The familiar smell of freshly brewed coffee woke me a few minutes after Anne got up. I was still half-asleep when I walked into the kitchen and said, “Is there coffee?”
“There is totally coffee,” she said.
I filled my new favorite mug with Peet’s French Roast. It’s a cheesy looking thing that says “Crabby ’till I get my coffee” with a picture of a frowny crab holding a mug of coffee in each claw. It came from Cannery Row, of course.
“Are you crabby ’till you get your coffee?” she said.
“Uh-huh.” I said, as I wiped sleep from my eyes and took my first sip. I kissed the back of her neck and said, “But I’m not crabby now.”
I’ll spare you the rest of how sickeningly cute we were at each other, but if you’ve ever been stupid in love with someone, you probably know what I mean.
The kids ate breakfast, and Anne took them to school. When she got back, she said, “You want to take the girls to the park?”
Ferris has a limited vocabulary, but I’m convinced that she knows the phrase “take the girls” because whenever she hears it, she runs to the cabinet where we keep their leashes, and kicks the door.
“Yeah. That will be fun.”
Fifteen minutes later, they were running around with other dogs while we watched like proud parents.
“I love the way dogs play just like little kids,” I said.
Ferris ran over, dropped a dirty tennis ball at my feet, and looked up at me. Riley sat next to her, trembling with excitement.
“Did you want me to throw the ball for you?” I said.
Riley jumped up and ran in a little circle. Ferris barked.
“Okay,” I said, and threw it as far as I could.
The dogs chased it at full speed, right through a big mud puddle.
“I guess I’m taking my car to the carwash today,” I said.
Anne looked at me. “How are you doing this morning?” she said.
“You’re still dwelling on that stupid Entertainment Weekly thing,” she said. Not a question.
My left eye began to twitch. It’s been doing that for about a week, and I really wish it would stop.
“I know that it sucks, but you’re wasting a lot of energy on a few words.”
Riley got to the ball before Ferris, but kicked it across the grass. Ferris darted to the side, and picked it up.
“You know how they said I ‘endlessly lament’ in my book?”
“I used some linux tools to grep my manuscript last night. I wrote ‘I used to be an actor’ six times. That’s 48 words out of a manuscript of over 84000 words. That’s like point oh oh oh two three eight something something. It’s hardly ‘endlessly.'”
“Oh my god,” she said. “You are such a nerd.”
Ferris dropped the ball back at my feet, and took off before I could bend over to pick it up. Riley followed her, right through the mud puddle.
“It’s just that –”
Anne put her hand on my shoulder, and turned me to face her.
“You have to let this go. You know what the truth is, and so does everyone who reads your website.”
“But it sucks.”
“Let it go, Wil.”
I drew a deep breath, frowned, and rubbed my hands down my face. Ferris picked up the ball, and started to run back.
“I know. It’s just not as easy as I wish it would be.”
“I know. But if you dwell on it, you’re going to start whining,” she said. “You’re dangerously close to whining right now.”
Those were the magic words. She was right, and I knew it. I did not want to become a whiner. Somehow, I had to just let it go, learn something from it and just move on.
“You’re totally right.”
When Ferris was about fifteen feet away from us, she suddenly dropped the ball, and ran after a beautiful golden retriever. Riley scooped up the ball, brought it back to us, and lay down at our feet.
“Are you tired?” Anne said to Riley, in the overly-happy ‘I’m talking to the dog’ voice.
“Did you play too hard?” I said, in the same voice.
Riley rolled onto her back, and stretched out as far as she could. She was covered in mud.
Anne and I laughed, and I scratched the only part of her belly that wasn’t muddy.
“We are such geeks,” I said. Across the grass, Ferris and the Retriever were playing an excited game of you-chase-me-then-I’ll-chase-you.
I looked up at Anne. “When we get home, I’m going to write in my blog. I’m going to thank everyone for their support, and see if I can pick up a lesson from this. If I can, I’ll write about that also . . . but that will be the end of it.”
After a few minutes, Riley got up, and joined the game of you-chase-me-then-I’ll-chase-you, with an emphasis on the you-chase-me part.
While I watched the dogs run around, I marked how lucky and happy I am. “I have fantstic kids. I have a wife who loves me as much as I love her, and I was able to spend my Monday morning at the park with my dogs. I’ve got the freedom to write what I want, when I want, and I have the privilege of sharing these things with a wonderful audience who choose to give me a little bit of their time.
So fuck what some jackasssays, who doesn’t know me, and who didn’t make an effort to find out what I or my book was about. Yeah, the truth is important to me, but just like I can’t please everyone, I also can’t expect everyone to live an honest and honorable life, either. The world is filled with jerks, and probability just says that sooner or later I’m going to run into one of them.
If I spend all sorts of time dwelling on one person who was an idiot, it’s disrespectful to all the thousands of people who have been kind . . . not to mention a huge waste of energy.
There’s another reason the Entertainment Weekly thing hurt: so far, the mainstream media have ignored me and my book, and it has felt like a real rejection. But there’s something I had forgotten: Real People have not done either of those things. Real People have taken the Journey with me, on the website and in the book, and those people get it. If the mainstream is too busy with Paris Hilton, or just doesn’t *want* to get it, there’s nothing I can do about it.
Who did I write this book for? The mainstream media? Hollywood? Critics? Or did I write it for Real People? Did I write it for myself? The answer is easy. Just look at who the book is dedicated to. It’s not ‘The Media.”
I know that it’s risky to be totally honest, because some people view that as weakness, and attack. But the unexamined life is not worth living, right? If I’m not totally honest with myself, how will I ever learn and grow? Should I stop examining my life now, because I wrote a book about it?
Well, right now I need to examine my life, and I need to be totally honest with myself. I have to own up to something: I *did* hope that my book would get noticed by the Industry. I hoped that it would get noticed by critics, and I hoped that The Media would pay attention . . . but all that happened after it was published. When I wrote it, I hoped that my story would be amusing, interesting, and maybe even inspiring to people.
And you know what? That’s exactly what Real People tell me when they read my book: they were amused, interested, and occasionaly inspired.
What a myopic fucking fool I’ve been! What a stupid, stupid jerkass! I was so worried about impressing The Cool Kids, I forgot who I am, and why I do this. And even worse, I disrespected — even if unintentionally — the very people who have been with me on The Journey all along. It’s not some stupid magazine that owes *me* an apology; it’s *me* who owes all those Real People an apology.”
I turned to Anne. “I know what I’m going to write when we get home.”
“Good,” she said. “Just let it go.”
“I just did.”
258 thoughts on “in labyrinths of coral caves”
It’s Entertainment Weekly, dude. That’s just a hair more respectable than National Enquirer, and that’s not saying much. No-talent journalists, unhappy with their station in life, will be the first to poke fun at someone who is honest about himself and how he feels about his life, while THEY’VE been busy covering those same feelings up their whole miserable lives.
In short, fuck’em.
I just bought your book. I’m home from Barnes and Noble and the attached Starbucks, and as the warmy goodness of the Mocha Valencia begins to fade, I settle down to begin reading. Given what I’ve seen from casually reading your website, I’m sure I’ll enjoy it, AND I’m sure it will make me a more regular visitor here.
Well Wil I’m glad that your “over it” and I have a piece of news — my local book store — the one that brought in copies of your books after I ordered it — I was in there the other day and only 2 copies of DB remained so a possiblity of random people picking out your book just because it was there on the shelf and reading it — That can be your good thought for a day — your a sell out in an Edmonton local bookstore of JAG and I’m sure by next weekend the last two copies of DB will be gone as well.(I’m sure of it as I will be buying them to give to friends)
No need to apologize. You did nothing wrong. Everyone (who isn’t a sociopath, that is) has feelings, and they’re fragile. It’s tough to grow a thick skin.
Regarding your books…. I have both, which you signed (thanks to Dawn for getting the JAG sig for me!); they are on a special shelf in my room… with just a few other books that were either signed by the authors or one, which is from London. In other words: You mean so much to the people who read and love your work. Nothing that anyone can say can bring you down in our eyes.
I sent EW a nasty letter; being as negative as it is, I highly doubt that it will be printed… but from the likes of it around here… I would LOVE to see the face of the “writer” (I will NOT use journalist here) who wrote that skanky blurb’s face when he gets a load of letters saying how wrong he was.
Anne kicks ass! You already know how lucky you are, no need to reiterate. Sure, you may not be HOLLYWOODS ideal guy, but to us, you are just fine. And to your family, you are just PERFECT.
You have given us so much, and we hope we have given you a little back, in return.
Okay. I am gonna put myself in a diabetic coma with all this sap, so I will stop.
Chin up, Unca Wil. You have friends here.
Heh, it’d be very interesting to see how many people have bought JAG just because of the EW review. I just have… I mean, you used grep to demonstrate that the book doesn’t suck. What more does anyone need to know?
That was incredibly sweet and touching, and it made me cry. Even the comments (which I’ve never read before) are making me tear up.
You’re right, what matters is not what (people who think they are) media bigshots think, but what your family (especially your family) and the people who have come to respect and care about you think. And those people are not going to change what they think because of one bad review in a second-rate magazine.
Do what you do, and do it well, and know that there are many, many people who get it and appreciate it. Disregard the rest.
You rock. I was never much into Trek, only watched TNG on occassion, and heard all the Wesley jokes you can imagine. But after my husband introduced me to your blog, you’ve become someone I really admire. I’ve yet to read your books, but hope to do so soon. Thanks for sharing your life with us.
Fuck Entertainment weekly…their only job is to pick and pan….to ridiculously praise and drool over their favorites…and to point and laugh at the rest.
Your wife is right…and you are right, too…it does suck…but it’s little people who hurt (compensation for not being big enough to stand up to anyone prouder and stronger).
And, just on a side note..There are precious few actors and actresses who have been in the spotlight who are as thankful for their success and as grateful to their fans and who brought them to success as you. It is a rare individual that can see what has been given him..be thankful for what life has brought him…and still seem so approachable and personable..and human.
Plus there is none cooler than the man who is proud to be a geek 🙂 (I say this with bias because I, too, “heart” my geek…he is MJ and he can be seen as starmonkey on buzznet and heard on minepage.blogspot.com….-end shameless plug-)
Keep up the good work…AND LISTEN TO ANNE! she knows what she’s talking about!
> “You’re still dwelling on that stupid Entertainment Weekly thing,” she said. Not a question.
[max] who seriously takes EW, anyway. forget them. they are probably a bunch of wannabe actors who didnt make far passed auditions ..
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