Julie Andrew's Home

Julie Andrew's Home

A Gay Icon Talks Performance, Family and Spiritual Awakening

I admit. I do love me some Julie Andrews.

Enough to buy her memoir Home when it was still in hardcover. Considering I've been wearing the same shoes for two years and the same sweatshirt for the past decade (I am convinced that if I stick to it, this behavior will eventually become to be seen as “charmingly eccentric”) that is really saying something. I wasn't disappointed.

Julie Andrews is a bit of a strange bird in that she appeals equally to the queers who love her for her camp, plainspoken-ness and iconic movie roles and to conservative family types who love her for, well, being a star in a lot of Disney fills I suppose.  There is something in Home for those families as well, but it's definitely no Disney tale.

The day to day details of HOME, which describes Andrews' early life up until just after the time she made Mary Poppins are certainly interesting enough for someone who likes Julie Andrews work and wants to know what and who made her what and who she is. What I found particularly striking;  however, is her frequent mentions of an almost spiritual relationship to work and to her singing abilities.

For example, Andrews write “[after an interaction with a certain performer] I suddenly became aware of a new, deeper purpose to my craft and to what I was doing. I always appreciated that my singing voice was a special gift to be acknowledged with gratitude, but now I felt that my whole being could be used to give something back, to share my appreciation for the gift more fully.”

Later she writes “The work can be lonely, much like that of a writer I suspect. But the rewards when they come, are to render one humble, to bring one to one’s knees with gratitude.”

And this, from the forward, “Once in a while I experience an emotion onstage that is so gut wrenching, so heart stopping that I could weep with gratitude and joy. The feeling catches and magnifies so rapidly that it threatens to indulge me. There is a sudden thrill of connection and an awareness of the size, the theater itself, more than the height of the great stage housing behind and above me, where history has been absorbed, where darkness contains mystery and light has meaning. Light is a part of it, to be flooded with it, to absorb it and allow it through the body.”

All of this is shared right alongside with some of the rather mundane details of a life building her performing career, touring in England, and growing up. It doesn't carry typical celebrity spirituality pretension (ahem, Madonna) and that in some ways makes its inclusion almost startling. It made me wonder if Andrews ia just extremely well mannered and therefore the kind of make a point of saying “thank you” for her gifts as well as her experiences, or is this a part of some bigger way she sees the world?