Tuesday, January 26, 2010

I got exactly one good thing out of two hours spent watching Julie & Julia: an idea for a great new book. Every other wannabe novelist, it seemed, was following this gimmick where they'd try something for a year while writing about it, so why didn't I give it a shot? In fact, I devised a kind of meta theory that'd beat them all:

Every day for a year I'd read a book where the author did something every day for a year, and I'd do something that they did. I scoured Amazon and came up with all the books I needed for my first week:

Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen by Julie Powell

Self-Made Man: One Woman's Year Disguised as a Man by Norah Vincent

Reading the OED: One Man, One Year, 21,730 Pages by Ammon Shea

Not Buying It: My Year Without Shopping by Judith Levine

The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible by A. J. Jacobs

Living Oprah: My One-Year Experiment to Walk the Walk of the Queen of Talk by Robyn Okrant

The Year of Living like Jesus: My Journey of Discovering What Jesus Would Really Do by Edward G. Dobson and A. J. Jacobs

For Day One, I started at the top. I burned an omelette and then laid on my bed as my self-esteem died. For Day Two I dressed as a woman in tights, skirt, blouse, earrings and sensible flats. Which didn't exactly thrill me, but at least my UPS man finally noticed I'm alive.

Buying the Oxford English Dictionary for Day Three was way out of my budget, so instead I just looked up a word in Merriam-Webster. I went for the word "adamant," mostly because it sounded like my first teenage crush.

I spent most of my No-Shopping day literally starving to death. Luckily I found a pizza restaurant near my home that agreed to work on the barter system, but I soon ran out of things that make cheese. By Day Five my brain hurt from all the reading, and then I had to pore over the Bible too. Three hundred pages, and something like fifty thousand rules. I couldn't masturbate. I couldn't eat pizza, since it mixed dairy with meat. I couldn't lie with a man, or covet my neighbor's goods, or wear polyester clothes. Which, you know, pretty much confined me to watching Glee reruns in my boxer shorts while eating Dippin' Dots.

The next book nearly made me crack under mental fatigue. How on earth was I going to live like our Saviour? How was I going to be a spiritual role model for billions, to perform miracles for the masses on an almost-daily basis?

So, I went with the Jesus book instead. Not exactly a rip-roaring success. Something tells me Mary never threatened to slap the smug out of Our Lord.

And on the Seventh Day, I said fuck this shit.

Though my story -- provocatively dubbed My Week of Doing Stuff Other People Did Considerably Longer -- is only twelve pages long, I think it would be a splendid publication, and I urge any publishing houses to consider printing it. Because what I discovered will provoke you, inspire you, and make you think, at the very least, "Wow, I'll bet he's killed that stupid genre once and for all," and I am adamant about that.

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