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
From an e-mail I got this morning:
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?
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?”
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.”