Writer and blogger Julie Powell has died. At 49, from a heart attack. I am actually truly sad about this. She was unique and I loved her writing style.
You also have to understand, Julie Powell and I never met in person. We were Facebook/Twitter peeps, and we did (do) actually have real people we share in common. So we were connected in that way.
I was a huge fan of her book, Julie & Julia which became a movie of the same name that I have also watched so many times.
I also was a reader of her blog. I could identify with the dead end jobs in NYC, as I had a couple of those there. I could also identify with trying to discover who I was and wish people wouldn’t look at me strangely or whatever when I say I am a blogger. Ironically, we started blogging at the same time. It was new, and people weren’t doing it. Our subject matter was different, I am not saying I am as good a blogger, writer, or anything like that, I just remember the early days of blogging…and Twitter.
Her blog was real, and sometimes raw, much like her social media musings. The blogging AFTER her original blog became a book ran from 2005 – 2010. (/http://juliepowell.blogspot.com/). I read that too. As an early person on the blogoshpere, I followed and read a lot of people. This was something not everyone was doing back then, and it certainly wasn’t the purview of mommy bloggers and more, like the people with the seemingly perfect lives and headshots and photoshoot photos taken solely for social media.
Because of Julie, I figured I would try Julia Child recipes. I figured why not? You see, although a lot of Julia Child’s recipes aren’t that complicated, her recipes can be intimidating. But through Julie Powell, I learned Julia Child. Shall we say, this is the woman who humanized Julia Child?
Julie Powell was found more on Twitter than Facebook. She didn’t really seem to be especially enamored of the Metaverse, and often said so. All these years later, I still enjoyed her musings even in first 140 characters or less, and then 280 characters or less. She could be insightful, outrageous, funny, sad, self-deprecating, and always her own fearless voice.
And Julie liked to cook. I think that is cool. So many people have these giant, glorious kitchens and most are just for show. They don’t even get their ovens dirty. When she was blogging from her apartment with it’s teeny tiny shrinky dink 4 burner stove a lot of that time, so was I. I had the same stove, only mine was white. I even had similar steel wire shelves for storage. And the same apartment sized refrigerator. Honestly, I produced some amazing meals in my shrinky dink kitchen, and she was luckier than I, because she had a gas stove.
Through her online musings we learned of her own human frailties, and I so admired her courage to be honest. I especially respected her ability to say she was feeling anxiety and depression. As a woman, that’s hard. Society may say they wish every woman everywhere to be utterly themselves, an original, but really they don’t want to see it. The reality of a woman being herself often makes others too uncomfortable.
I can speak from personal experience there.
My readers and even my friends might think they know all about me, but they don’t. I have learned the hard way that women still can’t be too honest about how they are feeling, especially on social media. We are supposed to have these picture postcard lives and perfect families, and more. You post a no makeup photo or express you are sick of certain things and it’s voila! Instant social media and more irritation. I often wondered if Julie would get the “I can’t believe you posted/wrote that.” messages and phone calls. Sometimes people post just to vent, ya know? It’s not all about you out there, it’s about them in that moment, not necessarily requiring attention or a comment.
Her second book after Julie and Julia was Cleaving. I think that was a book harder for people to read because it was a deeper journey into her world and marriage.
She recently had COVID. She wrote about it on Twitter. And today I noticed how god damned cruel and awful people are being. There should be a special place in hell for their literal inhumanity.
I am really sick of how people think they can be on social media. Cheering that someone is dead? And then of course, they call themselves “Christians.” She was a human being.
When you write whether as a blogger, a regular writer, reporter, or just a person, people are only O.K. with what you write if it matches THEIR comfort level. That is another reason WHY I admired Julie Powell. She spoke her truth, even if it did not make you 100% comfortable. She had a particular grace and honesty. Even if I was only part of her virtual world for a few years, I am glad I was there.
Fly with the angels, Julie Powel. Requiescat in pace. Read her obituary in the New York Times HERE.
Here are some other things to read. By her and about her.
How Julie Powell and her ‘Julie/Julia’ blog changed food writing
By Emily Heil November 2, 2022
Thank You, Julie Powell. I Owe You.
New York Times by Frank Bruni Nov. 2, 2022
A Race To Master The Art Of French Cooking by Amanda Hesser/New York Times
Omelets are hard to master and more lessons learned from “The Julia Child Challenge”
This week on the Julia Child-inspired competition, we tackle the “bean trick” for learning how to make omelets
By JULIE POWELL Salon 4/12/22
“The Julia Child Challenge” and the mystique of one of America’s most iconic chefs
Does this cooking competition engage in some exploiting and some pussy-footing around? Absolutely
By JULIE POWELL Salon 3/22/22
I can hear Julia Child’s voice in my head again after six weeks of “The Julia Child Challenge”
It’s worth remembering that beneath the dumb corporate exploits, there’s a genuine bond. I still feel it
By JULIE POWELL Salon 4/19/22
Julia Child’s secret sauce and the little black dresses of French cuisine
On this week’s episode of “The Julia Child Challenge,” we tackle our namesake chef’s spy years. Well, kind of . . .
By JULIE POWELL Salon 4/5/22
Food writer Julie Powell, author of ‘Julie & Julia,’ dies at 49
November 2, 202211:17 AM ET