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No! Michael! Don’t go! But I completely respect your decision…

For the past 12 years I’ve been watching Michael Phelps (no secret to those of you who follow me on twitter or who were around on this blog back in 2008)! And I’ve had the most bittersweet feeling watching him finish his career. Obviously, it’s his choice and his time, and I’m so excited for him (did you hear he’s going to be on the Hank Haney Project, and now I have to get the Golf Channel)…but, as Rowdy Gaines said, “I am going to miss that man.”

And as a storyteller, man, he killed it in these games. First we saw him a little worn down, finishing off the podium for the first time since Sydney. Then we saw him bring it together for his relay team in the 4 x 100, only to see Lochte lose it at the end (no offense to Lochte fans but man, that was a bummer). Then he just got out-touched in the 200 fly by Chad LeClos (who was so adorable and excited to even be swimming with Michael that I loved Chad in spite of myself). Then he turned right around and rocked it in the 4 x 200 relay, getting a gold, becoming the most decorated Olympian of all time, and getting teary on the medal stand. Then he just came out and killed it in the 100 fly, winning gold and becoming the first male ever to defend a title in three consecutive Olympics…and then he did it AGAIN in the 200 IM. And then, one more gold with a rocking leg of the medley relay. And all along the way, those interviews, just taking accountability for his own swims, talking about the sport and the other swimmers…it was such a ride. You couldn’t write a better story. And he wrote it all, he and his coach and his family and friends. We just got to sit back and watch the result of years of hard work. And what hard work it was. I cannot even imagine.

Sometimes, I will not lie to you, writing feels like hard work to me. There are days when I feel flat, uninspired, a little worn down by life in general. So I have three or four things at any given time that will charge me up and make me feel inspired again. Here they are:

1. Watching Phelps and the men’s 4 x 100 freestyle relay in Beijing. It makes me want to just rock the paragraph I am writing, throw my arms up in the air, and roar like Phelps when I’m finished.

2. Listening to this song by the Piano Guys and Alex Boye. I love the song, and I also, as you all know, am pretty crazy about the landscape they use as a background.

3. Looking at this painting by John Singer Sargent. And yes, this might be a little tiny hint about something that will appear in REACHED…and that’s all I will say for now. 🙂

I think it’s exciting that we can derive so much inspiration from things that we personally cannot do (in my case, swim, sing, paint, etc.). I’d love to hear some of your inspirations in the comments below.

And Michael Phelps: thank you. It was such a pleasure to see someone do something so well.

+ comments (12)
  • Cherine
    August 14, 2012

    I loved watching him too. He maybe a once in a life time athlete. I am thankful I was around to witness it. PS Fun song 🙂

  • Jen
    August 14, 2012

    I was inspired while watching the Olympics and thinking how we, all humanity, are so different and yet so alike. We all breathe and eat and love and search for happiness. No matter where we lay our heads at night or where we call home. I felt not only like a proud American, but like a proud member of the human race.

  • Michael Phelps is so awesome! We’ll miss seeing him in the next Olympics.
    I get inspired from spending time with friends since I’m home most days with my 3 boys. It’s also inspiring to do my hair and makeup when it’s not even Sunday. 😉

  • Alice Beesley
    August 15, 2012

    Here’s to inspiration! I was inspired by watching Michael and the olympics too. And I love that song by Alex and the scenery.

  • bandreoli
    August 16, 2012

    loving the hints. . .can NOT wait!

  • Brooke Hoopes
    August 16, 2012

    Absolutely love this, my fellow Olympics fan!

    And I love your three inspirations. That race is incredible, and I LOVE the piano guys and Alex Boye. Rich and I watch it, and we even watch it with our kids. So incredible. And I love seeing a tiny hint for Reached! What a beautiful image.

    Thanks Ally; you are an inspiration too!

  • Tay
    August 21, 2012

    Ally you are one of my best authors ever, can’t wait for Reached and keep up the writing. And i can’t believed that Micheal Phelps is done with the Olympics all well he did finish proud of himself because being the most decorated Olympian ever!!! 😉

  • Katrina
    August 22, 2012

    I, too, love the Piano Guys and that song in particular! Definitely inspiring. Music and nature do that to me a lot. Thanks for reminding me.

  • Sydney
    September 3, 2012

    My nanny as a child was whitney phelps.. His sister! He has been my lifelong inspiration & every time he’d send us something from the games my dreams would come true! Now you are my inspiration! Cassia’s story is one near & dear to my heart and I literally just finished Crossed today! Matched was our required school book & when I read the preview on iTunes I knew This would be a new favorite! I can not wait for Reached! It will be something bittersweet for me as well considering its the last one… Hopefully just for now (: Thankyou for creating such an inspiring and heartlfelt story!!

    • Ally
      September 4, 2012

      Sydney, oh my goodness, that is SO COOL that you know the Phelps family! Michael is my idol too (but of course I don’t actually know him–just admire his story from afar). Thank YOU so much for your kind words about the books. How awesome that MATCHED was part of your school reading. And I hope you like REACHED. 🙂

  • Sasha
    September 9, 2012

    As I was reading the matched trilogy I kept hearing the muse song Uprising in my head. It really fits the books

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