Category Archives: Books

I’m narrating Randall Monroe’s What If? 2, but you didn’t hear it from me.

I’m generally not meant to talk about what I’m working on without explicit permission, so earlier today, I posted this on Instagram:


You know, like I always do when I’m working on something. It’s fun, and I enjoy having this easily searched archive when I want to pull a memory out of storage.

A little bit later, I added

Be cool and don’t narc on me. Snitches get stitches.

Then I went back to work and didn’t notice until I got home a bit ago that stupid fucking Instagram was like “Hey, how about I crop your image to ruin your joke? I’ll cut your name off the bottom so none of this makes sense lol. Now watch all these reels from people you don’t follow. You’ll see your friends’ posts in … the future.”

So here is the uncropped image which I TOLD Instagram to upload.

See? Narrated by me. I didn’t tell you, thus revealing a secret! You just read an unrelated screenshot. Ha! Ha! Ha!

Have I over explained the joke enough? Find the nearest dad to pick up the baton from me if not.

I’m always told not to talk about what I’m working on, so the publisher can make announcements and do PR at their pace, on their schedule. I always wait and then just amplify their messages. I know lots of professionals do lots of hard work, and I don’t want to step on it or make it harder for them, just to amuse or promote myself.

So, here’s the timeline on this job:

The day the book was announced way back in … I think winter, early in the year? I started getting asks from people if I’d narrate it, since I’d already narrated the first one, it was kind of in my wheelhouse, etc.

At that time, I hoped I would be asked, because I freaking LOVE Randall Monroe’s work, it was a blast doing the first one, and How To, and I loved the idea of getting the team back together (same director and studio) to do it again.

But like months went by and nobody called us, so I presumed they’d decided to use a different narrator. Oh well. Sad trombone but life goes on, long after JCM’s record has stopped playing in the last little pink house that hasn’t been destroyed by climate change.

Then! Then I got an email from my agent about 6 weeks ago, asking if I would narrate What If? 2. I replied something like, “Yes. I don’t even need to read it first. Just close the deal before they change their mind!” And that was that.

I still couldn’t talk about it (or at least chose not to, as expressed above), and when someone asked me if I was doing it, I always said that would be super cool, but I couldn’t say one way or the other.Then like two weeks ago, maybe three, I searched my name on Audible to find a link to one of my NUMEROUS AWARD WINNING NARRATIONS flex and saw that this one was on the list! HO HO! I don’t have to wait! They’ve already put it online!

Which brings us up to about 5 hours ago, when I posted what I imagined was clever, but was missing what I believe was/is vital context.

Thank you for coming to my TED talk.

I wrote fan fiction for my job and got paid for it and everything.

A few months ago, an editor at IDW reached out and asked me if I’d be interested in contributing something to their 400th issue of the Star Trek comic. I told her I was VERY interested, but wasn’t sure how much time I had in my schedule.

I offered a few options, presented in order from easiest (and least desirable for me) to most time-consuming, but most exciting for me to do: I could give them an essay that already exists, I could write a short, new essay, or I could write an entire new story.

She was like, how about that new story?

So I pitched something, and told my team that I was going to be working on this for a couple of weeks. One of them wrote back that I didn’t have time to do this. I told them I was creating time out of thin air to work on it, because it was that important to me. And that’s what I did.

My pitch was accepted, and I set my brain upon the task of developing it. It came in little pieces, out of order, until I woke up in the middle of the night about a week in, with an idea that was orders of magnitude more interesting and challenging. I got out of bed, transcribed what my brain was delivering, and hoped it would make sense in the morning. When morning came, I saw the shape of it, and I saw The Thing that I really wanted to do, The Thing that makes the whole story worth writing. (For shorts, there is always A Thing I want to tell in the story, and that’s why I write it. When The Thing revealed itself to me, it happened to be about 4 in the morning. It happens like that pretty frequently.)

We had to get approval, but time was already short. So I got to work before I even had permission and hoped for the best. I was fortunate to get broad approval, and the notes ended up being about small things that didn’t affect the narrative arc.

So a lot of the process to bring this together was watching and consuming Star Trek (thank you for your thoughts and prayers at this difficult time) so I was steeped in the universe. Think of living abroad for so long, you have to relearn what your cultural and language norms are before you go home.

It was the most fun I have ever had writing something. From the very beginning, I just had fun. I didn’t second guess myself. I didn’t worry. I didn’t let my anxiety or the relentlessly critical inner voice of the man who was my father speak up and distract me. I worked hard and without fear, and it was the best thing, ever. I have no idea how this will be received by the audience. I hope other people like it as much as I do. But even if they don’t, I love this story and I loved writing it. That’s all I care about, and WOW let me tell you what an incredible feeling that is!

I’m so grateful I learned how to separate the joy of doing the work from the anxiety of how it will be received. The rest of this post is collected from daily posts I made on Facebook as I tracked my progress.

July 11

I am having the BEST time writing this thing that’s due on Friday. I love EVERY SECOND of this process, even the parts where I don’t feel like I’m making progress the way I want to. I’m still making progress, and I’m learning to embrace that process so I can enjoy it more.

I’ve been at it all day, and I want to keep writing SO MUCH, but I am just totally out of gas and it’s time to go play NHL 22.

I love this. I love this so much. I love being a writer and a storyteller. I am so grateful for this life.

July 12

It’s another day on this project that’s due Friday. I’m on pace to wrap up tomorrow, have Thursday to polish it, and turn it in on time.

I think I’ve overwritten it (I usually do) and I may have to lose a substantial chunk, but that’s cool with me. I’ve learned how to save things, how to let go of my original idea when the collaborative process begins and the work starts to develop into its own thing. It’s pretty great.

I’d love to keep going, but just now, in the middle of a sentence, I ran out of gas. It happens, and I’ve managed my time responsibly enough to go ahead and call it for the day.
I’m still having the best time doing this, and I’m super excited to release it into the world.

July 13

I’ve been working on this thing that’s due on Friday for about a month, but I didn’t start actually writing it until last week, because WOW HAVE I BEEN BUSY.

I just finished the first complete draft, and I’m walking away to let it breathe until tomorrow, when I’ll rewrite. I am exhausted, but this has been so much fun. It’s going to kill me when I have to cut at least half of it, but I’m actually going to make this deadline, like I’m an adult and a professional, and everything.

July 14

So that thing that’s due tomorrow? Finished it and turned it in a couple hours ago. For the first time in my career as a writer, I actually got something in AHEAD of a deadline.
It wasn’t easy. This morning, while I was working on rewriting, tightening it up, raising the stakes, and all that, I hit The Valley of Despair. This is a part of my creative process, very close to the end, when I feel like everything I’ve done is terrible, I’m the worst writer in the world, they’re all gonna laugh at me, and I should just give up and quit right now.

When that happens, I know I’m close to the end, but too close to be objective and see the words among all the letters. (This took many painful years to learn.)

So I reached out to a friend I respect deeply, who has EXTREMELY relevant experience, and asked for notes. They gave me notes, some INCREDIBLE ideas that I absolutely LOVED adding, and they got me across The Valley of Despair. Once I was on the other side, everything came together so effortlessly, it was kind of rude.

It’s so interesting to me that I can struggle for so long to see where the cuts need to happen, never seeing them, feeling like each precious bit is too precious to cut, right up until the moment they are all suddenly so obvious, I don’t know what I was thinking when I wrote them, and I never miss them when they’re gone. I cut a lot of stuff today that I enjoyed making up and writing, but I don’t miss it at all. The story didn’t need it. I’ve heard some writers talk about that stuff as the scaffolding they use to hold the thing together while they work on it. I like that metaphor.

Maybe the Valley of Despair is what happens when I take the scaffolding down. That’s a neat metaphor, too.

I don’t know when I’ll be able to get into details about this. Until then, I’m going to stay safely vague. But I’m super excited for this to be a thing in the world that all of you can read. It was really fun to imagine.

July 20

So I turned this thing in on Thursday last week, knowing it was overwritten and needed deep cuts that were going to hurt. That’s okay. It’s part of the whole creation process.

On Monday, I made some deep cuts. The manuscript sank into the swamp. Then I made more deep cuts yesterday. THAT sank into the swamp. I just finished ANOTHER round of extremely deep cuts today. If it follows, it will burn down, fall over, and sink into the swamp. BUT the next one will stay.

It’s fascinating to watch this happen in front of me. When I see the cut bits behind the green “cut this” suggestion thing, I REALLY miss them. But when I accept the cuts and read it all without the stuff I’ve cut, it still works and I don’t miss it at all. That is so WEIRD.

But it is so much fun, and so satisfying, to play with these toys. I still can’t believe I get to do this for my job.

Also, could someone get that guard a drink of water?

July 21

That thing I’ve been working on? That I couldn’t get specific about?

Well, now I can.

“IDW Publishing is celebrating 400 issues of Star Trek. This September, IDW will release the oversized Star Trek #400 one-shot featuring new stories from across the Star Trek universe. The stories include a brand new Star Trek: The Next Generation by series star Wil Wheaton, who recently reprised his role as Wesley Crusher in Star Trek: Picard’s second season finale. “

I think this drops in September, around Star Trek Day. If you want to get one, tell your local comic shop so they can order it for you.

Self Help: An Audible Original

Over the last year or so, I’ve had the tremendous privilege of narrating some outstanding audiobooks that have just been a joy to work on from start to finish. One of them is Self Help, by Ben Winters. It’s narrated by me and features Ron Perlman in a sensational performance.

A darkly comedic thriller by the New York Times best-selling author of Underground Airlines, The Last Policeman, and the Audible Originals Q&A and Inside Jobs.

Jack Diller is just one more struggling actor on the road to nowhere. He’s got an agent who barely remembers his name, his ex-girlfriend has hooked up with a Silicon Valley dude, and the milk in his fridge is so far past its sell-by date it’s historic. The only way Jack can scrape together a bare existence is by delivering food to exactly the types of successful people he wishes he could be.

Then, one day, a very strange audiobook shows up on his phone. The Killer Instinct seems to be your basic self-help guide, narrated by a washed-up action star named Hector Bruno, and brimming with cheesy advice for how to get your life together.

With so little to lose, Jack starts listening… and listening some more. He starts talking to Hector like he’s his best friend.

And then… Hector starts talking back.

This is one of those things that’s in the space between audiobook and narrative performance. Ron and I never worked together, but WOW do our performances work together! The result is something that feels like Twilight Zone / Tales from the Darkside / Outer Limits / and so forth. It’s about three hours and forty-five minutes, so you can do it in one go if you want.

On a more personal note: I recently realized that I am at the point in my career where I have the privilege to choose what I do, and I’ve only been choosing projects I love and feel excited about sharing with the world. It’s taken a lot to get here, but it’s all been worth it. I feel so happy and grateful, and I can’t wait for all of these things to roll out.

Recovering from trauma is hard work. You are worth it.

Here are two recent podcasts I’ve been on to talk about Still Just A Geek, beginning with Radically Loved:

The Long, Challenging, But Worthwhile Healing From Trauma

Each person you have encountered, whether at work, out on the street, or a bus, is hurting in their own way. Everyone has been through a painful and traumatic experience. Although you have no control over what already happened in the past, you do have control over how you heal. Healing is rarely easy⁠—it’s tricky, messy, and scary, but it’s possible.

In today’s episode of Radically Loved, Wil Wheaton shares the trauma that he experienced growing up and how he was able to heal from it. He talks about his struggles during his healing from trauma and what you can do to also work through yours. Listen as Wil takes you along his journey so that you can also heal and find radical love as he has.

If you’re struggling with trauma and looking for healing, this episode is for you!

Here are three reasons why you should listen to the full episode:

  1. Find out how to confront your pain and trauma by reflection and writing.
  2. Learn how to free yourself from toxicity and undergo healing from trauma through communication, therapy, and reading.
  3. Discover how to break generational trauma with an authoritative parenting style.

I just loved this conversation.

I also spoke with Live Happy about mental health:

Wil Wheaton burst into the spotlight in 1986 in the iconic coming of age movie Stand By Me. He went on to play many more roles throughout his teen and young adult years, including starring as Wesley Crusher in Star Trek: The Next Generation and playing a version of himself on the hit TV show, The Big Bang Theory. But his success hid a childhood filled with trauma and abuse that led to a lifetime of depression, anxiety and complex PTSD. In his new memoir, Still Just a Geek, Wil opens up about his life and explains how he came to grips with his past. This week, he talks about why it’s so important to him to talk openly about mental health.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • What led Wil to revisit his life in his new memoir.
  • How writing the book helped him find empathy and compassion for his younger self.
  • Why it’s so important for him to normalize the conversation around mental health.

yes, i was forced to be a child star. it was never my dream or my idea.

CW: Child abuse, self-harm, suicide.

I did this interview for Access Hollywood that aired yesterday. In this interview, I told my whole truth, like I have before, about the things I have survived. When Access Hollywood told me they’d have to reach out to my parents to get a comment, I told them I understood and respected their journalistic integrity. I also told them that my parents would lie, that my mom would say “I’m shocked! I had no idea!” and that she’d claim we were such a close family it’s all just a huge surprise. Also she would say something about how angry I am.

That’s exactly what she did. They are nothing if not predictable.

I was thinking about this huge lie my mother tells herself and the world, last night. The big lie that she didn’t force me to become a child actor when I was seven, that it was all my idea. The last few weeks have been challenging for me, while I promote and talk about Still Just A Geek, surviving abuse and neglect, and constantly revisiting painful, traumatic parts of my life. It’s kind of like picking at a wound that’s doing its best to heal, right? You don’t rip the scab all the way off, but you’re still poking at it. So I was just kind of unwinding things in my head, like I do, and I remembered that when my mom took me to my first audition, it was actually her audition. She brought me along to be her scene partner. I CLEARLY recall feeling like I wasn’t supposed to be there, and that she was springing me on casting at the last minute. “This is my son and we can do it together” or something like that. I was a sweet kid, full of energy and enthusiasm. I wanted everyone to be proud of me, so I took direction extremely well. I don’t know if it’s true, but I recall being told over the years by the casting people that I crushed that audition, that day. Those same casting people loved this kid, who they were going to bring in all the time. My mom and I booked the commercial, together.

Relatively soon after we shot that commercial, she made me to go her commercial agency and tell the children’s agent, “I want to do what mommy does,” which she has lied to herself about for 40 years. I clearly remember sitting at the kitchen table at our house in Sunland, while she coached me on how the meeting was going to go. She played the agent and I was me. She gave me commercial copy to practice. She coached and prepped me and I went along with it because I WAS SEVEN. (I had lunch with my childhood agent about three years ago. I asked her specifically about that day, and she remembered that I was very good at reading the copy, I had clearly been coached and prepared, and she told my mom that she’d send me on a couple auditions to see how it went. After that, I rarely talked to the agent directly.)

I can’t remember specifically when I first said “I just want to be a kid,” but I can still see the late 70s smog, and smell the exhaust all around us as I begged her for what feels like years to stop making me do this, while we sat in traffic on the freeway after school, going to and from auditions, day after day after day. Once, in my teens, I was trying to talk with her about that, trying to understand why she didn’t hear me, and she said “I always let you book out when you wanted to take a break,” which is a weird choice of language if it was all my idea and something I really wanted to do so much. Also, I never once — never once — asked to go back and audition again. But after some period of time, she ALWAYS pressured me to go on auditions again until I gave in.

I’m 8 in this picture. Imagine ignoring this little boy when he begs you to stop making him go to work.

None of that supports her lie that it was all my idea. I mean, that’s unsurprising because it’s a lie, but she was so good at manipulating and gaslighting me, I spent some considerable time in my life trying to convince myself that it was true. I did EVERYTHING I could to make myself believe it was true, because I wanted to be seen and loved and accepted in my family and that was the only way I knew how.

The other big lie she tells herself is that we were this extremely close, tight-knit family. I know she desperately wants to believe that. I know she worked harder than anything else at presenting that image to the world. It just is not true. I know from relatives and people who were part of my childhood that other adults could not stand my parents. They saw exactly who and what they were, especially how manipulative my mother was. Our family was not close. We were cloistered. There’s a huge difference, but to a self-absorbed, controlling, narcissist, it’s the same thing.

The thing about this particular lie is that, if we were this tight-knit family, how could she be shocked and have no idea that her husband was relentlessly bullying me? How could it be a shock to her, after she made me apologize to him the few times I stood up for myself? How could she be shocked and have no idea that I didn’t want to be an actor, when I literally BEGGED HER FOR YEARS after she forced me to start, to just let me be a kid? She’s only shocked because she was so self-absorbed she chose to ignore the pain she was inflicting on her son. On her child. On me. When I was 7 years-old. She has no idea because she deliberately looked the other way whenever I was in pain or I needed her to show up for me as my mother. She’s shocked and had no idea because she chose to replace what was actually happening in my life and our family with a giant lie.

I know she needs these lies she tells herself to be true, because they are the foundation she built her entire life upon. If she has to accept that she traded her child away so she could be popular, or at least be close to popularity, if she has to accept that she heard her seven year-old child BEGGING, “Mommy, please let me be a kid. I just want to go home and play with my friends,” and dismissed that because it got in the way of what she wanted for herself, I don’t think she could handle it.

Please let me be a kid.

Here is the saddest part of all: I told all of my truth to Access Hollywood. I told the same truth I’ve been telling for years. The part my mom got upset about and pushed back on is her big lie that she didn’t force me to be an actor. Not the abuse I endured. Not their theft of the money I earned. Not the exploitation they allowed. Not the physical and psychological abuse she witnessed firsthand when she made me and my sister do The Curse. The thing she was REALLY upset about is having to answer for the fundamental choice she made when she forced me to become a child actor. Just that one thing. The lie she built her whole life on. That’s the thing she lost her shit about. Not that she was so unavailable, and my dad was so cruel to me, that I seriously contemplated killing myself more than once when I was in my teens. She didn’t care about that. And he had no comment. Because that’s about me and my pain, not something they can make about themselves where they are the victims or whatever.

It’s been clear for as long as I can remember that my mom and my dad don’t feel bad or anything about how much they hurt me, or how much their choices affected my life. My dad doesn’t care at all, and never did. My mom is just embarrassed that her lies are being exposed, and that the story she’s told people about herself is threatened. Well, if you don’t like the true story … maybe you could have written it differently.

In Still Just A Geek, I directly address my mom. I try, once more, to somehow get her to hear my truth, but “the woman I knew for 46 years is probably working hard on her victim narrative right now,” and that seems to be accurate. And ultimately, what choice does she have? If my mom admits to herself that she forced me to do all of this, even when I literally BEGGED her to stop, she would have to take an honest look at her entire life. When I told her “I want you to be my mom and not my manager,” she said, “I can’t believe you would take that away from me.” Again, not exactly the sort of thing you say when you’re supporting your son who really wants to do this because it’s his idea.

I don’t want to go on another audition. I want to go home and ride my bike. Please just let me be a kid.

She stole my childhood from me, so she could feel popular. To be honest, I’m relieved she feels embarrassed and maybe even some shame, because at least it means that, somewhere in her alcoholic brain, she knows what she did to me. She knows that I put up with all of it, silently and alone, for my whole life. And when I couldn’t endure that any longer, when I tried as hard as I could to work through all of this with her and my dad, all they had were excuses, deflections, accusations, and absolutely no interest in actually participating in my recovery. So I made the choice to live the rest of my life without her and my dad and my brother in it. They can be who they are and live the lie they need to believe about me, without my presence inconveniently reminding them that none of it is true. (Sidebar: I’ve spoken with multiple professionals who have affirmed to me that children can grow up in the same house and have profoundly different experiences with their parents. This is particularly true when there is a Golden Child and a Scapegoat. Of course my brother is close to our parents. They poured nothing but love and affection and support into his life from the day he was born. They are kind and loving grandparents to my nephew. That doesn’t make the way they treated me untrue.


Real quick: there’s a lot in this post and I want to take a moment here to tell you that if you’re hurting, there are wonderful people who are waiting RIGHT NOW to help you. I didn’t know that when I was suffering the most. I also didn’t have instant (and private) access to resources and professionals online to counsel me via my phone or laptop or whatever. I can’t tell you how to approach your journey, but I can show you two places you can start: or