It was a sticky hot rainy day in July when writer Julie Powell (who passed away October 26th) changed my life. I was sitting in a finally quiet house Corolla, NC with my daughter watching the film Julie and Julia.
It stars two of my favorite actresses – Amy Adams and Meryl Streep. And the screenplay is written by one of my favorite rom-com authors and screen writers Nora Ephron. Who died only ten years ago.
The ongoing din of the rest of our party had left for a close by lighthouse. So, we were able to focus on Powell’s story. She used blogging to write her way out of the grief of 911. Out of the malaise that had taken over her life. Toward the promising writing career she once dreamed of. One Julia Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” recipe at a time.
She had no idea what would happen when she wrote those blogs. No inkling of how they would take off and inspire.
She just plodded on in an almost meditative practice. Recipe, ingredients, prepare (sometimes multiple times), write, post. All in honor of someone she admired.
Along the way, she found healing, community – and herself.
All because she surrendered to a process.
The line that changed everything for me? “I could write a blog, I have thoughts!”
When I heard it on that humid July 2016 day, I decided to write my first blog. About divorce, the healing benefits of yoga, and finding love again. At that point, I didn’t even know how to post it.
I hoped it could be the basis of a romantic comedy – similar to Julie and Julia. But several devastating losses intervened, and the practice of writing became a life-line.
I wrote my way out of grief, and readers supported the journey. Eventually it became the book “We’ve Got to Stop Meeting Like This”, and a series of workshops, and now, retreats. Providing readers and attendees the tools to master change with grace - even though many times I struggled to show any semblance of it.
We have no idea where our actions will take us. Where small impulsive decisions might lead.
Or who will be inspired by our efforts. Or how the resulting connection with others will support and heal us.
Make us all feel less alone.
Julie Powell’s story reminds us to focus on what we love, apply diligent practice, and let the universe take over.
I am so grateful to her for showing us her way.
We will sorely miss you, Julie Powell.