Sometimes, you have to cross the streams

As the world mourns the incredible comedy genius of Harold Ramis, let’s recount the badass things he taught as Dr. Egon Spengler.

Ladies and gents, I give you the top five take-home lessons from the single best movie of the 1980s, Ghostbusters.

#1 – Dr. Egon Spengler: Vinz, you said before you were waiting for a sign. What sign are you waiting for?

No really, what are you waiting for? What’s holding you back today, right now, from doing what you want?

Maybe you have a story to tell but no time or energy to get it done. Or maybe you’re afraid you’ll fail. Accept those as real possibilities and then find a way over or around them. Do it anyway.

#2 – Dr. Egon Spengler: I collect spores, molds, and fungus.

Do what you want, even when it’s not popular. Say what you feel, even when those around you don’t understand. Your only obligation on this planet is to be yourself.

Yeah, Dr. Spengler collected fungus. He also invented every piece of equipment the Ghostbusters used to save the world from the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. We all have quirks – and hidden talents. And where would we be without Dr. Spengler’s unlicensed nuclear accelerators?

#3 – Dr. Egon Spengler: Do you experience feelings of dread in your basement or attic?

That shit inside that’s tying you in knots needs to be addressed. Get it out onto the page. Mentally vomit and write anything. It will bring you inner peace faster than a shot of whiskey. And that peace will last long after the whiskey has worn off.

Writers, we cannot substitute the feeling we get when we create. Writing is therapeutic, healing, revealing. It makes us who we are. Don’t feel well? Try writing.

#4 – Respect the rules.

Generally speaking, writing rules are your friends. As you learn your style and preferences, rules guide you to writing with clarity. This is good. Readers like clarity.

#5 – ‘I have a radical idea.’

And sometimes, you have to break the rules. Once you already know what the rules are and why they exist, you can break them. Sentence fragments. Excessive em dashes. Things you couldn’t have attempted as a novice writer become fun and especially useful as plot devices. (Short, clipped sentences to build suspense, for example.)

Your assignment: Right now, in the comments, tell me what you’re allowing to hold you back. Fear? Lack of money? Lack of time? Spill it. THEN, tell me how you could overcome it.

Bonus points if you tell us what Ghostbusters taught you.

Thank you, Dr. Egon Spengler. Thank you.

6 replies
  1. Ellen Harger
    Ellen Harger says:

    Money, honey! And debt. This last year I took off my bookkeeper-limitator and bought a firehouse. Or rather, hubs and I invested in my writing and his 3D digital animation. 2013 was amazing for all its changes but the money thing didn’t reverse.

    The other day hubs found a great course. A whopping $300 and I said, “We can’t afford it.”
    Those words are deadly. My inner fear is yelling that we’ll soon experience “Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together… mass hysteria!”
    I mean, even Egon said, “Print is dead.” In fact, I will end with this final Egon quote: “Sorry, Venkman, I’m terrified beyond the capacity for rational thought.”
    But it hasn’t it stopped me, yet.

  2. Ellen O
    Ellen O says:

    AH, Ghostbusters. This should be required curriculum.

    Ghostbusters affirmed for me that I was sane, in an insane kind of way, and that its good to be sane (and Very silly, which I love to be.) but its even better just to be true to yourself. It taught me to allow close only those who are: 1. As insane as myself or 2. Enjoy coming along for the ride. 3. Don’t give a flying fandango about much, but love me as I am. 4. Will tell me the truth about important things, like when I’m not walking my talk (no judgment, “just the facts.”) Most of all it taught me to laugh my ass off, something I could never do till then. THAT was important, afterward I could breath deep for the first time in adulthood. And I can’t fail to mention it showed me how lucky one is if they have friends that will cross streams when you need them to, even if you’re not going to save the world.


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