Two nights before Christmas, I stayed up late to wrap gifts alone. I kept the TV on for company and groaned when Charlie Rose came on with Matt Damon and Cameron Crowe. I expected shameless plugging of their movie We Bought A Zoo and perhaps some vapid discussion of their “craft.” But about 10 minutes in, the interview took a surprising turn that resonated in a bordering-on-creepy way with the two biggest themes I’ve wrestled with over the last year: career fulfillment and friendships.
Matt Damon is very articulate. And also one lucky son of a bitch.
Phase 1 (in which Matt Damon and Cameron Crowe Confirm My Biggest Fear about Career)
Matt Damon pointed out how Cameron Crowe’s movies center on a main character doing something in the first act that everyone around him thinks is crazy. They do this because “it’s something they need to do…their inner voice is telling them to do it.” You know, just like we all do to choose our path…Oops.
Amazingly, just as I was thinking, I have no inner voice, and what the hell does an inner voice say anyway, Charlie Rose said, “an inner voice that told you?…”
Matt Damon: “I gotta do that.”
Cameron Crowe said, “Exactly.” Then they both proceeded to rub it in. Their inner voices. That they both had from their earliest memories (Matt Damon’s Mom knew he’d take this path when he was two). That were encouraged by their parents (both of their mothers worked in education). That they reached the pinnacle of success by listening to and actively pursuing (Cameron Crowe wrote a Rolling Stone cover article at 16.). But I’m not jealous or anything.
Cameron Crowe: “Someone told me…if you don’t listen to that little voice it goes away…”
Matt Damon: “Boy that’s a terrifying thought.”
Cameron Crowe: …”pay attention because to be out there with no instinct guiding you, that’s truly scary.”
Me: “Welcome to my world. Not sure if I ever had the voice, but if I did it’s gone now. Terrifying? Maybe. But definitely overwhelming and frustrating.”
Charlie Rose: “Do you think that everyone if they listened carefully would find it, would hear it? Is it easily unheard?
Me: “No and YES!”
Cameron Crowe just looked confused (“I loved writing, loved the written word, I just had to follow that path.”). Matt Damon: “it probably depends on who you are…for some people it’s pouring out of them, and for others it might be a softer kind of voice.”
Sitting on my Mom’s living room floor, I alternated between cutting, wrapping, taping and staring at the screen in disbelief. How did they get onto this topic? Had they read my blog? Why did I have to be the second kind of person?
I closed my eyes and tried to hear my inner voice. My inner voice was so faint I could barely make it out. It said…
your life would be a lot easier if you were Matt Damon.
Phase 1 post script: I saw this billboard off the Pennsylvania Turnpike coming home after Christmas. Even Kermit the Frog has an inner voice.
Phase 2 (in which Matt Damon Confirms My Biggest Fear about Friendship)
The conversation turned to Matt Damon’s early days in the film industry with his best friend Ben Affleck. Just when I thought this interview couldn’t get any more surreal for me, Charlie Rose asked, “what is it that makes a great friendship?”
Me: “No way they are going to dissect friendship now too.”
Matt Damon: “For one thing, when it starts.”
He and Ben met in high school and had the same goals. Charlie Rose summarized as follows, “the point is that you started early, the bond came early.”
Thanks to Matt Damon for tackling two of my big life questions and pretty much taunting me.
I’d been meaning to write about this so thanks to Studio30 Plus for throwing out a writing prompt that fit: The Big Question.