Friday, October 14, 2005

Sweet, sweet, sweet...

(That's a strange word when typed three times in a row....)

I have finished my final event for at least two days. Tomorrow I am going home. No place like it, doncha know.

I had a great time in Boston, despite the fact that a) Goddamn, the weather in the northeast is sucking right now, and b) Bostonians, when behind wheels of automobiles, are totally psychotic. I'm a New York driver, so you know I'm not being a hothouse plant about this. In one twelve hours period, I witnessed:

a traffic cop nearly coldcock a guy for not getting out of a parking space quickly enough;

a busy intersection (right outside my hotel, sadly) that, during rush hour suffered every three minutes the deafening din of a dozen car drivers leaning on their horns, every SINGLE time the light changed;

not one but two cabbies who totally chastised me for my manner of asking to go somewhere. The first cabbie was angry that I asked to go to some such address on White Street rather than saying the such-and-such mall (I had no idea the place I was going was in a strip mall at all....); the second couldn't understand that I was talking about getting to a certain intersection because I said "Massachusetts Avenue" instead of "Mass Ave." So weird.

So anyway - had two events. The first was a reading at Borders - actually the first non-independent bookstore I've been too, which is pretty awesome. It was a lunchtime event, so the crowd was small, though actually not quite as small as you'd've thought. Twenty five people or so. And there was this one woman there, Lucy, who was AMAZING. Kind of a nut, but amazing just the same. She was an editor for online travel thingamajiggies, then she went to Malaysia, then she decided she wanted to go to cooking school, so she worked illegally in all these Malaysian restaurants for awhile, then went to cooking school in Australia, and is now back in Malaysia, doing freelance editing. So crazy, so great, and she was sort of brilliant as well.

Then I had this dinner at Chez Henri in Cambridge. I was shocked by this thing. The chef, Paul something or other, concocted this four course meal of entirely MtAoFC recipes, and cooked in exactly the way they were written in MtAoFC. I'm picturing this kitchen staff hovering over this cook bookr, saying, "You want me to do what with ths who now?" The appetizers were cheese croquets with shrimp, potato cheese sticks (which didn't rise like they were meant to, much as mine did not), and something else great. Mushroom canapes. Then there was fish soup, and eggs with bernaise sauce (total ballsy choice, and GREAT) and beef rolls (can't remember the French right now, and besides beef rolls sounds dirty, so I like it), and baba au rhum. They were making all this for a group of thirty, while at the same time serving a busy Friday night crowd eating totally different things. It was AMAZING. Honestly.

I got to talk to pretty much everyone there, including my crazy friend Andy, and Mark, who I went to grade school with and who teaches divinity school at Harvard (is that right?) and who is the older brother of the fabulous, fabulous "Brian" from my book. And this amazing woman, whose name I never got, who was 85 if she was a day, and a little deaf, but totally fucking awesome. She came, she said, because she wanted to ask me about how I felt about the review I got in the New York Times Book Review, because it totally pissed her off. This is a woman who didn't know me from adam, she just was angry at the review on priniciple. And she was totally engaged in the whole dinner, and at the end she said, "You were not what I was expecting."

"What were you expecting?" I asked.

"I don't know," she said. "You're very real."

Which is the best thing anyone has ever said to me in the last ten days, and maybe ever.

I didn't make my second dinner at the best restaurant in Boston, though I did have a drink there, where I chatted up both the charming French manager and the cute BU student hostess. Now I'm enjoying my minibar for the last time, and eagerly awaiting my trip home tomorrow.

Now, I'd like to take this moment to say - and I'm aware that I sound like Hillary Swank in this way un-cool way - that my publicists at Little Brown, Michelle and Bonnie, are amazing. I have had the chance, in the past few months, to meet more than my share of publicists, and I'm not particularly fond of them as a species. But these women have won me over so surely and completely that I feel like Renee Zellwegger - "You had me at hello."

(Which is a quote I hate from a movie I hate, I so much prefer a quote from another movie that came out at the same time, "I can still taste you." But no matter.)

Home home home home home.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

just what i read where a person thanks "Christ" one day and then shouts the "Goddamned" weather the next....what stability....everybody, I am sure, wants to be an over indulgent gimlet drinker who thinks the world owes them....?"something"

11:29 PM  
Anonymous Carroll said...

Boston, yes. I grew up there. Only place I've ever in my life seen a uniformed policeman give the finger to a truck driver.

Julie, the Kepler's event is still showing on the "Author's Lounge" link No Sluggo Dave posted yesterday. Do you know by any chance if that's really still on? I really don't think I can make the trek up to Santa Rosa next Fri., but if you happen to end up in Menlo Park, I'll be there!

12:43 PM  
Blogger The Knitting Mafia said...

Hi, Julie!

Surprisingly, the blog at Salon was the first link on a Google search. Thanks for leaving the new address in the comments there. Since you don't have much traffic here, yet, and I finished the book after my cat groomed me awake at 3am, I thought I'd go ahead and leave a post.

I hadn't ever heard of you or the Project, which makes me sad, now, but the book was wonderful. My sister gifted it to me on Wednesday night as she said it made her think of me. Presumably because at some time during 1976-1979, when I was the ages of 7-10, we lived in Oklahoma, of all places, and even there the PBS station showed The French Chef. And being the Youngest, my two sisters would stay in front of the TV (how I was ever allowed to choose to watch Julia to begin with, with the two of them around, I'll never know) and say, "Aaaangie, I'm hungry, fix me something to eat." And off I would dutifully traipse to whip up a bit of chocolate mousse or such. Which only goes to prove what an amazing teacher Julia really was, when a little girl in Oklahoma could manage such things.

So that was the hook that caught my sister, bless her heart, but I really fell in love with the rest of it, myself sporting a 25-year crush on Jason Bateman (call me!), and a sick adoration for David Strathairn that blossomed as he stood on the dock with Holly Hunter at the end of The Firm, and most especially how when I first read, "You love me? Who loves you?!" I heard it precisely as Margot Kidder. Possibly, only references to Lance Kerwin or KC Martel or "Well you're dumb, and you're short. Real short." would have endeared you to me more. And that really is asking too much of a person.

I laughed out loud enough times the past 3 days my 11-year-old daughter gave up asking what I was laughing at. Thank you! /creepy stalker vibe

4:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I totally agree with you. Some bloggers out there are incredibly boring (I.E. You) and I never bothered reading their pages (Yours) since they seemed stuck up, vapid and devoid of character.

Now, on top of that, you are pretentious and a bitch. I will make sure no one in my family buys your ridiculous book.

7:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nothing to do so I sat and read some posts of many bloggers. Can't believe what I see and read. Where do people get this stuff and who are the folks that are offering people book deals and the like for this? Anyway, I have decided to create my own sight and to use it to help some of you guys who seem to be riding in, or perhaps, out on the heels of past fame and prestige of character, instead of your own originality. Such as this new author that tried to cook everything that Julia Child thought up and then attempted to win America over by acting out the part of a drunk Martha Stewart. (or might I say, "being drunk while trying to act like Martha Stewart)

pho·ny also pho·ney ( P ) Pronunciation Key (fn)
adj. pho·ni·er, pho·ni·est

Not genuine or real; counterfeit: a phony credit card.
False; spurious: a phony name.
Not honest or truthful; deceptive: a phony excuse.

Insincere or hypocritical.
Giving a false impression of truth or authenticity; specious.

n. pl. pho·nies, also pho·neys
Something not genuine; a fake.

One who is insincere or pretentious.
An impostor; a hypocrite.

[Alteration of fawney, gilt brass ring used by swindlers, from Irish Gaelic fáinne, ring, from Old Irish.]
phoni·ly adv.
phoni·ness n.

7:58 AM  
Anonymous Sonja said...

I am dismayed by the rude comments here. Just last week my wonderful boss reminded me that as you gain prominence and visibility, you also become a greater target. It just goes with the territory. Don't let it get you down or inhibit your voice.
Congratulations on your success. I am delighted for you. And I look forward to buying a few copies of your book as Christmas gifts this year.

1:26 PM  
Anonymous TB said...

Hi, Julie! This is TB from Austin, Texas checking in for the first time. Just picked up your book on Friday and I have hardly been able to put it down. I must admit, though, that I hadn't heard of you (or your blog, OR your book) until I saw the book at Borders the other night. I'm about 3/4 of the way through.

I came home with the book and told my husband the premise, and he got that STRICKEN look on his face and said, "YOU'RE not going to do that, too, are you?"

To his great relief, I assured him I was not.

I DO love to cook, though, and tonight I made chicken breasts with grapes (Not a JC recipe), but from a French cookbook all the same.

Sorry I didn't know about the Oct. 10 Bookpeople event until today when I first opened your blog; however, maybe I can manage to be at the Texas Book Festival on the 30th.


5:41 PM  
Blogger pinky said...

Um...Clarence? Who the fuck cares what you think?

8:53 PM  
Blogger Susan G. said...

I too live in Austin and only found out about the Book People visit after reading on the CNN website about your blog. I loved the book and have told lots of friends and relatives to go out and buy it; I laughed till I cried about the maggots and then cleaning it up and going right on like it never happened. Will you be at the Book Festival, what day and time? Thanks for doing this for everyone who wants to try something different in their lives.

3:12 PM  
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9:32 AM  

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