About two weeks ago, I bought the film Julie and Julia for my wife for her birthday. She had seen it in theaters, and we are both big Nora Ephron fans, so I thought it would make a great gift. Although it was not my favorite of her films (can anything really top When Harry Met Sally…?), I really liked the premise of the film. In fact, about halfway through watching it, I turned to my wife and asked, “What should my year-long blog project be?” Her response was, “I knew you would ask that.”
While I am an aspiring amateur cook, I didn’t think my waistline could handle attempting to cook my way through Julia Childs’ (or any other chef’s) cookbook. So I turned elsewhere for inspiration.
Last spring I was introduced to a writer who would change my life. My wife’s book club was reading Consider the Lobster and other essays by David Foster Wallace. When she was done with it, my wife handed me a 100-page Xeroxed copy of his essay, “A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again.” Although I didn’t finish it at the time, I loved every word and every footnote. A few months later, I read a blurb in Time magazine about his “This is Water” speech. I quickly went online and found a copy of it before it was published in book form and the free copies were pulled from the internet. I read the speech to my AP English classes, allowing Mr. Wallace to impart a few words of wisdom to the graduating seniors.
When summer vacation rolled around, I decided to tackle Consider the Lobster in its entirety. Enthralled by what I read, I moved on to A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again. When I finished that collection of essays, I was tempted to go check out Infinite Jest from the library. But there were other books on my summer reading list to get to, and nearly 700 pages by the man seemed enough for one summer.
Back to Julie and Julia. I wanted to embark on my own “A Year of Doing Something” blog project. I’d heard of a number of these projects that turned into books: a year of living by Oprah’s advice, a year of living by the Old Testament Law, etc. So I knew it had been done before, but I wanted to find a new angle. Enter my new favorite author, David Foster Wallace. I decided I would spend 2010 reading everything he wrote and blogging about the experience.
So here I go. A week and a half before the new year, I am laying the groundwork. I created the blog. I am working on the layout settings. I made a list of DFW’s books. And over the next few days, I will work out my reading and writing schedule.
And I invite you to come along with me for the ride.