Indeed, I was.
"C'mon, man," he said. "You've gotta do a keg stand with us!"
So I did.
Keep in mind, it was early afternoon and I was on my way to work or something. But this was a unique moment ... the first time I'd ever been recognized for my writing alone, just from a picture. And I admit it: it RULED. I happily did my keg stand, I signed copy of the newspaper, and I went on my way.
Not one to let lessons escape me, I did learn something from those drunken frat boys: judgment can be nice, and at least in the beginning, we should cling to those moments.
Here's my thinking: any piker worth a bucket of spit in this business can withstand gales of rejection, but can you withstand judgment? And I mean the ugly kind ... the public, brutal, snarky and personal kind? As in, "You suck VanZile."
Back to another memory ... I was in eighth grade. It was a big dance, and breakdancing was big at the time. So I practiced my worm and my spinning at home on the wood floor for weeks and weeks. The night of the dance, I decided to bust out my very own rockin' moves. A circle was formed. Jason B., the school's acknowledged best dancer, did his robot and popping thing. And then I went into the circle of light. Truthfully, I thought I was killing. My worm was sharp. I spun like a top. And then, out of the blackness, a flat voice reached me: "You suck VanZile."
So I got up and slunk from the circle, never to worm again.
And this is what publishing is like. If you can take that -- and come back for more -- then I think you've got a chance in this business.