Friday, March 8, 2013

The professor, the bikini model and the suitcase

Every morning I wake up and catch up on the news. In addition to reading new novels I try to keep up with the world and be inspired by other works of great journalism.

This morning I woke up and read a piece titled "The Professor, The Bikini Model and the Suitcase Full of Trouble." Right away it captivated me and was very wonderfully written, almost as though it were written by a novelist. 5,000 words later at the conclusion of the story, I find the author, Maxine Swann is a novelist (I'll be adding some of her novels to my to-read list shortly).

Anyhow, the piece is featured in the New York Times magazine and is a bizarre tale about a professor who was duped into believe a model was into him, which led him on a travel adventure, eventually acquiring luggage laced with cocaine and ending up in prison in Buenos Aires.

The professor, who is a very intelligent theoretical particle physicist, is obviously someone who spent his life in academia and a lot of social realities are lost on him. But later in the story, it gets even more strange as it is revealed he has a strange sense of humor and was texting his so called-model girlfriend about being afraid about drug sniffing dogs and so on. The story leaves you wondering whether he is guilty or innocent in an artful way.

At the end of the story, the professor was reflecting on his career and his ultimate goal of receiving a Nobel Prize. He said he has published 450 papers and then he pointed out what he had sacrificed, "Well I don't have a family."

Despite all the crazy about this piece, and believe me it is full of crazy, that last statement hit me hard. Some days I feel so attached to my career, being a journalist, that I feel so afraid to have a family and someday have to let that go.

I need to find joy in my own writing (hopefully this blog is a good start), so if someday I have to give up my career (I'm thinking that is a possibility because to be able to afford a house to raise a family in, we'd have to move, and newspapers are dying and so forth...) I won't feel I've lost the ability to write and create, and hopefully one day, inspire.

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