The Joy of Doing Things Badly : A Girl's Guide to Love, Life and Foolish Bravery
In a society that puts so much emphasis on perfection, Veronica Chambers mischievously casts aside the guilt-inducing litany of "shoulda, coulda, woulda" that seems to define modern-day life and replaces it with a resounding call to live with "foolish bravery." Refreshingly open about the personal failures and limitations that once weighed her down with shame, Chambers describes how she turned her less-than-perfect qualities into sources of delight and satisfaction. From belting out off-key renditions of torch songs while washing the dishes, to seeing even the most unlikely career opportunities as a chance to spread one's wings, Chambers shows that a willingness to fall flat on one's face heightens the joys of everyday life and opens a new, wonderfully liberating perspective on work, motherhood, aging, friendship, failure, and success. With a winning combination of lighthearted anecdotes and heartfelt musings, Chambers encourages readers to follow her example and do the things that tickle their fancy and fire their imagination-no matter what other people (and that little voice inside) may say.
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April 03, 2006
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Excerpt from The Joy of Doing Things Badly by Veronica Chambers
What I've Learned From Julia Child
On the Saturday following Julia child's death, I was in the bathroom of a restaurant and I overheard the following conversation. The woman in the first stall said, "I'm so stupid. I tried to make myself a piece of salmon for dinner and I had no idea what to do. So I put it in the pan to saute it, but I hadn't put any oil in so it all stuck to the pan. I didn't know how long to cook it, so I let it cook until it was practically burned!" The woman in the second stall said, "No big deal! Did you know that Julia Child didn't learn how to cook until she was thirty-six years old " The first woman, the salmon torcher, emerged from the stall with a huge smile on her face. "I'll be thirty-five on my next birthday," she said. Her friend emerged from the stall next to her and said, "See, you could be the next Julia Child. You could change the face of cooking."
The whole conversation made me smile because it was indicative of so many things that I've been thinking about: How we beat ourselves up over the tiniest things, about the primal role food plays in our lives, and how much Julia Child has taught us not only about food but also about life. It seems like the older we get, the higher the bar is raised. I remember, as a child, being so impressed by all the whiz kids that I'd read about in the news: gymnasts and ballet dancers, chess players and piano prodigies. I honestly remember thinking, at the age of eleven, that if only I applied myself then maybe I could do something with my life! Even when I ended up going to college at the age of sixteen, I still felt only average. At the early college I attended, half of the college freshmen were fifteen. The year I started college, there were two fourteen-year-old freshmen and one who was just thirteen. At sixteen, I was practically a remedial first-year college student!