I remember the times when Eric (Otto) Vaughn Gregg and I used to sit around the house on Spartan Street drinking beer and dreaming up stories. We had this one where the premise was a guy who hid all sorts of knives and swords all around his house, just waiting for the day when some madman tried to come in there and… hell, I don’t know, do something bad.
There was another one with a clown in there somewhere, and I even went as far as buying clown makeup and putting it on to show what this scary clown would actually look like when he came out of the shadows to… hell, I don’t know, do something bad.
We thought we were so cool.
Fact is, I was just a dope having fun with my friend, but Eric was serious. He used to skip keg parties and all that so he could stay home and write. I thought he was crazy. I had interest in writing and storytelling, of course, but to believe in myself so much that I skipped out on the parties and all that? No chance.
Fast forward a few years. I’m out of college and Eric is doing his last couple semesters. I shot up to East Lansing for the weekend to visit. Eric and I got to talking about writing and storytelling again. I made this comment: “Man, I sure would love to be a writer.”
Eric said, “No, you wouldn’t.”
I said, “Yes, I would.”
He said, “No. You wouldn’t.”
I said, “Fuck you. Yes, I would. I just said I would, didn’t I?”
He said, “If you wanted to be a writer, you would write.”
I said, “…”
He was right. It’s easy to sit there saying you want something, but if you’re not actually doing what it takes to achieve it (and I wasn’t; not nearly enough, anyway), then you should do one of two things, 1. Start doing it, or 2. Shut the hell up about it.
I opted to shut the hell up. I was embarrassed. I wanted it in my mind, but not in my heart. I wanted what I envisioned the results of writing to be, but I wasn’t yet willing to put in the time.
Eric’s words, however, stayed stuck in my mind.