Went to see “Julie & Julia” with a friend last week. I went for several reasons: I love cooking and the movie is about transformative culination*, I am a writer and the movie has writering** in it, and it’s the kind of flick Husband isn’t into seeing. (Now, if it was “Julie & Julia Conquer Space, Fight Evil Aliens, and Show Their Bosoms,” he might have been more interested.) I did not read the Julie & Julia project blog but I did read the book. The book was pretty horrible. People, stop trying to make books out of blogs unless you’re just going to print the whole blog out and sell it.
I enjoyed the movie. It was lighthearted and funny and wove the two stories together. The serious bits were glossed over or left out entirely (SEE: Julie’s actually kind of a bitch in the book; SEE ALSO: Julie had an affair and got a divorce).
This post is not about the movie or the book. It’s about people becoming famous for writing books about doing things for a year.
I think this works because a year is the Goldilocks version of a chunk of time – not too long, not too short, but juuuuust right. People can do most anything for one year. A daily blog for a year keeps readers coming back knowing there’s an end in sight, a goal in mind. The plain old memoir is becoming passe in favor of the Year in the Life stories.
I have decided that I won’t be a Famous Writer until I do something Off the Wall and Zany for a year, write a blog while I’m doing it and/or write a book at the end. I submit for your consideration other writers who have already gotten a jump on this genre:
A.J. Jacobs with “The Year of Living Biblically” and “The Know-It-All” wherein the author lives by all the rules of the Bible for one year and reads the entire Encyclopedia Britannica in a year, respectively. Thank God he didn’t try them both at once.
Barbara Kingsolver’s “Animal Vegetable Miracle” chronicling her pastoral farming family in Virginia
“Eat Pray Love,” Elizabeth Gilbert’s paean to the healing powers of sex, spirituality, and gelato
“No Angel: My Harrowing Undercover Journey to the Inner Circle of the Hells Angels” by Jay Dobyns and Nils Johnson-Shelton, which I haven’t read but, man…wouldn’t that be fun?
I’ve come up with some potential yearlong activities designed to give me a year’s worth of great material, a guaranteed book deal, and superstarwriterdom.
Living With Ferrets: One Year of Fur, Fuzz and Fun
Heart of Gold: Observing Brothels
Check, Please (Wherein I eat at every non-fast-food restaurant in the MetroLouisville area)
How Do You Solve A Problem Like Me?: Lessons from a Year in a Strictly Cloistered Abbey
From the Inside Out: 365 Days Behind Bars at a Womens’ Correctional Institute
What do you think? Would you read those blogs? Buy the book? See the movie?
Now, if only I can find an agent…and a publisher…and a blonde wig…
*It’s a real word, right?
** Ditto above