Sunday, June 1, 2008

Thumbing a ride

Excuse me, but I'd like to get back on the writing wagon. Which way are you headed, driver? If you're not going all the way to Self-Realization City, that's okay; you can let me off at Maturityville or even Enjoyment Cove and I can find the rest of the way myself. Mind if I hop on?

I imagine it would be strange for him to hear it - in fact, having met him briefly and established that he's a nice, down-to-earth guy with a history of underestimating himself, I'm sure it would be - but I feel like I owe a lot to Wil Wheaton. I've been reading Just a Geek, and I don't think I've ever encountered a more excruciatingly sympathetic account of an internal struggle between real identity and expectation. Like Wil, I'm a writer by nature, and like Wil, I have spent years fruitlessly telling myself that I'm something else. In my case, the "something else" is a scientist, not an actor; all the same, I find the internal struggle deeply resonant. In the bargain, I've neglected my writing to the point where I've lost my edge, and I've spent many semesters kicking myself for fitting inadequately into a role I'm just not made to fill. There are differences, sure; I can probably continue to work in science since it's not as cutthroat as Hollywood, and I do love it. I'm a passionate generalist.

Those of you who only know Wil as Wesley Crusher need to give him another look. You might be surprised to know just how much you have in common - just like every other insecure teenage boy, Wil hated Wesley too. The grown man Wil tells a heck of a story, and the story he tells is personal, familiar, and pretty damn funny.

Anyway, thanks, Wil.


Ben said...

All praise to Wil.

You need to read Stephen King's On Writing and The War of Art by Steven Pressfield.

btm said...

If you didn't see Wheaton's Keynote at PAX 2007, you should make an effort to dig up at least a transcript. But a video would be awesome, it was an epic speech on a soapbox of geek culture.