The magazine was “InStyle” . The article was on Natalie Portman. It was fall of 2008. I was living in Vegas and my graduate career was just starting. I was acclimating to the new environment, not sure how I managed the transition from tropical paradise to desert wasteland, but I digress. The article spoke to me. The writer had managed to take this world renowned actress and turn her into the type of human being that most of us can easily identify with. A human being who wakes up, puts their pants on and goes to work and manages not to have their face splashed across popular media. What you might call, an average Joe (or Jane). I was inspired then. I had determined to make my next interview ( I was freelancing for an MMA magazine at the time) worthy of the notice I gave that “InStyle” piece. Then grandpa died in January.
It happened so quick. I was devastated. I was…stunned. But the assignment came from my editor, and I pulled every thread of inspiration I could grab onto within myself, and I reread the Natalie Portman piece. I did the interview. I wrote the words. I submitted. I remember my editor telling me that that piece was inspired.
That same year, my Nannie died too. I managed to lose two grandparents in one year. The funny thing is, I still felt inspired. Does loss and heartache inspire anyone else? Seems to workout for Taylor Swift, but hers is really more self-inflicted. I digress again.
All through grad school, especially when I started to develop strong feelings for B, I felt a force in my chest. Not a force of pain, or even joy, but a force that felt like if I didn’t transfer the energy that was literally balling up inside of me, I would just go numb from too much energy. It was like I saw wonder in everything, I felt peaceful about the hard things, and I found clarity in the easy things. And again, I went back to the Natalie Portman article.
Fast forward to now, 2014. I don’t feel that force anymore. I do feel inspired every now and again. There are people that I see them all the time who inspire me. There are ideas that inspire me. There are so many inspirational things in my world, yet why don’t I feel that force anymore. Insert the cheesy line: may the force be with you. Maybe it’s my fault, maybe at some point within the past few years I closed myself down. I’ve become too caught up in the cares of present day life. I think I’ve let myself have too many tools to choose from. Instead of relying on the one tool that has always served me best. William Zinsser wrote: “…words are the only tool you’ve got.” (On Writing Well, 2006) Mr. Zinsser was talking about the importance of the usage of words, but his reminder resonates with me at this time, almost like a great force.
Where is the Natalie Portman article when I need it?