10/9/2011 10:39 AM
The road to recovery is paved with Chili’s To-Go. I think it was Confucius that said that--I’ve eaten a lot of salsa.
Last night I learned two things. One, my friends are amazing and I’ll be describing that in a moment, and two, if you have a coughing fit when a migraine is still present, it makes you very sad. Luckily I had some painkillers on my prescription.
So, a little back-story on the first thing: apparently while I was still in the hospital, Erik Doescher (my new hero) reached out to Ernie Cline with, I dunno, let’s call it my “plight,” and Ernie agreed to stop by the hospital and say hello. Unfortunately for their amazing act-of-surprise, I talked my way into an early release with the promise of continued outpatient procedures over the coming weeks. Suckers!
So Ernie drove his f’ing DeLorean (complete with Flux Capacitor) up to Gearbox and we sat around in the kitchen just chatting about our various industries and careers. I’m not sure I’ve smiled that much in a long time, as is evidenced by my seizure inducing glow emanating in each of the photos I managed to take outside. To say that Mr. Cline is the most approachable nerd in the entire world is somehow still an understatement; our mutual love of Ghostbusters and Ecto-1 was a thing of glory. In such, here’s some interesting things you never probably thought about the porcelain-white hearse from the paranormal comedy.
-The proton pack delivery system is a gurney retrofitted to get their equipment in and out of the car. The morbid touches in the movie are as genius as they are disturbing. Watch Dan Aykroyd talk about it sometime, if you get the opportunity. His attention to detail will baffle and delight you.
-The people fighting dead people are driving around in something to transport dead people. This one probably seems obvious, but it was something I never considered as a child when I wore out my VHS copy of Ghostbusters that we taped off of TV. Their emergency vehicle is made out of the automobile that literally is made to deal with the least amount of emergency possible. Nothing can “emerge” from a dead guy—unless it’s a ghost. Then, it’s emergent… seriously. How friggin’ genius is that?
I’ve said it before, and I’m sure I’ll be saying it again for years to come: Ghostbusters is the greatest movie ever made. It was my Star Wars as child. It provided the sandbox for my brain to explore and grow as an entertainer. I quite think I’ll organize a Ghostbusters watching party this week, so hit me up if you’re interested. We’ll drink Ecto Cooler; it’ll be a thing.
Back to the brilliance of Ernie Cline, whom I should probably mention is the gentleman who wrote Ready Player One and the criminally tampered-with and underrated Fanboys. RPO came to me at a time in my life where I really needed an inspirational book to guide my hand a bit. About a year ago, I had a team of artists and letterers assembled and a graphic novel ready to be signed, I quite literally just had to sign the dotted line. But the deal was wrong. The publisher wanted less of the “boring talking” and wanted the artists to be replaced with cheaper scrubs—basically take five issues down to three and do our best to make it look crap.
This drove me down a strange path.
I am published in several mediums, but a novel is something I never considered myself doing as a writer. It seemed beyond my comprehension; how would I know which participles are too dangly? I jumped in and wrote a few chapters before sending it off to friends to get an idea of where I was at as an author. Long story short, I seemed to be doing okay but I was a bit too “showy” with my structure.
Ready Player One was the novel I read that showed me how to tell a great story without getting in the way of yourself. Ask anyone who read it and they’ll tell you how breezy and effortless it seems as you blow past each chapter to devour the next one. I read a lot of books, especially the opening chapters, when I was writing the first draft of my novel, and RPO taught me the most important lesson: tell the story you want to tell and don’t worry about anything else.
So, to Ernie Cline: thank you for everything. You certainly did not have to take time out of your busy DeLorean fueled galaventure across America to say hello to a gimpy video game guy from Dallas, but you did. You made more of a difference in my life than you’ll ever know and I sincerely thank you for the inspiration.
I had to take a break from the novel while I was in the hospital and I am just now getting to a spot I can pick that back up. Who knows, maybe I’ll be driving a DeLorean across the United States soon enough.