Previews

I used to be a big fan of South Park. I watched it every week, and anxiously awaited new episodes.
When I heard that they were making a movie, I was thrilled, and counted down the days until it opened. Of course, while the creators poured all their creative energy into the movie, the weekly content of the TV show suffered dramatically. It felt like filler with no creative soul, and I stopped watching.
So it is with WWDN as of late.
All of my creative energy and focus has gone into rewriting “Just A Geek,” and racing to get it done in time for a late March release.
I love WWDN, and really enjoy writing for it, but I have limited resources in my head, and when I have to pick, the website takes a back seat to the book. I hope readers understand.
Having said all that, I’d like to offer a small excerpt from the book, so you can all see what I’ve been working on.
This is from Chapter three:

Writing about the satisfaction and love I felt when I was with my family came very easily. I didn’t have to put on a brave face, or risk revealing how frustrated and tormented I was in my career. When I focused on my family, I felt liberated, and found humor and happiness at every turn.
28 August, 2001
Romper Stomper

From an e-mail I got this morning:
Wil:
I’m writing a book about Romper Room and came across a TV appearance of you on a California show with Miss Nancy. You told the hosts you used to watch Romper Room ?religiously.”
I’m writing to people who were on the show, or who watched the show, to get their impressions of Romper Room. I’m hoping you can answer some questions. What made you watch it? What’s your strongest memory of the program? Were you ever on Romper Room?

My response:
I was never on ?Romper Room”, but here is my clearest memory from watching it as a kid:
I would sit on the floor of our house (which was really a chicken coop behind my grandparents farmhouse. Yes, we were that poor), my fingers dug deeply into the golden shag carpeting, my tiny fists balled with anticipation, as Miss Nancy would hold up her magic mirror and ask it to tell her, ?did our friends have fun at play?? I would sit up straight, stare into the glorious black-and-white 13-inch Zenith TV and wait patiently as she saw Steven and Jody and Tina and Todd and Michael and every-fucking-body except WIL! Hey! Miss Nancy! I’m sitting right here! I’ve had LOTS of fun at play! I did the DooBee dance! I ran around pretending I was a fireman! I HAD FUN AT PLAY! WHY CAN’T YOU SEE ME?! AM I INVISIBLE?! *pant* *pant*
I never watched TV shows like the ones I did when I was four. Jesus, does anyone?

Writing that made me laugh out loud. I hadn’t planned on it turning into a rant, but I was doing lots of improv at the time, and I just wrote what came out of my head. I thought it was really funny, so I called my mom as soon as I was done to read it to her. When she picked up the phone, I could hear wind chimes and a waterfall. She was gardening in her backyard.
“Hey, it’s your son,” I told her.
“Hi Willow! How are you? Are you feeling better?” My mom always sounds happy to hear from me, and her voice is comforting — like a warm blanket, fresh from the dryer.
I was able to answer truthfully. “Yes, much. I wrote something funny for my website and I wanted to read it to you.”
“Oh, honey! That’s great! Let me turn off the hose.” I heard her set the phone down, and I closed my eyes, picturing their backyard: the beautiful redwood deck my dad and brother built, covered with potted flowers and tomato plants, the railing draped with white twinkle lights. I heard the jingle of their dog Kona’s collar, as she chased a butterfly, or the water falling from the hose. I saw water cascading into their swimming pool, and recalled the long summer afternoons spent floating in that pool, and the warm summer nights I spent as a teenager sitting in their spa, looking up at the stars. I breathed in, and I could smell the star jasmine which still grows under my old bedroom window.
“Wil? Did you hang up?”
“No, sorry. I was . . . lost in thought. Can I read you what I wrote?”
“Yes!”
I told her about the e-mail I’d gotten, and read her my response. I paused dramatically, and lowered my voice for the final sentence. I eagerly awaited her response.
“Oh, Wil,? she said, ?why do you need to have such a potty mouth?”
I resisted the urge to tell her that I had no fucking idea.
“It’s comedy mom, and it’s not always pretty.”
“Well, it’s very funny. I just wish you didn’t have to cuss so much.”
I beamed, knowing that I’d made my mom laugh, and — more importantly — made her feel proud of me.
“I gotta go answer emails, mom. I love you.”
“I love you too, sweetie. Bye-bye.”

160 thoughts on “Previews”

  1. Heh… Willow..
    Wil, if you’re doing a signing tour you have to make your way up to Montreal. Don’t just go to Toronto… there’s more to Canada than TO. Chapters, downtown or West Island. Be there.

  2. I couldn’t MAKE myself watch Romper Room when I was of the age.
    After like 3 minutes, I’d be totally creeped out and I’d have to switch channels. Think I used to melt my brain with Bob Barker on The Price Is Right or something. Or Joker’s Wild. Joker, Joker, JOKER!!!
    Captian Kangaroo was cool, though. Mr. Moose. Bunny Rabbit. Ping Pong balls from the sky. And Mr. Green Jeans, the wacky putterer.
    Yeah.

  3. Sighhhh…The Romper Room part was funny and I remember waiting for Miss Nancy to say my name too. I believed it happened once or twice. My name is Christine, a popular name back then. I remember the DooBee dance and DON’T be a Don’tBee.
    My favorite part of your excerpt, however, is the description of your parents’ backyard. I could picture it in my head. Your description can almost be called romantic. Very, very nice.

  4. Awww.
    This brought a single solitary tear to my eye.
    I then wet myself in anticipation.
    It has been a very fluid based evening on the whole.
    And Willow?
    My feminine side is glowing.
    My masculine side is laughing.
    (Nb. I am not transgender.)

  5. Hi Wil,
    Thanks for sharing a portion of your book. I love the picture you paint of your parents backyard.
    I’ll have to remember to dream up happy memories of my mom in our backyard, especially when my parents are driving me bonkers.
    Looking forward to “Just A Geek.” Great title, by the way. :)
    -Jocelyn

  6. I never heard my name on “Romper Room”, either. I guess it wasn’t as common back in the early ’70s.
    There had better be a book signing in Pasadena. Preferably at Vromans or the Barnes and Noble or Borders on Lake Avenue so I can just walk.

  7. “Just A Geek” huh?
    That book will look so appropriate in my room.
    Is this the first time that you’ve told us what the title is? It’s the first I’ve heard anyway. I look forward to to reading it.
    -Jeffery

  8. Well, being British, I have no idea what romper room is. But, I’d like to say, no matter how distracted you get, I’ll still hang around.
    Looking forward to the book, hopefully I’ll be able to get it without resorting to the strange and incomprehensible devices of the net.

  9. Wow… Play School. Didn’t watch it when I was little (not being in the UK), but the guy who did the music, Johnathan Cohen, is a friend of my aunt’s from music school. Very nice guy, but it’s really trippy to connect the bloke you’ve just had several drinks with at a dinner party with the slightly wacked out show you watched a week before because you were too lazy to change the channel. :)
    And, Wil, don’t forget us poor benighted souls on this side of the Atlantic when you schedule book signings. I’ll even go to London to buy you a drink, if you don’t make it to Oxford!

  10. Hey, Wil. For whatever it’s worth, I, for one, am eagerly awaiting your book. I have loved reading all of the prose you have shared with us here and have no problem seeing a diminished WWDN while you focus on your book. Good luck, buddy.

  11. Don’t worry, Wil. We can be patient while you do what you need to do to finish up the book.
    Loved the story. I don’t tend to share my writing with my mom (too much sex, too much language, not enough “Christian values”). I have my camoflauge hobby of beading for that :-)

  12. …we join net addict Amit C. fantasizing about that sweet little redhead Alyson Hannigan performing “magic tricks” with her “wand”.
    Uh Oh, all of a sudden the image of Alyson is replaced with that of Big Bad Uncle Willie.
    Amit C. carefully selects a pencil from the cup on his desk and CRAMS IT IN HIS MIND’S EYE.

  13. Wil great excerpt from your book. Cant wait for the book to come out. Will you be touring with the book, and please say you will be coming to Seattle, it would be great to see you up hear.

  14. Wow, that was great stuff. I’ll be sure to pick up a copy of your book. You’re calling it “Just a Geek?” That has to be one of the neatest titles I’ve ever heard! ^-^;; I’m really looking forward to this.

  15. I’m excited for the book! I need something new to read (so I spend less time adding pointless stuff to my page…if anyone sees it, you’ll understand lol)
    are you going to do a promotion thing for the book? if so, keep kansas city in mind :-)

  16. hey, that is soo cool, i can’t wait to read the whole book. i love the bit at the end, the reference to stand by me. i just read the book, “the body” the other day, and it was great. the movie was so close to the book, and coz i’d seen the movie first, i could imagine all you guys as the characters. i loved it!
    so congrats wil, its Great!
    love Rach
    xxx

  17. This is so not-really-relevant, but I had to mention that that my parents had a dog named Kona, too. She was an English Springer Spaniel.
    Can’t wait for the book, you potty mouth, you. ;)

  18. “Bend and stretch. Reach for the stars… Here comes Jupiter, there goes Mars.” – Thanks to Romper Room, this tune has been stuck in my head for most of my 28 years.

  19. Wil don’t sweat putting the site on the back burner it is quite understandable and hell if you put us first and your book or real life second then I would think you had issues! Anyway what other actor would be as personally involved in thier site as you are? You rawk!
    Anyway, I can’t wait until your book comes out! I am anxiously awaiting it!

  20. Funny Story! and very Jean Shepherd-ish. Kinda reminds me of Ralphie listening to Little Orphan Annie and getting totally “hosed” by the secret Ovaltine commercial on the decoder pin.
    Isn’t it funny how chats with mom’s always end in “I Love You” – like they don’t know that already or need a reminder. For your sake, I hope she doesn’t have an old bar of Lifebouy in the cabinet when you go visit.

  21. Um, wouldn’t that be “parents'” rather than “parent’s”? I would be happy to proofread the book for you if you wish. I think this one
    wil have more readers than the last book I proofread.
    Catches own typo; I’ve been writing wil instead of will lately, can’t think why.

  22. Wil,
    I am confused. Some moms would have reached through the phone, grabbed your throat, pulled you into the garden and buried you there. Its cool that your mom likes to laugh.
    Wow,I read some of your book. Go figure. I never promised but I read some of it.
    FG

  23. Hey that was cute! Your mum sounds really great!
    You know Wil, i didn’t really think you’d be able to write very well. You know how actors and musicians write books and they aren’t that good. I was bored one day and started reading a Bill Cosby one. And although the stories were amusing it wasn’t well written.
    But from that excerpt and the way you wrote with passon about your home, i think it’ll be a great book!

  24. try having the name VALENTINE and waiting for them to say it *sigh* oh well cant complain they never said anyone elses in my families name either

  25. hey! no wonder you remind me of stephen king. lol you take actual phrases from him. but that’s cool. immitation is the highest form of flattery. sorry if i pissed you off lol, but you’re both excellent writers.

  26. wil. seriously.
    you update almost everyday.
    please don’t feel bad if other things are a bit more pressing. your fans are happy to hear from you when we do.
    thanks for updating so often.
    peace out.
    eric

  27. Its ok Wil, update us when you can!
    Re Romper Room, I never heard a “Julie” when I
    watched it, but I always got more out of Sheriff John and Engineer Bill, anyway!
    “Geek” sounds great-just as long as you do have a signing in Pasadena (Arcadia doesn’t have anything
    as good as a Vromans or B & N!)
    Have a good night!

  28. Willow? Well hey, that’s not half as bad as what some mothers call their sons.
    Ooh by the way! Saw you on Diagnosis Murder yesterday…for like a nano second! I’d got all my evening snacks laid out before me, settled down on my (very fine new) sofa and was eagerly anticipating to watching me some Wheaton magic. Jesus, where the hell did you go?
    It was ok though, it had put me in the mood for TV and I watched Diag. Mrder. anyway.

  29. Hello “Willow”
    Only moms could say something like that. Well, not true, my dad calls me “Spud”. Anyway, that little excerpt left me hungry for more. Please tell me you’ll make copies available online!!!! I’m stationed overseas and might not get to see one for a while.
    I look forward to seeing you on all of the morning talk shows talking about your book. Give Katie Couric a big hug for me. Someone has already brought up the idea of a tour. Well, we’re all hoping.
    I’m anxiously looking forward to the finished product.

  30. Wil,
    Thanks for the sneak preview of the upcoming book.
    Me want!
    Me want!
    You are making arrangements for us loyal overseas monkeys to be able to get our hands (Or is it paws?)on a copy right? Right? *starts to hyperventilate* I need that book man! Come on! Just a small hit!!!! I can handle it…..
    *ahem*
    Oh…and just to add my voice to the crowd….Willow? Thats so cute! *grin*

  31. Hey Wil it says on the IMDB that your birth name is Richard William Wheaton (the third) – has your family always called you Wil, or were you a Dick?!
    ;)

  32. Also a relatively new visitor to WWDN…but I can’t get enough ;)
    I look forward to your book as well! I hope you DO go on a signing tour and visit New York (Try to get a gig on Long Island, but I’d gladly take the train into the city to see you)!

  33. Hm, you think she never saw Wil through her mirror? You should try being called Joshua in Australia in the early 80s. She never, never saw Joshua through that damn mirror!

  34. Speaking of Australia,
    Wil, maybe you could be the newest Wiggle?
    You’re kinda Wigglish.
    You think Romper Room in stuck in your collective heads? Wait till you have 2 year olds and watch the friggin Wiggles everyday.
    If I have to sing Morningtown Ride at bedtime, ONE MORE TIME……..
    (some of you will understand this, some not)

  35. Being a total series-freak, “Willow” brings a petite lesbian red head to mind….;)
    You should be happy your mom is like that. My mom is the opposite and it’s kinda disturbing. I mean, she’s into Eminem and Metallica!! I’m just glad she doesn’t greet my boyfriend with “Hey man, how’s it hanging?”. It wouldn’t surprise me much though.
    Also a little while ago I went to my sister’s place to celebrate her 19th birthday and my dad opened, saying “Ha! It’s my oldest one! Hello, daughter!”. I blame it on the alcohol.
    Keep up the great work and release the book in march. I’m dying to read it!!!

  36. Wil, I can soooo sympathise. Miss Nancy never said mine, or my sister’s names, either. Gretchen and Heidi. That bitch!! Hehehe. And I won’t even ask about the “Willow”. Hell, I’m 25 and my dad still calls me HoBear. It’s just what parents do, right? Anyway, eagerly anticipating the book!!

  37. LOL. I really enjoyed that excerpt from your book. The last line made me think of Richard Dreyfuss typing on the computer at the end of Stand By Me.
    I can’t wait until it comes out. :)

  38. Dude, you should give South Park another try. Sure, it was weak right around the time the movie released, but the last couple of seasons, almost every episode has been brilliant satire. It’s been incredibly good.

  39. if that is an indication of what we can look forward to in your book, i’d say that we will all be very happy monkeys indeed :)
    as long as everyone else is sharing i’ll add that my dad gave me the nickname
    ‘typhoonius claudius maxiums’
    i kid you not…
    my old man the comedian..haha..
    personally, i always thought it was cute and clever…

  40. was beginning to think we’d lost u! glad u thinking of us babe. Also, i watched stand by me lastnight. was taken back about ten years watching that, and also reminded of just how damn cute u were back then. As a child, u were cute as a button, as a man u are gorgeous as well. lucky you :) Why people keep refusing to give you a chance is beyond me, ur a great actor, and really deserve a chance. When i make my film about going back in time and leaving secrets, i’ll cast you as my leading man k!

  41. Will you are so sweet
    Does anybody else call you willow?
    Did’nt you get beat up in school for that?
    FYI
    Go to the websites of all the cast of TNG
    They all suck
    Your site rocks
    I like I Like I LIKE!!!!
    Patrick Stewart, it seems, is too good to do conventions, autographs or even fan mail.
    Marina Sirtis is a pam anderson wsnnabe
    Jonathan Frakes, who I had a HUGE childhood crush on, won’t even look at his site for the next year because he’s “out of the country”
    Never heard of laptops it seems…….
    ROCK ON WILL
    A CANADIAN FAN!

  42. I didn’t get the “Yes, we were that poor” reference with respect to the farmhouse and the chicken coop. Does it follow that all people who raise chickens or live on farms are poor?

  43. Good job Wil! I can’t wait to read the book. Plus, however much it takes you away from WWDN you are still writing, and we just have to be patient and wait for your obviously wonderful book. Then we will get that great feeling of sitting down and reading it for hours.
    Holly

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