I watched Julie and Julia today. This was shocking to me, because I fully expected to exhaust my capacity to continue to watch and shut it off at the thirty minute mark. However, I found the storytelling engaging (a parallel tale spanning generations that reminded me of a different sort of parallel anachronistic telling in Steinbeck’s East of Eden) and the characters tolerable.
Somewhere between being surprised to find it tolerable and being shocked to find myself enjoying the flick, I realized I have developed a tendency to gravitate towards good storytelling. I now find myself immersed in an eight-hundred page book on basketball because I love the way the writer writes. He uses enough far-flung analogies and pop-culture references sprinkled into an insightful and enlightening account of basketball that I would likely read his account of the history of pants if he wrote one. And I’ve read more about hard rock culture than I ever would have thanks to Chuck Klosterman (author of Sex, Drugs, and
I’ve also heard the preacher/speaker/author Rob Bell talk about the craft of creating a sermon with similar sentiments. The content is important, vital, or course, but there is something to be said for style. And I think I resisted this point for many a year. Which is why I have put myself through countless documentaries on PBS (this should be interesting) and have an autobiography of Andrew Jackson written in the 1920s on my bedstand (though it does serve a potent sleep aid).
So now I am resolving to limit myself to fifteen minutes or fifteen pages, and if the narrative of the movie/book hasn’t drawn me in by then, chances are it never will. Sure, I will have instances of feeling like I enjoyed the ride, but never really got anywhere (as I feel after every Lost episode). Hopefully, however, I will also eliminate all the waiting for realized potential I have undertaken for books/movies. And, almost as promising is the new avenues for enjoyment in the seemingly mundane plotlines (i.e. cooking). I just hope I don't find myself sitting through many more chick flicks in the future.