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. Oh, I get it now. The house itself was converted from an old chicken coop. Got it. Sorry – I have ‘rural-upbringing-inferiority-complex.

  2. I enjoyed that piece when your first wrote it. I’m glad to see it’s going into the book. You are including the follow up about reading it to your mom, right? The part about remembering your parent’s house was great.
    I remember also watching Hobo Kelly as a child. She had this magic brush with a butterfly that she would paint the inside of the TV screen.
    Late March release? Does that mean you’re trying to have the book ready for the Creation convention in Pasadena? That would be awesome! Seeing you on stage and getting your book at the same event would be wonderful. But, if it’s not ready, don’t fret. Better to have it done right than to meet some arbitrary release date.

  3. Nice read, Wil. If this is truly a “cut and paste” from the book (which I’d be hard-pressed to believe it is, as any spell/grammar checker would catch these), I noticed two typos (beyond the grammar error about possessives pointed out above):
    First paragraph: tormetned. You gots your letter trasnposed. ;)
    When your mom is turning off the hose, there are two “with”s in a row in that paragraph (“railing draped with with white twinkle lights.”).
    Anyway, as I said, nice read!

  4. Are you trying to drive us abso-smurfley MAD?? I don’t know if I can make it until the book comes out now. Thanks for that.
    I lived in a chicken coop when I was little… we even found feathers in it when we first moved in. We always called it ‘The chicken coop’ later when referring to that house we lived in. Cement floors covered by cheap linoleum. You brought back some childhood memories with that one. I wouldn’t think it’s too common to live in old chicken coops. I love you even more.
    I think your Mom’s nickname is cool… my family always called me Crickle-doll or just Crickle. Yuck. Go figure.
    And Wil, I will always be your Monkey, whether you post every day or every month or just write books. You RAWK!

  5. Heh. My mom does the same thing. I write a long, involved diatribe on my blog, three pages filled with descriptions and situations and feelings and laughter and tears or whatever crap I was spewing that day, and my mom would inevitably sieze on the most ridiculous things.
    One day I was writing about getting over an ex, and watching ex-es move on and why we have every right to feel the way we do as long as we don’t let the ex know we feel that way, and that I was able to say this through long and frequent experiences with dumping perfectly nice boys *much to my mother’s chagrin*, and the next thing you know I have this 50 page email in my inbox with my mother explaining *she just wants me to be happy*. I mean, miss the point much?

  6. wil
    great expect from the book can’t wait for it. If you make it to branson, mo for an book promo i’ll hook up with free tickets to Silver Dollar City. anyway great job and keep up it up. we all understand and can’t wait for the book

  7. Love the excerpt and cannot wait to read the rest! I hope you make it down to my neck of the woods for a book signing. Hell, I’d even travel up to Atlanta or down to Savannah for it! Just keep working hard and we’ll all still be here.

  8. You know, Miss Nancy never, ever said my name either, and that *always* pissed me off. I had to laugh when I read that someone else felt exactly the same way. Heh.

  9. Richard William Wheaton III
    Richard, Richie, Rich (Dick?).
    Willow. Well, my mom is the only one who can get away from calling my old neighbor friend Timmy.

  10. Most excellent, Wil. Can’t wait for the book.
    Heh, I occasionally sprinkle a little profanity in my blog entries, too. My mother reads it and always tells me “Do you have to use so much fucking profanity? You can express yourself without it and still get your point across.”
    And she wonders where I got the habit from…

  11. What are you talkin about Wil? South Park is as good now as it’s ever been. It may not be as shocking anymore just because people have probably been shocked to the point of complete desensitization. Now the Simpsons on the other hand.. now that show just sucks now. It peeked back in season 8 with the episode about Hank Scorpio and has been downhill ever since.

  12. Excellent excerpt! I only have vague memories of Romper Room. My favourite shows were Mr. Dressup and Fraggle Rock (yup, good ol’ canadian television.)
    I am in eager anticipation of your book! Will you come do a signing at Indigo in Toronto? Rudy Giuliani did one in November and the whole place was crazy… hmm… that makes me wonder if I’d be able to get in to see you!
    Ah, well. How long until the book is out?

  13. No offense but the excerpt was kinda lame. Let me guess what your book will be about. How as a young child you were considered a gifted child and then you became obsessed with yourself during your years on TNG. Now you are a struggling actor who is trying to find remedial roles here and there but nothing compares to the love of your family. Wil, you’re 30 years old and the chances of you being a famous movie star are pretty slim. Do something productive with your life nad be a good role model to your step kids.

  14. I used to watch the show quite a bit too, and I will tell you, from simillar experience, she NEVER said Todd. But I’m glad you put my name in your email… it’s almost as good as being seen in the mirror!

  15. South Park’s been getting consistently better and better these past three years, Wil. If anything, try to catch the now-infamous ‘Scott Tenorman Must Die’ episode. Now if only Trey an’ Matt’d have Wil on th’ show, perhaps in a parody of th’ Berman produced Trek series…or on fandom in general ["Star Trek Conventions Gone Wild?" "Star Trek & Hedonism Combo Cruises?!"]

  16. I think I know why your book is going to be so great: we’re really going to identify with everything you have to say. Reading your book will be just like coming home, a family dinner with that crazy Uncle Willy, telling wacky stories, as always.

  17. Hey IG. They could do another telethon with Wil co-hosting the event with Big Gay Al!
    “He’s sooper, thanks for asking!” lmfao

  18. I’d just like to clarify something for the very small number of people who don’t seem to understand this:
    If you are an ass, your comment will be deleted. Your IP will be posted, so you can’t hide behind the anonymity of the Internet. If you’re not willing to stand behind your comment, then don’t post it.
    Commenting here is NOT A RIGHT. This is not a public forum. I maintain this site, and I pay for this site. It’s clearly outlined in the TOS at the bottom of the main page.
    If you need to be an ass, you are more than welcome to do so at your own site, or some other website that tolerates immaturity. You are not welcome to do it here.
    I hope I didn’t use too many big words, so this won’t be a problem any longer.

  19. Wil, I can’t believe you went thru the same thing on Romper Room as I did! I’m WAY older than you and I had no idea they still were doing that back then…I have the same memory..sitting on the floor, anxiously awaiting the lady (whatever her name was in the 60’s) and she started saying everyone’s name but mine! I was in agony! Why couldn’t she ever say my name???
    Oh well, thanks for the sweet memory..that’s what I love about your writing and you..it’s so vivid and fresh.
    Denise

  20. I totally empathize with you… she never said *my* name, either, and I think it traumatized me as a child. I was equally traumatized by the change-over from Miss Sally to Miss Molly. (Were those their names? I was awfully young…)
    Looking back, it was kind of like the Bewitched Darrin-switch. (Of course, I only got to see *that* in re-runs.) Were we kids not supposed to notice or care? *sigh*
    OK, back to grown-up life.

  21. I just need to know if we can pre-order this book like some OTHER book that may be out in JUNE of this year.:D
    And PLEASE do signings, that would be very generous of you…you can be away from this site for a little while cantcha? :)

  22. Good response, Wil. Cut, paste and save for future posting. I just called the guy who drives the clue bus to see if he will make a few more stops here. Hopefully, a few will get on.

  23. Good comment, Wil. Might I offer a suggestion though? Perhaps you’d consider “cut-and-paste”ing (yikes…killing the language there) that warning as an entry rather than just as a comment. The relevant people probably wouldn’t bother reading the comments since they tend only to be interested in their own opinions and would, therefore, miss it.
    Just my $.02…
    Em

  24. My mom is generally okay if I curse, since she can’t be hypocritical about it, but it’s especially okay if I curse in reference to my deadbeat father (though she won’t curse about him, since she tries to be impartial).
    So something like, “This food fucking sucks,” is sort of frowned upon but not outlawed, and “Why can’t he fucking just pay his goddamned back child support?” is supported. I think it works out well.
    Can’t wait for the book to come out, Wil. =)

  25. Gotta Run!
    Just got this great exclusive at WWDT that Wil is invisible. The National Tabloids will pay me millions for the story.
    Oh and that as an invisible guy, was on every episode on TNG.
    Now I gotta think about how I am going to spend all the money I will get!

  26. Wil,
    Thanks for posting this excerpt. Looking forward to the book. I picked up on the “Stand By Me” reference (which was, I assume, intentional): “I never watched TV shows like the ones I did when I was four. Jesus, does anyone?” Nice touch.

  27. Loved the Stand By Me reference, Wil :)
    I also love your style of writing… the imagery is fantastic.
    Your mother sounds so sweet! Willow.. Cute ;)

  28. Cool I can not wait to read the book. I have followed your movie makking and still think you rock. thanks.

  29. I think you’re one of the greatest people I’ll never know, Wil. And when your book comes out, I look forward to reading it.

  30. ROMPER ROOM!…thanks for bringing back a nice memory…”miss lois” was the host in my neck of the woods…and yeah…i waited every day to hear my name.

  31. cussing? what cussing? It was funny though and it reminded me of when I was four years old and how I really do miss the shows that was on back then because a lot of shows out now are nothing but crap.
    I can’t wait for you book, I hope you go on a book tour.

  32. I must have watched Romper Room a lot, because I remember thinking something like, “After all this time, I know that TODAY she will say my name.” But evidently Mary Anne is just too obscure a name to make it onto the list. . . Is my frustration still evident? Guess I never recovered from the time I cried because I’d wanted her to say my name so bad. (Sigh.)
    I’m in the Naval Aviation community, and my wonderful comerades have granted me the callsign “Band Camp” because — get this — I have red hair. That’s it. That’s the whole reason, as far as I can tell. But if I was to get hold of Miz Romper I might actually do the Band Camp character justice: “Say my name, b*^@h!” Wow, that felt great! I think I feel enough emotional release to go wash the dishes!!
    (Scampers off. . .)

  33. I watched Romper Room from time to time but it kinda gave me the willies (no pun intended by the way) for some reason. Maybe it was the fact that I knew she couldn’t see through the damn mirror and I resented that she tried to make me think she could. ;-)
    As for the excerpt from the book, in general Wil, I like your writing. But this one particular excerpt doesn’t work for me. Normally when you drift off into one of your nostalgic memories, you do it either out of the blue, say as a new post to your blog, or in the middle of a not-so-interesting passage. In both cases the diversion is welcome. But in the romper room article, you’ve got a lot of momentum with the conversation with your mom, then all of a sudden ADD kicks in and you’ve gone way off topic! As a reader I was a turned off. Rather than tell me in concise sentences how your mind wandered into the garden, take me there more sensually and then I’ll understand where you’re coming from and I won’t be so freaked out when I end up in the garden instead of on the phone.
    On the other hand, maybe it’s the fact that you’re trying to describe a memory that had an emotional impact on you as you experienced it, yet you fill it with explanations that feel unnatural. You can’t describe to me how you’re feeling when you’re constantly interrupting yourself to tell me whose dog Kona was or that you only sat in the spa in the summer. I want to feel the memory you had not just know the minutae of your flashback.
    Your web site is great, by the way. Thank you for doing what you do.

  34. I really enjoyed this, as much this time as the first time. I’m really glad its going into the book.
    I too, would add my voice to the chorus and ask, how do we get a copy? Will you be selling here on the site, or what? Whatever, consider me sold.
    Love and Hugs

  35. Wil,
    Enjoyed your excerpt. I assume you’re in the throes of rewriting/cleaning up (that’s always the toughest part of doing a book).
    The Romper Room thing is sooo universal. There was also this show on when I was a preschooler (mrrhmrhm years ago) in Denver called Fred and Fay. I wanted to be on that show so bad… in fact, I actually thought one time I had been on it. A few yeas ago I asked my mom about that and she said I never had been on the show, but that when I was three or four, they couldn’t tear me away from the TV when it was on. So, I must have had a really good imagination or something because it seemed so real that I had done it.
    Anyway, hang in there. When you hold the bound copies of your book in your hand for the first time, it will all feel like it was worth it!

  36. Say it ain’t so Wil! Royalties usually don’t add up to much. You can, however, make an income from presentations and readings.
    Hmm…
    Let me qualify that…most first time authors don’t earn much in royalities. You, however, have a pretty solid fan base :-)
    I can relate to the “Wahhhhhhh!”
    You go!

  37. hello?
    wil?
    you there?
    anything new going on?
    the one drawback of becoming and avid reader of your site,i suppose is when suddenly a day or 3 goes by with nothing new..
    i need my wheaton fix
    ;)
    cheers man..hope all is well
    ty

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