As noted in last week’s post about Fifty Shades of Grey (post here), I love to read. There was a point in time where I was reading mostly magazines because I was trying to be creative with my wardrobe or home decor. But I always dive right back into books, like when I read at least ten books while on maternity leave back in 2009. Although I love holding a good book because I love the feel of turning pages and the look of books on shelves, I have accepted that I am also equally enamoured with the covenience of downloading books to an eReader.
(Note: New visitors directed here purely because Wil Wheaton was tagged, I’m sure once you saw the title of this post and read that opening sentence, you just rolled your eyes at me and cursed me under your breath. I beg you to keep reading.)
From a Star Trek convention where we met Michael Dorn, possibly 2001
So it was purely coincidental during this recent electronic book downloading binge that one of my co-workers, and fellow Trekkie, Nick, recommended Just a Geek (Unflinchingly honest tales of the search for life, love and fulfillment beyond the Starship Enterprise) by Wil Wheaton (the link is to his virtual bookshelf on his blog). You read that right: I’m a Next Generation Trekkie and a bit of a sci-fi geek, have I not mentioned that before? It’s well documented here on this blog that I am a music geek, specifically my extreme fandom for Depeche Mode and the number of concerts I attend annually. But I have only made a couple of references to my sci-fi geekdom on posts here and here, not yet fully divulging the extent. I will confess that I have attended the Comic Con three times, which in itself does not attest to my geekiness. But I think voluntarily attending two Star Trek conventions, dragging my husband to the Star Trek Experience in Las Vegas and also going to another Star Trek Experience here in San Diego does qualify me for level one geek at the very least. Also, I must note that I’ve seen every episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation (TNG to us Trekkies) at least three times, if not more (my sister owns the DVDs and we had a marathon one weekend) and I have seen all of the TNG movies in the theater. In casual conversation, I am known to quote Star Trek, much to the chagrin of my husband. I own a Borg teddy bear. Enough said.
My Borg bear from The Star Trek Experience in Las Vegas. I call him Loquacious (of course).
Now that I’ve made my confession, I can explain why I enjoyed Just A Geek (eight years after the fact, it was released in 2004). I saw Stand By Me in the theaters when it first came out, and saw it several more times thereafter because I was a teenager infatuated with Ace (Kiefer Sutherland). Ironically enough, my favorite parts of the movie did not involve Ace, but the relationship between the boys. My favorite scenes are the ones where they are just talking in the round, especially Gordie Lechance’s pie eating story. This was my first introduction to Wil Wheaton, and there began my sister’s crush. Imagine her excitement when he was cast as Wesley Crusher on TNG . Wil Wheaton in our living rooms, every week? Rholnna was beyond excited.
Even after his five seasons on TNG, Rholnna continued to follow Wil Wheaton’s career. She’s even met him twice: once at a Comic Con (where I met him, too, in the picture below) and then again at E3 (the Electronic Entertainment Expo). It was about two years ago that I started to read Wil’s blog, In Exile, and began following him on Twitter (@wilw). Still, that didn’t clue me into the struggles he had with an acting career that I had no idea had stalled after TNG.
Just a Geek chronicles how Wil’s writing career began, interspersed with the beginnings of his blog. It also explains why he left TNG and his struggle to separate himself from TNG in hopes of having a successful movie career. Although he had some work after TNG, it was not nearly the kind of work he envisioned having after the critical acclaim of Stand by Me. I expected Wil to be a bit snarky and witty because of his Tweets, so I definitely laughed out loud throughout most of the book. I even geeked a little that he wrote about a memory that included Music for the Masses by Depeche Mode.
At Comic Con, possibly 2002
What I didn’t expect was how candid the book would be and the effect it had on me emotionally. I actually cried reading this book. I ached at the heartbreak Wil felt after failed auditions and the toll it took on him & his family financially. I had no idea that he was originally in Star Trek: Nemesis (during Deanna Troi & William Riker’s wedding reception), and that much of his part ended up on the cutting room floor (apparently, he’s not even in the DVD extra footage). After reading how much it meant to him returning as an adult and not The Kid to the Star Trek set, and how much fun he had with his former co-stars, it was gut wrenching to know that it felt all for naught, even though Wil was resilient. I then cheered when he triumphantly was asked to join the 15th anniversary of TNG celebration through the campaigning of his fans, after he was initially told he wasn’t really a part of the Star Trek family.
I breathlessly read this book in about a day (technically two nights). I’m one to hurry through because I’m an anxious reader, so I know I’ll be reading this again at a slower rate to ensure I catch everything. Because of Just A Geek, I just downloaded another book of his called Dancing Barefoot and will read his other books as well. Then I’m going to watch all of the episodes of his appearances on The Big Bang Theory (Evil Wil Wheaton anyone?). I’ve told my sister about the book and explained that if she is at all the fan of Wil Wheaton that she claims to be, that this is something she must read immediately (I think we may even attend w00tstock this year). Yessiree, Wil Wheaton is definitely my geek crush.
(Top image courtesy of Geek World Order Site)