making space to be creative

Jul. 20th, 2017 11:32 pm
[syndicated profile] wwdn_feed

Posted by Wil

One week and about ten hours ago, I decided to step away from Twitter for a little bit. The specific details aren’t important, and I suspect that many of you reading this now are already nodding in agreement because you grok why. But I took it off my phone, and I haven’t been to the website on my desktop since. For the first 48 hours, I spent a lot of time wondering if I was making a choice that mattered, and thinking about how I wasn’t habitually looking at Twitter every few minutes to see if I’d missed anything funny, or to see the latest bullshit spewing forth from President Fuckface’s mouthanus. I was, ironically, spending more time thinking about Twitter since I wasn’t using it than I spent thinking about it when I was.

It started out as a 24 hour break, then it was a 48 hour break, then it was the weekend, and here we are one week later and I don’t feel like I’m missing anything important. I feel like I’ve given myself more time to be quiet and alone, more time to reflect on things, and I’ve created space in my life to let my mind wander and get creative.

I’m not creating as much as I want to, and I’m starting to feel like maybe I’ll never be able to create as much as I want to, but I’ve gotten some stuff done this week that probably wouldn’t have gotten done if Twitter had been filling up the space that I needed.

Here’s a little bit from my blog post that became a short story that grew into a novella that is now a novel, All We Ever Wanted Was Everything:

My mother was leaning against her car, talking with one of the other moms, when we arrived. My sister was throwing a Strawberry Shortcake doll into the air and catching it while they watched. I walked out of the bus and across the blazing hot blacktop to meet her.

Willow, catch!” My sister cried, sending Strawberry Shortcake in a low arc toward me. I caught her without enthusiasm and handed her back. “You’re supposed to throw her to me!” Amanda said, demonstrating. Her doll floated in a lazy circle, arms and legs pinwheeling, before falling back down into my sister’s waiting arms. The writer in me wants to make a clever reference to how I was feeling at that moment, about how I could relate to Strawberry Fucking Shortcake, spinning out of control in the air above us, but it feels hacky, so I’ll just talk about how I wanted to make the reference without actually making the reference, thereby giving myself permission to do a hacky writer’s trick without actually doing it. See, there’s nothing tricky about writing, it’s just a little trick!

It’s still in the first draft, and I may not keep all or even any of it, but after putting it aside for months while I was depressed about too many things to look at it, it feels so good to be back into this story.

Oh, speaking of writing, I got notes back from the editors on my Star Wars 40th anthology submission. I thought that, for sure, they’d want me to rework a ton of it, but all they asked me to do is change a name! And they told me it was beautiful! So I’ve been feeling like a Capital-W Writer for a few days.

And speaking of feeling happy for a change, Hasbro and Machinima announced that I’m a voice in the next installment of the Transformers animated series, Titans Return. And it feels silly to care about this particular thing, but Daily Variety put my name in the headline, which made me feel really, really good.I’ve always felt like the only thing that should matter is the work, and that the work should be able to stand on its own … but that’s not the reality even a little bit. Daily Variety is the industry’s paper of record, so when it chooses to put you in the headline of a story, people pay attention and it matters in the way that can make the difference between getting called for a meeting, or the last ten years of my life as an actor.

It’s also a good reminder that, even if I’m not getting the opportunities I want to be an on-camera actor, it is entirely within my power to create the space I need to be a writer.


johnny sokko and his flying robot

Jul. 17th, 2017 11:22 pm
[syndicated profile] wwdn_feed

Posted by Wil

A young boy aids in the fight against a mechanized terrorist organization as the sole controller of a prototype giant robot.

I couldn’t sleep, so I wandered into the weird and comforting landscape of UHF television’s modern equivalent, which in this case is a digital antenna station on 56.4 here in Los Angeles, called Comet TV*

For the next half hour, I watched this magnificently bizarre thing called Johnny Sokko and His Flying Robot. As far as I can tell, there’s this little kid called Johnny Sokko, and like all the other kids in school were all “Johnny Sokko, you’re a stupid face!” so he was like “h*ck you guys, I’m going to get a giant robot and live on a boat for some reason. Oh, and also, I’m like 8 or whatever, and I’m in charge of a giant flying murder machine. So watch your step, bitches.” Johnny gets this this giant robot who flies, and he controls him by issuing commands into a gold wristwatch. Instead of telling the robot to breakdance for his endless amusement, Johnny cries a lot and makes the robot save the world from a squid guy or something who lives in a sunken spaceship, adjacent to a pineapple under the sea? It’s all a little fuzzy in the translation, I’ll be honest, but I think I got the gist of it.

Anyway, I probably made some of that up, but this is all true: There’s a Flying Robot who is vaguely Egyptian. There’s a Gargoyle Gang, the Emperor Guillotine, a military group of children who are called Team Unicorn and are the only thing between Earth’s survival and intergalactic destruction for some reason, and all the bizarre 1960s Kaiju visual effects you could ever hope for. The music is exactly what you want it to be, and at one point, an entire freeway overpass is destroyed, because who among us hasn’t wanted to do that!

A quick search on a few of the Internets made it clear to me that I was not just way late to the party on this (the short I saw was originally released in Japan in 1967, as Giant Robo because obviously) but I am also discovering this literally decades after it became popular with the cool kids. So if you’re like OH GREAT WIL WHEATON THANKS FOR WASTING MY TIME WITH SOMETHING I ALREADY KNEW ABOUT now you can feel like a jerk because it’s new to me, Roland. It’s new to me!

It’s weird, and fun, and overflowing with potential audio samples, so I thought I would share it with you today. Here’s what I think is the first episode, in which we meet Johnny Sokko, the Flying Robot, an unsettling sea monster, and more:

There are several collections of Johnny Sokko films at the Internet Archive. I guess you can also buy remastered DVDs if you want to go that route (though I strongly believe that the faded and aged look of the originals at is a significant contributor to the charm of the thing.)

Good luck. We’re all counting on you.

*It’s owned by the profoundly evil Sinclair Broadcasting Group, which is a giant bummer. You can buy evil offsets by supporting ACLU and SPLC, if it makes you feel better.

depression (still) lies

Jul. 13th, 2017 10:07 pm
[syndicated profile] wwdn_feed

Posted by Wil

One of the super fun things about living with depression and anxiety is how my idiot brain can go from “CAN DO!” to “EXISTENCE IS SUFFERING” faster than you can wish to take two strokes off your golf game. So today started out normal, and very quickly became a rough day. One of the ways I help myself through days like today, is to acknowledge that I’m sick not weak, and then take one step after another to get out from under the lead apron that Depression likes to drape over my life.

I just answered an ask on my Tumblr thingy that has helped me feel better, and I wanted to put it here, so it’s easy for me to find again the next time I need it:


Q: what can I do to bring myself out of depression?

A: It isn’t easy, and accepting and understanding that is the first and very important step to getting through it.
[syndicated profile] wwdn_feed

Posted by Wil

Without the Internet, I’d be just another failed actor struggling to make ends meet. Because I had the same ability to put together a website and reach an audience as anyone else, I was able to put my words on your screens, and eventually into a book that got into many of your hands. If Comcast or Verizon or AT&T or some other big telecom decided that regular guys like me had to pay some sort of protection money to have the same ability to reach you as Google or MSN does, I never would have been able to get WWdN off the ground, much less found Monolith Press, publish Dancing Barefoot, and start an entirely new career as a writer or have a second act in my acting career. There would be no Tabletop. I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty happy that Tabletop is in the world.

We successfully fought to keep the Internet open and free just a few years ago, but it’s under attack again, another disastrous consequence of the Trump administration.

Here’s Consumerist on what is at stake (again) and why we are here (again):

Why is it in trouble?

The FCC that passed the Open Internet Rule was led by chairman Tom Wheeler, during the Obama administration. When the Trump administration took office in Jan. 2017, the FCC changed too.

At the end of January, long-time net neutrality foe Ajit Pai was promoted to the big seat and became the Commission’s chairman.

Pai has been gunning for net neutrality since the day it was adopted, if not sooner. So although in 2016 a federal court upheld the rules, Pai wants them reversed — and now, he has the means.

Because gaining a majority at the FCC is, on many key issues, basically a matter of partisan math, Pai will absolutely succeed if he wants to, regardless of literally tens of millions of people arguing against it.

Today is a day of action. Today, we are asking all Americans to take two minutes and contact the FCC, to make your voice heard, and make sure the FCC knows that you want network neutrality to be protected. Ars has a good collection of essential reading about network neutrality, but if you only have time to read one of them, here’s a concise guide to writing a comment to the FCC.

Two minutes, you guys. That’s all we need from you today. Please, take action.


5 things I want you to know

Jul. 9th, 2017 09:33 pm
[syndicated profile] wwdn_feed

Posted by Wil

Here are five things I want you to know:

  1. My friends, Kumail and Emily, wrote and produced a movie called The Big Sick. It’s about how they met and fell in love, and it’s wonderful. It’s a great date movie. It’s funny, it’s heartwarming without being saccharine, and it’s a true story! It’s a little indie movie, but it’s holding its own against big summer blockbusters, which is awesome. I want everyone to see it because it’s a great film (it should absolutely be considered during the award-o-rama season), but also because the way the studios work, it’ll only stay in theaters if it continues to outperform expectations. So please go see it, and tell your friends about it. (Those of you who are old enough to remember the early MeFi days will know where I got my linking style.)
  2. Yesterday morning, Anne woke me up twenty minutes before my alarm did, because she needed me to hear the noise our air conditioner was making. It couldn’t have waited until I was ready to wake up, when I was starting to come out of my deep sleep cycle, because it was making a noise similar to putting a handful of ball bearings and some broken glass into a blender. It turns out that the motor blew out during the hottest three days of the year so far, because I am a fucking idiot who forgot to change the ten dollar air filter (in my defense, we did the math on the calendar and realized that Anne was in emergency surgery when I should have been changing it, so I may have gotten the reminder from my task list a whole second before I dismissed it forever). It was so hot in our house, things in our pantry were melting. I’m grateful that we had eighteen hundred dollars in a sock just for such an occasion, and by the time the sun had done its worst, it was repaired. So consider this your reminder to go look at your air filter and change it, if necessary.
  3. I played games for the first time in months yesterday. My group was dealt a TPK when the last two members moved away in January, and I haven’t had anyone to play with. At first, I was happy to take the break, because gaming has been my job for the last four years. But as time went by, I became acutely aware of how significant gaming is to my life, my joy, and my reason for being. Tabletop is complicated for me, (and, honestly, Board Game Subreddit: maybe it just isn’t the right snow for you and you don’t need to rage at me about every single episode we do) and while I’m grateful as hell for everything it’s done to promote the hobby, the way Legendary has handled the fourth season and the relentless shitting on it and me by random internet strangers has taken its toll. I’d been so consumed by the things that made the show a bummer this season, and I’d been unable to play games for the sake of playing games for so long, I completely lost sight of how much I love gaming, how proud I am of our show, and the good it has done not just for my life, but for the thousands of other people who have shared their stories with me. So when we played Lords of Waterdeep and Splendor yesterday, it was like coming out of a fog of sadness for the first time in at least half a year.
  4. I’ve been listening to a lot of Bob Marley recently, and just this morning I came across a record I didn’t know about: Dreams of Freedom (Ambient Translation of Bob Marley in Dub). If you enjoyed the ambient tracks or the dub reggae I played on Radio Free Burrito, you have got to check out this record. It’s beautiful.
  5. Speaking of RFB, I had an episode about 3/4 finished two weeks ago, but I really just hated it so I sent it to the land of wind and ghosts. I know that I’m overdue to release a new show, but I didn’t appreciate just how challenging it is to do a weekly podcast that isn’t about current events, or features interviews. I feel like I have to go to this mental box to find stuff to talk about, and recently it’s been empty and sad (HEY JUST LIKE ME HA HA THAT IS A JOKE AND NOT REAL AT ALL EVERYTHING IS FINE I AM FINE HA HA HA). So rather than force something that I think is shitty garbage that sucks, I’ve just been waiting until I have something worthwhile to make.

So that’s five things I want you to know on this lovely Sunday that’s way too fucking hot. What do you want me to know?


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