13 December 2010

Where Impossibility Meets Reality

As a child, my father told me that I'd hear stories about a fat man in a red suit, but not to believe them because the man didn't exist. He threw away Aladdin because he didn't want my brother and I to believe in a genie.

When I was in 11th grade, my Chem II teacher told me exactly why the sky was blue.

In twelfth grade, my physics teacher explained the exact preparations that have to happen in order to form a rainbow.

They explained away the magic...the possibility.

Last night, I watched the movie Julie and Julia for the first time. Have you seen it? If you haven't, the simple premise is that the movie is two stories: 1) Julia Child's journey to graduate from Paris' Cordon Bleu and publish a cookbook for American housewives and 2) a modern woman named Julie who needs meaning in her life. She decides to cook her way through Julia Child's cookbook in one year and blogs about it. Along the way she discovers a unique connection to the woman she emulates.

Watching this movie as a writer, I heard a lot about the publishing business. Some of it was the publishing industry of decades ago, some of it more recent. For instance, Julia Child sends a manuscript directly to a publisher- who actually reads it- without an agent and the entire process we go through nowadays.

Julie, the modern character, gets so much interest in her blog that editors and agents follow her. Before she even writes a book, her answering machine has 65+ messages in one day, many of them by editors and agents offering their services.

Having been in the blog world for a while and seriously researched the publishing business, I saw so many things that made me think, "But that's not possible! That's not how it works according to my research." My mind kept going, "Well, this was a different time. And it's for a cookbook, not a novel like what I write. So maybe that can explain the difference."

The more I read about the difficulty of getting published, the more movies like Julie and Julia feel like fairy tales. Yet that's a true story, so I know it happened. And I know people now who have followed the rules, worked the process, and have signed with agents and released books.

Book publication isn't a fairy tale, even if it isn't my current reality. That gives me hope.

And makes me forget that I know exactly what scientific dimensions make a rainbow.


  1. Hope is a very good thing!

    Want to see this movie.

  2. Julie...can't remember her last name...did her blog during a time when there wasn't as much competition. She did something unique that can't be captured now. But after reading the book, I realized the movie took a few liberties that made it seem like it was easy for Julia Child to get that cookbook published as well as easy for Julie what's-her-name to get thousands of readers to her blog overnight. Neither happened easily, even in the book, and I suspect the blog thing wasn't as easy as Julie made it out to be. How many blogs did she have to read to get that many readers? Probably quite a few. But there's a slow-cooker cookbook author who blogged online with the goal of cooking every meal in her crock pot and she seemed to have quite a bit of success. There's still probably more to that story that we don't know.

  3. Yay for this post! Publication can seem near impossible sometimes but writers are tenacious and we like to dream and hope and make something that seems like a far reach a reality. I'm encouraged :)

  4. I did see the movie and loved it.
    The real-life story behind Julie? Not so much...

    That's the beauty of novelization!!
    May God take your hopes and warm them with His amazing love.

  5. I haven't seen the movie, but I want to. This post was very encouraging. Thanks!

  6. Funny how things work. For one, it's a fairy tale. For others, it's hard work, blood, sweat and tears.

    I'm sorry so much magic was taken from you but I know you're aware of the truth now: dragons ARE real and lions do talk ;)


  7. Deb is so right. I love that. I have to remember that. Yes. Hope isn't a fairy tale. It's a promise you make to yourself. A promise you will one day impress upon the world.
    As for Julie/Julia. I saw the movie and loved it. So wanted to go home and cook. But I have to say, I have not been able to get into the book. It did not have the same magic for me. And that rarely happens for me. Rarely does the movie trump the book.

  8. And hope is such a good thing! Blessings to you and your blog gang,
    Karen :)

  9. Hi Kristen -

    I recently saw that movie and enjoyed it.

    There are some amazing success stories out there that don't follow the usual track.
    Miracles DO happen. :)


  10. I love this post! Publishing can seem like such a dream out of reach until we turn around and see our friends have already achieved their goals. It brings to light that noting is impossible with God. =)

  11. Someone has to be published; it may as well be you and me, right? I keep my hopes in God, trusting His timing and wisdom. And I keep workting to improve my skills.

  12. what an awesome post....sometimes we do things the right way...nothing works. Then we follow our hearts and doors flip open everywhere. Just reminds me to live my best life and not worry about the details so much. Glad to have you back!!!

  13. Great lesson, Kristen.

    Remember the magic!


  14. There is NOTHING wrong with dreaming about your fairy tale. Like Terri says above, "where would we be without hope?" Nothing wrong with a little magic. I'm excited to see that movie. I love this post!

  15. I agree with Steph. She blogged at a different time when it wasn't as common. Also, I read Julia Child's My Life in France, and publication took years for her.

    That being said, I watched the movie too, and couldn't help the jealous pangs I kept getting. It didn't inspire me--sadly enough--it just seemed like an unrealistic dream for someone like me.

  16. The "magic" is always found in the One who puts all those "scientific" parts in place to form the rainbow. And even though He isn't given credit for every good and perfect gift, He's the giver of them all.