric (played by Chris Messina), corrects her when she states that Julia saved her. “You saved yourself.” Then Julie claims that she was drowning and Julia pulled her out of the ocean. Eric says, a simple yet poignant and loving, “Don’t get carried away.” This sort of reality check is so “Langley”. He saves me from my inner critic and self-doubt all the time.
The other scene that I had to rewind and watch three times, then record on my phone for use here, on every social media site I engage in, and to be used personally on an as needed basis, is the one below.
On the off chance that you can’t open the clip, let me give you the recap. Julia’s cookbook has been rejected by a publisher. Her husband, Paul (Stanley Tucci – who I seriously love, by the way) gives her the speech that we, as writers, can never hear enough…
“Someone is going to publish your book. Someone is going to read your book and realize what you’ve done. Because your book is amazing. Your book is a work of genius. Your book is going to change the world.”
For those of you who have a Paul or an Eric (or Paulette or Erica, as the case may be), go to them right now and tell them how much you love them. How grateful you are to have them in your life. Throw your arms around their neck and never let go. Even if they can’t breathe. Shower them in kisses and do your best to never take them for granted. Please.
Will we fail? Will we forget this moment, this feeling? How precious they are to us? Yes. But we can make a vow, here and now, to try to do our best not to. And we can help remind each other of this vow. Regularly. Daily, if necessary.
(Could someone send me a reminder in an hour? Because emotional ADD?!? Thanks.)
For those that don’t have a Paul or an Eric or Paulette or Erica, let me know. I belong to a handful of writers’ communities that would step up to the task, be my Eric or Paul, if I needed them. I would be happy to put you in touch with these incredible people or help you find a group or person in your own city. I get the whole, writers are usually introverts and hermits thing, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t need love and support and encouragement. Oh, and this goes for artists of all shapes, varieties, mediums and genres.
So, watch the clip as many times as needed, then get back to writing, knowing that what you are creating is amazing and will change the world. Do you hear me?!? You're welcome.