Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Grandmother Oliver

She said to write it down
and so I did:

Above a wild white rose,
the moon bled onto clouds.

"Smell that," said my love,
"it's still summer."

I put my face into the flower
and drowned in fragrance

on this cool September night
after Mary Oliver smiled at me -

Mary Oliver with her white hair
and wild, shining eyes.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

What Makes A Writer?

I just saw the movie Julie & Julia. It was fun. But of course I couldn't help paying special attention to the movie's subtext about how a writer is made and defined. The beginning of the movie shows the main character, Julie, at loose ends, with lots of promise and talent, but directionless. Through discussions with her friends and husband, she decides she needs a project to which she can commit herself. She starts a blog in which she charts her daily progress through Julia Child's cookbook, and updates it for a year. Her blog becomes so successful that she ends up with a book and a movie.

As the credits roll up the screen in the dark theater, the audience is informed as to the dates of death for Julia Child and her beloved husband, as well as current information about Julie Powell. The final line reads, "She is a writer."

I congratulate Julie Powell on her tenacity and success. But I take issue with the movie's message that a writer is defined by her publications. Julie became a writer when she began her blog, before she had hundreds of fans leaving comments. She became a writer when she started writing.