Julie & Julia & Me
Contributor
I'm way late (no, not that late -- that's something I have never actually experienced). I'm talking late in writing a review on Julie & Julia. Who waits six weeks after a film comes out to weigh in? Me, that's who.Think of it as an opinion that's been, well, marinating. There are so many similarities between the movie and my life I feel as though I was in it. Never has the an old saying that life imitates art been more true. Where to begin? The parallels are downright freaky. --Julia is, how shall we say, statuesque? I'm six feet tall in stocking feet. --Julie had a somewhat narcissistic blog that all but consumed her life. So did I! --Julia devoted years of her life to writing a book. Me, too! --We each lucked out with superb, amazingly supportive husbands. --Julie and her blog were featured in the New York Times much to the acclaim of her friends, family and colleagues. The New York Times profiled me and my blog but my friends, family and colleagues were more supportive than celebratory. Why? The topic -- kind of awkward. --Julia is portrayed in the film as not being able to have children, the cause of deep heartache. Me? I'm infertile and I've lived that awful heartache, too (that awkward topic, thing again!) --Julie got calls from agents about working together on a book deal. So did I! Um, that's where things start to diverge. Again, that damned awkward topic thing! Seems that all agreed that the drama was there, the voice accessible, the story unlike anything else on the shelf, but, ahem, the traditional publishing world doesn't do topics that don't fit the mainstream desire to have a Disney ending. Can't be assured that the "fertile" world will actually care and while infertiles make up nearly 14% of the population (and read like the dickens -- they have the time while cooling their heels in fertility clinic waiting rooms), the topic is just too darned risky. Gotcha. That's okay. I'm used to rejection and bad news (got the negative pee sticks to prove it.) Fortunately there's more than one way to publish a book. Truth be told I'm always a little reluctant to watch movies when I know that infertility plays a part (albeit a bit part). (BTW: did you know you can search a movie site and find "best infertility titles?" -- talk about an oxymoron. ) I'm better off when I prepare myself as I did with Pixar's UP. I've found it's much better to know in advance than to be blindsided, as I was watching Meryl Streep as Karen Blixen in Out of Africa in the scene when she realizes she can't have children, or when Nicole Kidman as Lady Sarah Ashley reveals her infertility in Australia. I like to have sufficient tissues on hand. The poignant scenes -- such as when Julia gets the letter from her sister announcing a pregnancy -- always force me to swallow a massive sob that reaches deep into the core of my being. Regardless of how much I try to reason away (this shouldn't be a surprise, remember you are infertile) it's not easy to be reminded of the losses. Fortunately, movie theaters are dark and noisy and I can always pull myself together before the house lights go up. In the case of Julie & Julia, there was the added advantage of beaucoup delightfully funny scenes. Oh, and one more similarity. Cooking? Uh no, not my strong suit. I don't expect that will change any time soon. I'm talking more big picture -- outside the kitchen. Julia lived a long, full, rich life. Fortunately for me on that score Julia and I share the same goal. One big message I took from Julie & Julia is that women unable to have children (after we grieve our losses) can devote our time and energies in ways that bring their own special rewards -- even if we don't know how to properly poach an egg. Oh and the movie? That's right. This was supposed to be a review. Thumbs up. Nice work, Meryl Streep, Amy Adams and Nora Ephron! p.s. Amy: have you ever considered playing an infertile woman? Let's talk if you're interested. Would be cool to have one more thing in common with Julie...

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