Category Archives: Just A Geek

Still Just A Geek is a Hugo award finalist

Well, this is certainly unexpected. I thought making the New York Times list was the most surprising thing that would happen with Still Just A Geek, but … Still Just A Geek is a finalist for the 2023 Hugo, in the Best Related Work category!

I have been nominated for a few things in my life. I’ve even won a few. But I have not won way more often than I have. Based on my experience, the “I won!” thing is awesome for a short time, but where that euphoria fades quickly, the genuine honor of “I was nominated!” lasts forever. With that in mind, I looked at the other nominees this morning, and … I think it’s very unlikely I’ll be making space for a Hugo statue in my house. But that’s okay! I got to reach out to my TNG family today and tell them about it, and everyone who replied made me feel the love and pride that I imagine kids feel from parents who love them unconditionally.

If Still Just A Geek wins in its category, it’s going to be awesome. I’m not going to lie: I think it would be pretty great if I got to have a Hugo in my house, next to my Tabletop trophies. But if it doesn’t, the excitement, joy, and gratitude I feel that my story even made the finalists this year will never go away, and I get to have that whether I get the statue or not.

Voting on the final ballot begins on July 10, and we’ll find out who gets the award at World Con in October.

Happy book birthday to me!

Still Just A Geek is released today. It’s available everywhere books are sold. Holy crap it’s actually happening.

Yesterday, I signed 367 books for my virtual signing with Barnes & Noble on Thursday. The initial number was 200, and people just kept buying tickets until it sold out more than once. That blows me away.

I’m going to be signal boosting a lot of press today on the socials. It’s challenging to find that balance between sharing cool stuff and making a ton of noise that most people just tune out. It’s going to be challenging. Telling stories is one thing, and promoting myself is something entirely different that I’m still trying to get comfortable with.

Months ago, I wrote myself a note (well, recorded myself a voice note) where I reminded future me that it’s okay to feel a little stressed out and overwhelmed by everything that’s happening today and this week. I implored myself to make space to enjoy this. Here’s some of it:

Publicity and attention and press stresses you out, because it was always imposed on you. But this time, it’s all supporting and celebrating you. Enjoy it, and know that after about three or four weeks, everything will go back to normal.

Please, please, please, dude, I beg you, for me, for you (who is future me) and for future you, don’t get distracted by someone else’s definition of success. Writing this book, all the work you did on this book, healed a TON of your trauma and helped you get closer to whole than you have ever been. That is the thing that matters. That is the thing you get to take home no matter what anyone else says or does. If this book’s sales exceed expectations, if it gets good reviews, if it gets noticed beyond the people who already love you and want to read your story, that’s a bonus. BUT NOT GETTING THERE DOES NOT MEAN YOU OR YOUR BOOK ARE A FAILURE.

I’m going to say it again: Whatever happens today and in the future (“today” for you is in my far future, but it’s your present. How are we doing, by the way? Did we finish The Big Idea? That’s just kicking our ass right now. I hope we did.) Uh, whatever happens today and in the future is entirely out of our hands, and I know you’re probably going to forget that, because you spent your whole life hearing that anything less than first place was the same as last place.

None of that matters, and letting that old thinking into your space is just going to give you stress and anxiety about stuff that you can do absolutely nothing about.

You did The Thing, dude. You did it. You. I know you’re like “I had a lot of help” and that’s true. But you’re the one who had to relive all that stuff and process it. I’m proud of you, and I hope you can find space to enjoy this.

I am so grateful to me from however long ago that was for thinking of me from today. He knew EVERY fear and anxiety I would have today, and he did me a real solid with this advice.

I always tell people that I do my best, every day, to be the person I need in the world. I don’t know how I knew that today I would need these reminders from myself, but I’m real grateful that me from the past was looking out for me from today.

I’m going to share a couple links to some interviews I’ve recently done, because I think some of it may be interesting to anyone who has read this far:

You, Me, Empathy Podcast

On Episode 222 of You, Me, Empathy, Wil Wheaton and I explore how being a geek intersects with empathy, the childhood trauma Will faced in a mother that treated him as a commodity and a father who simply didn’t care, on being the person we need in the world, and Wil’s beautiful new book, Still Just a Geek, which is like the Inception of inner child work.

We start the show talking about how narrating Still Just a Geek as an audiobook was way more emotionally charged than Wil anticipated, how Still Just a Geek is a stunning reflection on self and a deeply compassionate journey into accepting and loving the past versions of ourselves, and how that inner child work has impacted Wil’s relationships with his kids and partner, Anne.

Wil opens up about his experience as a kid, and the trauma he experienced through a mother who seemed to only value him as an actor, and a father who had no capacity for love or care—and the deep grief and heartache he’s been through because of it all. He just wanted to be seen, and heard, something so universally needed on a human level that when it isn’t present it feels so paralyzing and awful.

The Art of Fatherhood Podcast

Wil Wheaton talks with me about his fatherhood journey. We chat about being a step-dad and the relationship he has with his sons. Wil shares some of the values he looked to instill into his sons as they were growing up. He also talks about how he wanted to make sure he didn’t act like his parents and not make the same mistakes they did. After that we talk about his book, Still Just a Geek: An Annotated Memoir and how recording the audiobook version was life-changing for him. We even talk about on comic-con moment that stuck with me for years on the advice he gave someone about being a geek. Lastly, we finish the interview off with the Fatherhood Quick Five.

Keeping Up With The Kardassians

Rob, Joe, and Nick had the incredible honor of sitting down and talking with Wil Wheaton (Wesley Crusher-STNG). In an interview spanning a variety of subjects from mental health, pop culture, pizza, and everything in between.

The Big Idea (yes, me from the past, we did finish it!)

I never talk about how much I was abused when I worked on this movie called The Curse, after Stand By Me. It was such a traumatic experience, I’ve done everything I can to forget it. But it’s a big part of who I am, and when I did Still Just A Geek, it was part of my story that I needed to tell.

Okay, finally, an answer to the single most frequently asked question about Still Just A Geek:

Q: Where do you want me to buy it, so you get the most money or whatever?

A: Short answer: wherever it’s easiest for you! That you read it is what matter, not how you get it. But thank you for asking!

Longer answer: I earned a nice advance with this book. It’s unlikely I’ll earn it out, and royalties will ever be a thing, so the specific place you get it makes no difference to me. That said, if you have a choice and all things are equal, consider buying from an indie bookshop. Indies always need support, no matter what, and I heard from my publisher that indie sales count 3X toward the NYT list (which I do not expect to make, but you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take).

Okay. I think I’m done. Whew. What a day. I feel strange, but also good.

Let’s do a Flashback Friday

Yesterday, I blew it all up. All the websites I maintain on my server, including this one and Anne’s, blew up when I did … something.

I exhausted my knowledge, and I exhausted my patience searching forums and documentation to figure out what the hell I’d broken, and how to fix it.

So I asked my friend for help, and he saved my bacon. (He probably saved some of your bacon, too. I bet you never even knew your personal bacon was at risk; that’s how nefarious today’s bacon mafia is. THANKS OBAMA.)

While I was trying to solve it myself, I saw that my /public_html directory was a shitshow that needed massive attention. Imagine the directory is a room. In that room are shelves, and on those shelves are the books and drawers where website content lives. This room should be nice and neat, so it’s really easy to find what you need. When something is out of place, it’s super easy to see, because the rest of the room is so orderly.

Now take that imagined room, and replace it with a teenage boy’s bedroom at the end of the week. Into that room, I dumped like fifty bags of website bullshit with the intention of cleaning it all up …. someday.

So that was like ten years ago. I know. It’s so embarrassing. As soon as my buddy finished saving the aforementioned bacon, I went into this appalling mess, and cleaned it all up.

In that process, I came across some old images that made me smile.I’m going to be promoting Still Just A Geek soon (YOU CAN PRE-ORDER IT HERE AT A DISCOUNT PLEASE DO OKAY THANKS) and these images from the time Just A Geek was written are going to be relevant and fun to share during the promotion.

One of those images is a screenshot of my website from 2005, when I had done all of it on my own. The layout, the php includes, the PERL, the whole thing. It was a lot back then (it still is, at least to me) and I’m proud of what late 20s/early 30s Wil was able to accomplish.

This very website, in September 2005

It’s all so much easier today (yesterday’s blowing up notwithstanding) and I love that. I love that the distance between “I want a blog” and “I have a blog” is a few clicks. When I did this back in the early aughts, there were at least two HTML books and months of studying to understand gzip, ftp, chmod, mod_rewrite, and holy shit configuring an Apache webserver in 2001 between those two things. I’ve compared it to owning a classic car in the 70s. It wasn’t enough to keep it the fluids topped off; you needed to be some level of a mechanic to hold it all together. It was just part of the price of admission. It was a lot, but I don’t regret it for a second. I learned a lot then (which I’ve clearly forgotten) but I am so happy that some of us who did the heavy lifting back then decided to develop tools and methods that would make it so much easier for everyone who followed us.

Turns out that I was one of those people who was always under the hood then, and I’m one of the people who just want the damn thing to work, now. Thanks, me from the past!

still just a geek: an (annotated) memoir


The first half of this book is my 2004 memoir, Just A Geek. I’ve heavily annotated and reflected on who I was and what I wrote in the early aughts for that book. These footnotes are almost-50 me talking about the experiences of almost-30 me, with the benefit of twenty years in between us. he second half is essays and speeches I’ve written in the last handful of years. If I did this right, you will hopefully see how I grew and changed as a person, and as a writer.

Industry professionals tell me this level of annotation and reflection is kind of a new thing for memoirs, and I wanted to offer a suggestion that may help ease you into the whole experience.

I suspect it will help if you imagine that we are sitting in a room together, and I am just telling you my story. I’m reading to you from the book I wrote 20 years ago, occasionally looking up to reflect on it.

Finally, a content warning. I talk a lot about my traumatic childhood. I talk about experiencing abuse, neglect, and exploitation. A lot of that was incredibly hard for me to read for the audiobook, much more challenging than it was to write. I need you to know that this book gets raw, vulnerable, and intense in a few places. If any of that sounds like it could be difficult for you, I want you to know ahead of time, so you can be prepared.

I wrote a book in 2004 called Just A Geek. Literally dozens of people read it, and a lot of them seemed to like it, but I have felt for years that it’s just been forgotten by pretty much everyone. About two years ago, I wrote a novel, and got it as close to finished as I could. My agent shopped it, and it was universally rejected. Like, it was so rejected, nobody even gave us notes on how to make it better. They were just, like, “NOPE.” I think it’s a neat little story, but clearly capital-P Publishing disagrees. Not gonna lie. I was devastated. But one of those editors remembered Just A Geek. He was also familiar with the writing I’d done since then, my mental health advocacy, and my story of surviving narcissistic abuse and neglect. He had this idea to revisit Just A Geek, annotate it, and include some more recent writing. The whole thing would go together and be an annotated memoir.

So I’ve worked on that for about two years, and today we get to announce that it’s a thing.

My publisher and I have this fantastic plan to do an awesome video announcement for the upcoming release of Still Just A Geek, my annotated memoir, which comes out April 12 in America, and 14 April in the UK.

I had this plan to maybe read a little of it, do some cool video stuff, and be fancy. And then I realized it’s Thursday, which is when all the gardeners come into my neighborhood, and the cacophony of leaf blowers and lawnmowers is just a little too much. I also have a ton of Star Trek: Discovery homework to do for Ready Room tomorrow, and holy crap I suddenly have more things to do than I have hours to get them done.

So that great video idea will be delayed for a little bit. It’ll still happen, I just don’t know when.

Am I just killing it with this book announcement or what? This is how you go viral and get lots of free media attention, y’all.

Really important stuff I want you to know:

I went through the entire text of Just A Geek, and annotated all of it. I feel like I’m only supposed to focus on the stuff I did that’s great, but … well, here’s a little bit from my introduction:

“Many times during the process, I wanted to quit. I kept coming across material that was embarrassing, poorly-written, immature, and worst of all, privileged and myopic. I shared all of this with my editor, my wife, my manager, my literary agent, and anyone else in my orbit who I trusted. “This really ought to be buried and forgotten in that landfill with the E.T. cartridges,” I told them. “Digging it all back up is not going to go well,” I said. They all assured me that confronting and owning that stuff in public, something I’d done privately, was important. I had to confront the parts that still fill me with shame and regret.”

So I did that, and it was uncomfortable, embarrassing, awkward, but ultimately healing and surprisingly cathartic. You may have noticed that I’ve spent much of the last several months remembering and writing about childhood trauma. Now you know why.

I also wrote

“I’m going to be honest: I’m terrified that I didn’t say the right things, take away the right lessons, atone appropriately for the parts of this that are gross. I know that I am not the person I was when I thought it was funny to make a childish, lazy, homophobic, joke. I am not the same person who didn’t even consider that a young woman, doing her job, was worthy of respect and kindness, because she was more useful to my male gaze as a character in a story that isn’t as good as I thought it was. I know I’m not that person, because those things—which are a small but significant part of my origin story—revolted me when I read them for the first time in over a decade. I mean, I physically recoiled from my own book. Those moments, and the privilege and ignorance that fueled them filled me with shame and regret. They still do. But confronting and learning from them allowed me to complete my origin story, as it turns out. It’s another thing I was unaware I needed to do, but, having done it, cannot imagine not doing.”

That’s the first … I don’t know, half, maybe two thirds, of this volume. The rest is new essays and speeches I’ve written in the last few years, which are also annotated.

If it all holds together the way I hope it does, it should tell a story of surviving childhood trauma, surviving a predatory industry, and in the most unexpected way, finding out exactly who I am, versus who I always thought I was supposed to be.

I hope it’s inspiring. I hope it’s entertaining. I hope it doesn’t suck. As you can tell, I am terrified.

I will be doing the audiobook, OBVIOUSLY. It will be released at the same time the print and ebook copies are released. We’re working on a plan to offer signed copies through indie bookshops. We’re talking about a virtual press tour. I’ll give you all more information as it gets locked in.

Finally, we have made a page where you can pre-order right now. Just pick the appropriate link.

Okay. That’s it. That’s the big news. Please tell all your friends.


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:
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?”
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.”