Ten Years After I Published The Book, Dancing Barefoot Gets an Audio Version

Dancing Barefoot by Wil WheatonWhen I was writing my first book, Just A Geek, I ended up with a lot of stories that just didn’t fit within the narrative. I didn’t know what to do with them, until my friend and editor, Andrew, said, “Why don’t you put them in their own book?”

I was hesitant, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that it was a very good idea, so that’s what I did. I asked my friend Ben to draw some illustrations to keep the stories company, and I published it all on my own, before Just A Geek was even completely finished. The book is called Dancing Barefoot.

After I released the audio versions of Just a Geek and The Happiest Days of Our Lives, a lot of people asked me when I was going to do an audio version of Dancing Barefoot, to round out what I’ve just decided to call a trilogy. The truth is, I never intended to do an audio version of it, because I felt like I’d grown as a writer since it was published, and it would sound and feel strange to revisit that book without wanting to rewrite the whole thing.

But something really changed in me when I turned 40 last year, and I stopped worrying so much about things like that. I accepted that it was the best I could do then, and even if it’s a little rough around the edges, it’s because I made it that way.

So about a month ago, I booked some studio time with my favorite audiobook producers, and finally recorded an audio version of Dancing Barefoot.

It felt a little strange to record something I wrote over a decade ago, as I was entering my thirties, and looking into my past in order to understand my future. It was written during a tumultuous and uncertain time, when I was struggling so much just to make it month to month. Reading it now, knowing what my future actually held, both wonderful and terrible, made it a more emotional experience than I expected.


From Houses In Motion

I had this weird sense of nostalgia as I read it, like nesting dolls: I remembered the stories that I told, I remembered writing them down on my blog for the first time, then editing them into Dancing Barefoot for the first time, and then shipping thousands of books around the world, out of my living room. I remembered how excited I felt when Anne and I opened the first box of books when they were delivered from the printer, and how happy it still makes me feel when someone hands me one of those books to sign for them.

Real quick, before I get to the link for the album, I want to say something to those of you who have been here for a decade, especially those of you who bought Dancing Barefoot so long ago: Thank you. Without your support then, I wouldn’t be here now. There’s a straight line between you buying that book from me, and me working on Eureka, Big Bang Theory, Leverage, and everything else. There’s an even shorter, straighter line between me shipping that book to you from my living room floor, to me writing all my other books, magazine columns, and posts of varying quality on this blog.

F. Scott Fitzgerald is credited with declaring that “there are no second acts in American lives,” and before I began this journey a little over a decade ago, I believed him. But because I people like you kept coming back to read my blog, kept coming to see me perform on stage, and bought my books when I published them, I feel like I may be one of the exceptions to that rule.

I’m incredibly grateful for the life that I have now, the life that I worked so hard to build. Every single day, I’m afraid that I’m going to wake up and discover that it’s just a dream, or a cruel trick in some episode of The Twilight Zone. I worked really hard for what I have now, but I didn’t do it alone. People I’ll never meet took a chance on me and made it possible for me to do what I’m doing now, and I can’t thank you enough.

Okay, I’m rambling, so I’ll just get out of the way. Here’s the product information:

It’s available now on my Bandcamp page, you can listen to the entire thing there for free, or you can buy it for $10 though the weekend, before it goes up to $20 next week. It includes a digital booklet with all the illustrations Ben did, scanned by me from my original author’s copy of the book.

Here’s the description:

Available for the first time in audio, read by the author.

In this wonderful Freshman effort, actor and author Wil Wheaton shares five short-but-true stories about life in the so-called Space Age:

Houses in Motion – Memories fill the emptiness left within a childhood home, and saying goodbye brings them to life.

Ready Or Not Here I Come – A game of hide-n-seek with the kids works as a time machine, taking Wil on a tour of the hiding and seeking of years gone by.

Inferno – Two 15-year-olds pass in the night leaving behind pleasant memories and a perfumed Car Wars Deluxe Edition Box Set.

We Close Our Eyes – A few beautiful moments spent dancing in the rain.

The Saga of SpongeBob VegasPants – A story of love, hate, laughter and the acceptance of all things Trek.

17 thoughts on “Ten Years After I Published The Book, Dancing Barefoot Gets an Audio Version”

  1. As one of those who encouraged you to write the first book back on the Soapbox, you are welcome. But I also want to thank you for sharing your journey with us. I think all writers put a bit of their soul into everything they write and that it takes a very brave person to share something that personal with the world. I love to write but I have never had the courage to try to share it with others, at least not yet.
    On another note thank you for sharing your fight with depression as well. That has had a huge impact on those of us who felt very alone in dealing with that issue too. You have helped give me hope that it can get better.
    p.s. If you ever come back to Ottawa (or Montreal or Toronto) I need to bring my copy of “Sunken Treasure” as it is the only book I have of yours which is not signed.

  2. As a long long time supporter of your work, it makes me thrilled to say that I have the book. As a matter of fact, I have the book with a personal note in the front. It reads, “This is the first ever copy of Dancing Barefoot. Thank you so much for your support, I hope you like it. Fondly, Wil Wheaton.”
    This book is in my fireproof document box, it will go with me wherever my path leads. Wil, I am so happy that your life has spiraled upwards so amazingly and am very happy to have been a very tiny part of your journey. Wishing you continued success.

  3. Bravo for a new project! I’m glad you got excited and made something – both then and now. And I’m glad I’ve got to come along for a good bit of the ride. :)

  4. Add my voice to the comments above… I humbly received your personal thanks a couple of years ago in Toronto when giving you Dancing Barefoot to sign…. as said then… I have the choice in my life to invest in artists. I can listen to what I want, watch what I want and read what I want. I make those choices because I believe in the person who is creating that art. Your more recent successes are the payoff from that investment, and I feel pride when it happens. Keep up the great work… and the old days of the soapbox holds special memories for me that I will always treasure.

  5. While I’ve only recently been introduced to you as both a writer and actor (just last year when my English teacher happened to add Just a Geek to a list of books we could write reports on), I can’t tell you how much of an impact you’ve made on my life. You’ve influenced the way I write not only novels that I hope to eventually print, but also articles for my school newspaper. My voice when I write has completely changed, and it’s all because of your books. You put so much of yourself into each sentence, each word, that I couldn’t help but admire that.You’re one of my favorite authors (it’s a 3-way tie between you, John Green, and J.K. Rowling) and one of my favorite actors. Reading through your books made me realize that while there are always rough spots in your life, you can get through it. You helped me to view the world differently. You’re also the reason I got into Star Trek. I’m completely obsessed with it, so thanks for that. You’re an inspiration to me and so many other people. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences with the world. I can’t tell you how thankful I am for chancing to pick up and read Just a Geek. I wish I had been introduced to your work sooner. Thanks again and, not to be cliche, live long and prosper

  6. Finally! I’ve been hoping this would become a thing ever since I heard your PAX keynote speeches and the Just A Geek audiobook. Bought this right away. Just noticed that the Just A Geek audiobook is up for purchase again too. I’ve heard it now, but I had to find it… somewhere else, sadly, as it was gone from where it was before. Maybe I’ll pay for that too, to make up for… that.

  7. I think it is true that you don’t get a second act… I just think that you don’t know when the PRELUDE ends.

  8. I have been waiting for this for a while, I have just bought my copy. Love the book, and can’t wait to hear it read.

    Not to get TOO greedy, but will you be putting out a RFB where you play a chapter? I have been missing the bell ringing, obscure song playing, strange though revealing goodness that is Radio Free Burrito.

    Also, any word on a book/chapbook? It seems you have several other things going on in your life, but you are a very talented writer, and I enjoy reading your works. Looking forward to a new “Memories of the Future” if you get a chance to write some more on it. It is fun to see the actors, and not the characters they play. I don’t see MotF as a book about STTNG, but as a book about how a bunch of actors on a show I watch(ed) interacted and fun insight into the process of creating the show. And how one of them, a fellow geek, talks about what he thought of each episode, and how well (or not) it was developed. I feel this last part is like talking to my other geek friends about the show.

    If you need someone to review a pre-release copy and give some feedback, sign me up! Wait, you already have that, it is called WilWheaton.net…

    Keep acting,
    Keep gaming,
    Keep writing,
    Keep blogging,
    Keep doing comedy,
    Keep making beer,
    Keep doing the myriad other great things you do.

  9. I’m so proud to have been part of this book, and unexpectedly moved that it has finally gotten the audio version it deserves. I can’t wait to download it and listen.

  10. I have an autographed copy of Just a Geek with a note. It says, “To Freeman-Thanks for teaching me how to speak Southern! Friends always, Wil Wheaton ” At that time you were planning a trip to New Orleans but had to cancel for some reason.

  11. Just finished it today. Really enjoyed it, and now after listening to Vega$pants, I want to go to a convention. I still don’t know what kind of geek I am, but maybe if I go I will figure it out.

  12. You’re welcome, Wil. I have one of the very first books from that very first shipment. Has it really been 10 years? Good job on your achievements; it’s funny to think of where I was 10 years ago and where I am now, too. Glad to have been a part of your success. Here’s to another 10.

  13. Just bought, “Dancing Barefoot”. Love it. My favorite story was, Houses in Motion, yes it made me misty. But, The Saga of SpongeBob VegasPants was a very close second choice. I knew that Captain K. was as you described him, no secret there. Those muscle suits were news to me, as was the fact you did improv. Yes that cave I live in is really remote. Even Bilbo can’t find me. Anyway epiphanys are rare and I so glad that yours happened for Star Trek. Yet I am so very sad that it occurred so close to a horrible tragedy. Damn, now I am misty again. So I will end with, when I searched for your site Google’s second choice was: “wil wheaton stinks”, sometimes you just have to laugh and I have to clean out my browser’s cache.

  14. Google Chrome did some update that removed you as my home page and I just got around to putting it back (World of Warcraft gaming with the kids – you know how that goes) and found this post. I wish I’d seen it before I paid all my bills. Any chance you could hold the sale until the 7th of January? I don’t get paid until the 3rd and I really wanted to buy the audio books.

    BTW, I donated what I could to the Pasadena Human Society – Team Wheaton – and got one of the calendars. If you didn’t get one, you don’t know what you’re missing. The pics in it are amazing! The photographer is incredibly talented. If you didn’t get a chance to donate, please consider it now. I’m sure they could use every donation sent to them. I will cherish this calendar all year. :)

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