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February 02, 2004
I keep hearing about this new radio station, INDIE 103.1. It's supposed to be giving KROQ a run for its money, but we can't hear it in the 626. I haven't tuned in to regular radio, other than NPR or KFWB, since I got XM last year, but I had to go from the 626 out to the 310 last Wednesday, and I thought I'd listen to KROQ and INDIE, and write up a comparison of the two.
Since I'm writing this for blogging.la, I figured it would be extra "LA" of me to bring my iBook over to Starbucks to write it up. There are a half dozen people here with me, three of them also on laptops, one of them this totally insane homeless guy who I see wandering around this area all the time. A few weeks ago, Anne and I were walking out of a restaurant, and he yelled something at her about how he was too evil for her food.
I'm a little pissed that the homeless guy is filling an entire corner of the place with the stink of greasy hair and dirt, and he's also in the most comfortable chair, in the corner that gets the best sun, where I was hoping to sit today.
Then I sip my Sumatra, take a bite of my muffin, realize that my laptop cost more than this guy will see in a year, and sit in the familiarity of Liberal Guilt.
Aimee Mann sings "Save Me," (the only thing about Magnoila that I didn't totally hate), two men (possibly lovers, or on their way to being ex-lovers) sit silently at a table between me and stinky homeless guy and stare into their lattes. One of them keeps looking at me, and it makes me self-conscious. Is he looking at me because he thinks he knows me? Because he's seen me on TV? Because, in my Kung Fu Records T-shirt, worn over my Hanes thermal shirt, Chuck Taylors and carefully mussed hair I look sexy and alluring? I self-consciously twist my wedding ring around my finger.
A few moments pass and they leave. It's weird. They both stand up at exactly the same moment, without a word, as if they've shared some silent communication that only lovers can understand. As they walk out the door, a woman storms in past them, yelling into her cell phone. " . . . oblem, Jerry! You have an obligation to --"
Everyone except Stinky looks up at her, and she lowers her voice. "Well, I'm not going to discuss this with you here!" she says, and slams the phone shut.
She forces a smile and walks to the counter, where she places an order in a quiet, barely-controlled voice that I can't hear.
Stinky coughs, which quickly turns into a violent hacking. A woman in line puts a protective arm around her young child, and tells him not to stare. Stinky gets up, and staggers outside. He doesn't return, and I think about moving to his / my chair, but the stink still hangs over that corner. I stay where I am. A man in a tweedy jacket, cotton shirt and bright blue tie sits down next to me, and starts working on a crossword puzzle from the paper. I click click clack on my iBook:
A white van pulled out ahead of me right before the 110. I grew up watching CHiPs, so white vans terrify me: each one contains a potential kidnapper, and at any moment, the back doors could explode open and release a motorcycle rider who will create, and then escape unharmed from, a 50 car pile up.
I write for close to 30 minutes before I look up, and realize that Tweedy Jacket has fallen asleep. His chin sits heavily upon his chest, and his hands are folded in his lap. Why did this guy come to Starbucks to fall asleep over his partially-completed Crossword?
I study him, trying to put together an interesting character background. Is he a salesman? Maybe from a nearby furniture store? Over here on his lunch break. He didn't make his sales quota last month, and February is his last chance to get some blue boxes filled in next to his name on the white board that surely hangs in some back room. Does he ever finish the crossword? Sometimes. It's a small victory for him, but one he relishes. Suddenly, his head POPS UP! He looks straight at me with sleep-clouded eyes. They are bright blue, and resigned. My own eyes dart down to his puzzle, and back to my own table. When I steal another glance, one hand cups his chin, while the other taps his pen.
A few minutes later, his digital watch chirps twice to mark the top of the hour. He looks down at it, sighs heavily, and carefully folds his puzzle. He puts it in a pocket inside his jacket, and slowly walks out the door.
I write for another twenty minutes before I get stuck. I can't recall how to spell "Yahtzee." Is it Yahtzee? Yachtzee? Yhatzee? I don't have T*Mobile, so I can't hit the Internet to find out. I'll have to trust my instincts: "Yahtzee" looks the least wrong, so I'll go with that:
"Where it's at! I've got two turntables and a microphone . . . "
Oh, I see that we're flashing back all the way to the halcyon days of 1996. This is my biggest complaint with KROQ's whole "Flashback" criteria: seven years old does not a flashback make, you guys. Does this mean that, when the summer rolls around, we'll be flashing back to the acoustic version of Staind's Outside?
I looked down at the radio, and saw that Fred on XM 44 was playing Joy Division's Twenty-four.
Yahtzee! ADVANTAGE: XM.
It's good that I don't have Internet here. Internet has been a HUGE distraction recently, and I haven't had the self-discipline to just focus, write, and turn it off. Fark, Metafilter, and Cursor beckon like Sirens.
A couple in their mid-30s sits down in Stinky's chair, which I realize now is a love seat. They exude sexual energy. They must be new to each other. There's no way they're having an affair -- they're far too brazen for that -- but they clearly can't wait to get their clothes off. I'm am violently jealous of their passion for one another, and it derails my ability to write.
I sit here and drink my coffee, which is getting cold and bitter(how appropriate). A Starbucks guy runs a sweeper across the floor around me, and beneath my feet.
"Are you a writer?" he asks.
"I hope so," I tell him. He sort of recoils from me, and I feel bad. It's not his fault that I haven't written anything in over a week. It's not his fault my sweet and kind 12 year-old stepson has been replaced with a surly, disrespectful podperson. It's not his fault that this couple's wonderful, supernova passion for each other is what I want and lack more than anything else on earth. Maybe it's the grey sky, the cold February day, or Stinky stinking up my chair . . . but I can't feel passion for anything these days. I am a man in his thirties, snapping at a boy in his twenties, because I used to be him.
"I mean . . . I'm trying. I've done some good stuff in the past, but right now I'm in a bit of a rut." I say.
"Oh, well, I hope you find your way out," he says, kindly. No harm, no foul.
We-Can't-Wait-To-Fuck get up. She's flushed, and he's grinning. They hurriedly gather up their cups, and slam dunk them into the trash on their way out.
I crumple up my muffin bag, and free throw it into the trash can. It sails through the air, trailing crumbs, and hits the side. It skips into the corner, past the door. I pick it up, and see that We-Can't-Wait-To-Fuck are standing by his car. I know it's his because he's leaning against the driver's door, and she's pressed up against him. They're making out, right there in the parking lot, with the reckless abandon that blind passion brings to a couple.
Gods, I fucking hate them.
No I don't. I hate myself. I hate this rut. I need to warm up my coffee.
I give the Barista a dollar. She fills up my cup and drops two quarters into my hand. I use the tips of my fingers to flip them over: Vermont and Maryland. I drop them into the plexiglass tip box with a flourish, and return to my table.
I write for about 10 minutes, but it's forced. I've hit my Creative Wall for today, ten minutes short of my usual two hour cutoff. I save my work, close up my iBook, sit down in Stinky's chair. My chair.
My coffee tastes weak, bitter, and familiar.
Posted by wil at February 2, 2004 02:24 PM
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what a brill bit of writing, and hot off the presses too I got first post:D
Yahtzee! Ultimately the XM has the advantage. KROQ and INDIE have no chance, or do they? Jealous you say, Wil? Did you forget what comforts you have at home. Well, at least until school is out and Anne out of work.
I can appreciate your frustration but even though you may have been struggling with your assignment, your entry reads very well. Even the self recrimination (sucks to be our age, sometimes). I admire that you have mastered a practice that I have not, yet--you write every day, or at least make the attempt.
I promise myself I'm going to write something, anything, every day. But I never do. Most days, I don't even get around to making the attempt. I just end up making excuses. Wow, I re-write five thousands lines of monolithic code into a normal taxonomy of about ten, two hundred line classes--that's enough effort for one day. Even though writing code and writing prose are just not the same thing, they just don't stretch the same mental muscles.
Keep at it, Wil, and don't let that young couple get to you. To me, it sounds like you have a very loving wife and you sound great together. As for your step-son, my oldest is approaching five, but i think I can empathize given some of my friends have pre-teen boys and I can easily see myself there in some years. All boys go through that pod stage--some younger, some older. I think the trick is not to push or pry. Be a good parent, but don't try so hard you alienate them, they'll come around.
BTW, brilliant observations; hope the stench did not get into your clothes.
You write some of your best blog entries when your either angery or have writer's block.
BTW, WHFS in DC does the same thing as KROQ, as far as the sick amnesiac flashbacks. Truly sad given that as late as maybe seven or ten years ago, they really were the alternative rock station they still claim to be, instead of another cookie cutter Clear Channel or WestWood 1 franchise.
I am so there with you on the can't-wait-to-fuck couple. I am about to be divorced and I want that supernova passion too. I'm not really ready for it right now, but I hope it finds me someday.
I know this will sound lame, but I'm behind you and I know you will hit your groove and write something you like. Meanwhile I love what you wrote today. You really put us in the immediacy of the moments you are writing about and I feel like I am sitting right there with you feeling and seeing what you feel and see.
By the way, what were you favorite commercials of the superbowl? I was betting the Linux commercial with Muhammed Ali and the Visa commercial with Homer Simpson. Just a guess.
You write beautifully, Wil. Its ashame you can't write what you want. I think I have the opposite problem of you - my head is brimming with ideas, but I'm a terrible writer. Hehe. Oh well...I'm sure you'll overcome your writers block eventually. 'Til then, keep your chin up. Your fans certainly don't like to see you distressed.
One reason I read your site, and most likely the reason so many people are inspired by your words, is that you're not afraid to show the world your weaknesses -- and yet you are famous and, in our eyes, successful.
If someone famous and successful can get writer's block, and be scared, then it's ok that we have ruts and get scared, too.
Wonderful slice-of-life entry, Wil! Who says you're in a rut anyways. Oh ... that was you. Well, your FOS mate cos that was fab.
Your descriptive ability is amazing. Perhaps your next book should just be "Slices of Life in LA" or some such.
Deep, personal and unafraid.
It's why we like you and your writing.
Stick to these things and they will get you through your problems.
Dude, this was thoroughly enjoyed. :) Now can I have a slice of that inspiration and talent? I got a radio play to write and no idea whatsoever... :)
If this is you "blocked", I can hardly wait to see what happens when the gates open! ;)
And you're blocked? Seems to me that hitting the wall has become a story generator for you. Every time you get stuck, you come back to the blog and churn out an interesting read about being stuck, and 9 times out of 10 it turns out great.
When you write, you want the reader to actually see what you're seeing, feel what you're feeling. This entry did just that, Wil. Only We-Can't-Wait-To-Fuck is where I saw myself, along with my new girlfriend. But I digress...
Keep going, you're on a roll and don't even know it...
Wow, thats a block... Brillant Wil, I read that and the descriptions put me there.
Freaking fantastic piece of writing.
Sadly your blog is my distraction (like fark is to you), but this time it inspired!
That post took me away from my otherwise boring day for a few minutes. I love your writing style.
I just wanted to say thank you for sharing.
Thanks, you guys.
I'm not blocked, though. Just in a rut. I can't explain the difference, but I can feel it. It's not that bad. :-)
Bravo! It is a real pleasure to witness the evolution of your writing, Wil. As to the bitterness, like your writing, all relationships evolve. A good and lasting marriage is built on far more than physical passion. From what you've shared before, your emotional passion is alive and kicking. Cling to that--the rest will take care of itself. Being a stepparent is probably the hardest job in the world--it's like parenting cubed. 12 is a confusing age, and it will probably get worse before it gets better. Hang tough... In the end, your reward will far outweigh the pain and frustration. Keep digging, pal.
Maybe you should switch to tea. Say it with me now..."earl grey, hot."
Fucking brilliant piece of writing, Wil.
And I'm glad I'm not the only one who couldn't stand Magnolia.
*smiles* I think what makes your little vignettes of frustration at writer's block so appealing is that whether you are aware of it or not, you are at your best when most frustrated (no, I'm not going to quote John de Lancie here). The sights, the sounds and the smells you describe are all so sharp, and so familiar, but the real bite in your writing is the trace of espresso in your Blue Mountain blend - for in articulating your failure, you have given us all a taste of your soul. And no writing is more worthy than that which invites a reader to empathise.
Well, Wil, I know the feeling, but - you are writing, and writing well. This very text I'm commenting is brilliantly written, even if it's bitter. I could say "don't be bitter", but that's a stupid comment.
What can I say? Hang on, man. Sometimes life seems bitter, dull, and -mostly- stupid. It isn't really, but it sure does feel that way.
I don't have a good answer. Well, maybe... but it's just my way of looking at things: Love and Imagination. You have both of those in your life. Don't lose sight of either. The dullness and bitterness is just surface, even if it feels ever so deep. There is more to you and to your life and to the world than that.
If this sounds silly, you need to read more poetry. Some Blake might be good.
(And I need to go to bed.)
Good luck. Don't give up.
Brilliant writing Will. Since I just started reading your site recently its my first "fresh" story I have had the opportunity to read. Keep them coming.
And then my fingers went and betrayed me and I typed "Will" instead of what I knew was correct. Looking forward to your book, Wil. ;)
Where is your comparison betweek KROQ and Indie 103.1???
Have you considered writing some non-autobiographical fiction? Sometimes a change of subject helps me when I'm stuck with my writing.
That's not the entire problem, of course.
A while ago I was saying to a friend how much I missed that feeling in a relationship when you can't bare to be apart for one second. I'm happily married and have been with my Husband for 10 years, but that Oh-My-Goodness of the first month of a relationship...I really do miss that.
And it's not like I don't love my husband or would ever cheat on him. I do love him and I wouldn't. But you just can't recapture that magic of the first month. Of making out for hours, or discovering the other persons desires. And I miss it.
I really do.
My friend (who has been married for a year) just didn't get it. But you do Wil. I know you love your wife and would never do anything to hurt her, but you know you'll never have that I'm-so-aroused-by-you-I-can't-take-my-hands-off-of-you feeling and it makes you a little sad. You wouldn't change things for the world, but you know what you gave up when you chose to be with your spouce. Thanks for identifying that feeling.
I thought maybe it was just me and so I didn't speak to it at first but now after reading multiple blog entries and thinking of those from "pre-author Wil" days... Most every blog entry since your book, Mr. Wheaton, sounds like something you're trying to write for another book.
I hope you're not offended by such remarks. It's just how it reads to me, as though you aren't just blogging some @ random event but carefully crafting a (to be published) story. I think before all this book business your writings were of the off the cuff, raw is Wil sort. Now they seem measured and planned :/
My hubby and I celebrated our 10th anniversary last summer - well, I guess "celebrated" is a bit of an overstatement. It came and went, anyway.
Last month - December/Jan - was the hottest month we've had in YEARS!! I can honestly say that in a long-term relationship, you venture in and out of phases. Lust is my favorite, and it's the rarest. I'm just savoring the moments as they come and hoping they'll last as long as possible!
Be encouraged! Absolutely LOVE your writing!
What a brilliant piece you wrote today....this kind of free association usually clears up my writer's block (which sadly, has been going on for about 3+ years)...this is a definite "save" for a future book...hmmm, musings from a 30-something married guy who's not sure where to go or what to do??? Kudos Wil!!
HI Wil, Someone above mentioned that you do your best writing when you are blocked... Very True. This was great. You have a very good knack for ambiance and vivid characterization. I was in the Starbucks and knew what everyone looked like... good job.
Writer's block? shit dood that entry was great! I live in SC but while reading that I was THERE! I see a sequel to Dancing Barefoot abrewin'
Puberty hit the boy hard, didn't it? Poor kid. Life's gonna be a confusing mess for the next few years. Let him know you're always there when he needs you, and remind him that if he royally fucks up you will come down on his ass like a ton of bricks.
Yep, it's time to be a hardass. Just 'cuz he's growing up don't mean he can get away with anything. You now get to be 'dad as a rotten bastard' until he's old enough to show some sense.
It'll pass. Just remember to be consistent, fair, and firm. Good luck.
And a message for Ryan
Ryan, I'm not as nice as your dad. In fact I can out royal bastard professional royal bastards. I get word you're being a little prick to anybody, and we happen to meet, I will lecture you like you've never been lectured before. When I'm done when I say "jump" you will jump and ask how high on the way up. You will be a gentleman even if it kills you.
I've been through puberty, I know all about puberty. So don't expect to get away with anything with me. You will become a competent, responsible adult in due time, or I will know the reason why.
Consider yourself on notice.
Wow! Wil, that's the best bit of writing you've done for this blog in a while! It was really brilliant. I truly enjoyed that and was actually sorry when I came to the end of it. Really great, Wil.
You write better about not being able to write than anyone else I have ever read. It's a little weird, but there it is.
Keep up the good work... even if it is about not being able to work.
"A white van pulled out ahead of me right before the 110. I grew up watching CHiPs, so white vans terrify me: each one contains a potential kidnapper"
have to admit i laughed out loud at this. thanks!
You didn't like Magnolia? *Gasp* Seriously, I expected better from you. I feel so conflicted, my loyalties are divided. I may never return to your site again because of this. (for at least/most 24 hours)
But seriously, Magnolia was an orgasmic cinematic experience, how could you hate that movie and then drool all over that way overhyped, pretentious dreck known as Lord of The Rings?
Thanks for this - surfed over to distract myself, and found that you seem to be in the same mood I'm in. Somehow, reading this makes me feel a little less bitter - in the whole 'misery loves company' category, I guess. :) Anyway, normally a lurker, inspired to comment for once in my life. Good luck, man!
You are not blocked.
You can write, know what to write. You just don't WANT to write.
Sometimes, as much as we may enjoy our professions, sometimes it starts feeling too much like real work.
Take a break. Don't obligate yourself to writing so much per day.
You'll have days you won't write at all, but then you'll have days where you'll write all day long.
By the way,.... I laughed at the "Chips" comment too. Being 34, I grew up watching that too.
INDIE is like KROQ USED to be. Not like it is now. Way lses mainstream, as you could guess from the name. I like it a lot, but KROQ's got my brand name loyalty.
If you want to hear Indie 103 on a regular basis, you can listen online. Their website http://www.indie1031.fm/main.html has a listen live section that streamlines the music to your computer.
Indie 103 really is what KROQ used to be. You hear great alternative music.
.... I should say, At least, that's what it seems to me, you are suffering from. I tend to go through similar phases, and it's not all that uncommon with people who have a highly creative nature.
i've never felt the need to post on one of your blog entries before. but i just wanted to let you know that even your description of writers block is better than my actual writing. you've made me feel like i was in that coffee shop with you, wishing i was somewhere else doing something else. thank you.
i know this is totally random, but i'm too young to remember chips (almost 24), but i am seriously terrified of white vans, too.
i've always thought they contained kidnappers. i am way too old to still think it, but i won't get out of my car if there's a creepy one with a person in it nearby.
i suppose i could think of it as a charming affectation.
i'm just glad to know i'm not crazy and alone : )
I've been reading your blog for about 6 months now, and though I haven't commented before I felt obliged to today because I thought this was a really well written entries. For some reason I am fascinated by the whole Starbucks coffee and iBook craze, and it was great to read a first person narrative of that. You did a real good job with all those mini character studies as well. Looking foward to future entires like this!
Indie 103 is great. A nice breath of fresh air from what KROQ has become. Although they really need to add to their playlist.
That was a great blog entry. I also feel the same way about "white vans" aka "rapist vans". Maybe it's an L.A. thing.
I'm just going to say this one more time, because I'm getting concerned, and angry, and confused e-mails: This is a work of fiction. It's from the creative writing department, not the blog department.
I hope it's not too much like a magician showing off his tricks, but I don't want there to be any ambiguity or misunderstandings about my family life. That stuff goes in the "blog" department.
If it sounds or feels like it should be in the blog department, it's because I'm not a good enough writer to affect different "voices" or "styles" when I write.
that is such a great piece of writing! wow...it totally blew me away.
"It's not his fault that I haven't written anything in over a week. It's not his fault my sweet and kind 12 year-old stepson has been replaced with a surly, disrespectful podperson. It's not his fault that this couple's wonderful, supernova passion for each other is what I want and lack more than anything else on earth."
that bit is incredible. it totally sums up how i feel right now. wow...you are great wil.
I'm glad you clarified that this was a work of fiction, Wil. I was starting to become concerned. =)
Brilliant, Wil; truly an inspiration to anyone that harbors writing within their soul. I thoroughly enjoyed this.
I don't know that it's so much that you aren't able to affect different voices, but that the entry started off so much like a regular blog entry. That, and so many similarities to your life were included: step-son, writer's block, wondering whether the guy at the other table recognizes you from television. The "from the Creative Writing department" at the end should have been a huge clue, but by that point I was too busy wondering what had happened with you and Anne.
Once when I was trying to tell my husband how I felt about him, I ended up saying to him, "This is how Wil said he feels about his wife....(quoting you)...and I am so glad that someone else is as completely and amazingly in love as I am. That's exactly how I feel about you." I was at such a loss for words to explain how I felt, and your words were just so beautiful. So thank you for clarifying that this IS fiction and you and Anne and your family are okay.
And Wil, you are an amazing writer.
I just read your whole story and it just proves that you're a writer. Just talk about what you know and your experiences. You'll be fine. Oh and it's Yahtzee... :ding::
Sounding/feeling like it should be in the blog department is actually a good thing, here, since (I think) you're going for a slice-of-life feel. It's good - natural and strong. Very convincing, obviously, since so many of us looked at it and thought "oh, no, Wil's marriage is in trouble!"
Anyway, I just wanted to say how much I liked it :)
Brillant writing, truly brillant.
Had me fooled.
I've lurked on your site for a long time and enjoyed your writing, but this is the first time I've posted a comment. I'm 31, married for 8 years, and can SO relate to a lot of what you write. Have you watched Ellen DeGeneres's stand-up about procrastination on her latest DVD? Hilarious. Anyway, just wanted to write and say that I loved your work today. So many of the details--flipping the quarters over, for instance--are just right. You can tie the narrative threads together without making it seem forced or artificial.
Btw, I'm an English teacher and former book editor (in my past life before I had my daughter) so I feel like I know at least a *little* bit about what I'm talking about when I say that I think your writing has really improved of late.
thanks for the trip inside your mind...you set the scene well and had me imagining the moment you were living in...VERY GOOD STUFF!
Hmmmm, maybe sometime you can sit in a coffee shop and write about what's going on around you and your real feelings and thoughts instead of made up stuff. I actually thought this was real when I read it and thought it daring, bold and brilliant.
Jesus H Christ Willie. In the immortal words of William Shakespeare: Lighten the Fuck Up.
This message will self destruct in five seconds.
I wrote a play-by-play of a study hall in 10th grade. I find it every other year or five.
I enjoyed this entry. Nice job.
You should be blocked more often. You will always be your biggest kick-butt.
I have been reading your blog for a really long time, but this is the first time I have been inspired to post. I guess fear of bothering the celebrity.
I really enjoyed reading this post and after it was done I was thinking, 'WOW! That was a great short story.' It really took me out of my own reality and into yours. Thank you.
Okay, I didn't read all the comments, so this may be redundant...
The other advantage that XM has over the "Indie" channel? I believe that the Indie Channel is, in fact, owned by Clear Channel, thus making it not all that 'indie' after all.
You know what? I was in a Starbucks this afternoon, in a different country and timezone.
No matter what country I'm in, there's always a weird light in there. I was there for dessert with two friends I haven't seen in more than a year. I missed them terribly, and the immediacies of the moments were made more precious because of it. While I was there and had that moment, I felt I was in *your* there and having *your* moment. Thanks for that, Wil.
Hang in there. Difficult things, as a wise friend once told me, will be over before you can say 'Argh.'.
Block schmock! ;)
who cares if you're writing for another book by means of blog entries (like somebody said in the comments)? It's not like your the first writer/blogger to do so!
Keep on writing, Mr. Wheaton.
That was a brilliant piece of writing, Will. Everytime you write a narrative story about yourself, your career, your wife and stepsons, I feel like I am sitting right besides witnessing the same event because you write so vividly.
You are quickly becoming the best if undiscovered of our generation.
wil, i know what you're talking about with "the rut™". i'm 31 and been stuck there for a couple months now. i'm not a writer, but i'm in the rut™ nonetheless. at first i thought it was being in school. but i finished that in december and that wasn't it. then i thought it was the job, but i just got some exciting new tasks and that's not it. it's not the fam. it's not anything ... but it's everything.
well, there i go assuming i know your rut when clearly i'm talking about my rut as if it were your rut too. perhaps your rut is completely different. anyway, i just wanted to assure you there are others of us in our very early 30s that are in ruts too. if i find a way out of mine, i'll share. i expect you to do the same!
It seems that your muse has found you, even in the rut. That was the most beautifully written entry I've read in a long time.
Don't keep her forever, will you? I sure could use her over here...
Hey buttface... this bleak envy, self-loating, 'pity me' writing is unbecoming of you. You're in a writer's rut because you put yourself there.
I like your writing. A lot of people do, apparently. (I'm, what, the umptieth person to comment?) My point... you have an incredibly unique perspective, one in which many folks are fascinated (myself included). This perspective is lost when you start to whine.
(PS- Wil, you aren't that big of a buttface.)
"We-Can't-Wait-To-Fuck get up."
I work at a Starbucks, I bet the employees there were happy they didn't go fuck in the bathroom. I hate cleaning up those messes.
You could be a real writer someday, Gordie.
...you might even write about us guys if you get hard up for material. Sorry, couldn't resist.
Jesus, Wil. That was some good writing. Don't ever doubt that you have talent.
You write very poetic and truthful. That's all you need to be a great writer. I'm 20 and want to have the courage to write as you do. Thanks for the inspiration. I'll keep reading if you keep writing!
I always like reading bits where people observe the world going by. And it's even more enjoyable here because you relate to all of them. Or soemthing like that. (This is why I stick to poetry. Ugh.) I really enjoyed reading this, Wil. You really brought these people to life. They're not just words on a page. It's like we're sitting right next to you, or seeing through your eyes.
Uh... Senators rock?
Only in LA do they hang out at Starbucks.
Only in LA do smelly homeless people hang out at Starbucks.
Only in LA do two horndogs make out at Starbucks.
Only in LA.
We have Starbucks in Kentucky, but everyone around here hangs out at the horse track.
I imagine they probably have horse tracks in LA, and I bet they have a Starbucks in there too.
Only in LA...
WOW Wil. That was beautiful. I think I felt everything you were feeling during that time. And you hit a very raw nerve for me. I've just turned 30 last year....and my relationship of 8 years with my "boyfriend"...yes that's right still boyfriend, not fiance, not husband.....is in one of those low tides. He is my best friend and there is no one on this earth I would rather be with, but I know what you mean when you talk about watching that couple, especially in times like this. Just wanted to say thanks for that piece. It hit home with me!
And you are my FARK...I always sneak in a peek or two at work when I can! Thanks!!! --SS
Hey the writer is mentioned over at WatchFarscape.com
Wouldn't it be cool if Wil and Rockne got together and made a kick ass TV show or movie?
I check in on you once in a while and admire your wit. Thanks for the smiles and stream of consciousness writing in this entry. I hope Mr. Stinky stays out of your chair from now on!
As one of the previous posters mentioned about Indie...it truly is a great station, but how ironic that Clear Channel, owners of KIIS-FM and the likes, also owns Indie (check LA Weekly January 16-22).
This means that it'll only be "independent" for so long before all the ad money streams in and it begins to sound like a second-rate version of the classic KROQ. I'm not complaining though. I'm listening to it while I can.
Your ability to capture the essence of a scene always amazes me. It's very hard to convey that edgy frustration of being ready to move to the next adventure while slogging through the everyday. I felt a little self conscious being in that Starbuck's in the ratty shorts and holey teeshirt I wear to groom the dogs, but thanks for taking me along.
*reads previous comments*
Dude. I so feel your pain. When I was about sixteen I had the bright idea to write a story about a high school girl who had just found out she had AIDS. I did it as a sort of slice-of-life first-person narrative type thing, thinking it would be that much more powerful if it seemed real. Apparently I succeeded, because the next day all my friends were calling me demanding to know why I hadn't told them first. *face*
Which of course doesn't mean it was a bad story. But it did scare me off fiction for a little while.
I just wanted to empathize with the whole "It's fiction, people" thing, and to let you know that I liked it very much. And it isn't just L.A. that homeless guys hang out in Starbucks.
Great story, Wil. It brings to mind a similar story I had in mind five years ago only it involved a bloodbath at a Starbucks. Much to my dismay, Stephen King did a short story (I forget the title but it was in his most recent collection of short stories)with a similar theme only it took place in a restaurant. Man, I hate when that happens! Mine wasn't as bloody but it did involve a couple similar to that of your "fuck" couple.
You're a very good writer and it'd be nice to see you further explore any one of the characters you mention in your story. There's no greater joy than when the writing is tight and the ideas flow freely. I could see you expanding on this. I think it'll work. Great job,Wil. Post more!
You want to hear something wierd? I arrived home 15 minutes ago dying to tell my boyfriend about this really gross/funny thing I saw on my way home.
White vans? I know exactly what you mean. I was walking through the middle of town today which I never do, and swerved to avoid 'The White Van' parked on the pavement. Here's the irony (you ready?) The 'We-Can't-Wait-To-Fuck couple were canoodling in the front seat of the van, whilst the 'Stinky' homeless dude sat casually having his breakfast in the back.
It's not overly similar, just an amusing little anecdote that somehow relates and I thought I'd put my 50p in...also, my boyfriend isn't home yet and no-one else will understand!
Don't worry about your rut, everyone gets the February Blues:)
Damn. That's one of the most compelling scenarios I've ever read.
Would it be too much of a a suckup to say I aspire to be like you? Sure, maybe your life isn't all roses and song. Sure, maybe you have just as hard a time writing as I do. But you have a wife that loves you and tolerates your geekiness. You have cool stories to tell about family. I read the stories about personal conversations with Spiner, Frakes, Stewart, and gnash my teeth in envy about the positive, warm relationships you have with these idols of geekdom. I admire your wit, your ideals, your literary works both in the blog and in 'Dancing Barefoot'.
Closing in on 30, I find myself identifying with you a lot. Reading your blog was partly the inspiration for my own (that, and a lot of encouragement from my father, my brother, and one of my dad's best friends). While I am not a Linux-geek (please don't stone me!) I am definitely a gaming geek, and get together regularly with my group, the Western Avenue Irregulars. I spend most of my free time at my computer, and hardly any of it searching for The One True Love Of My Life, deciding for now to put that aside till I can wrangle though my own personal issues around relationships.
Reading what you write, I feel inspired, and understood, and not alone. You r0XXX0rs, Will. ;)
Because, in my Kung Fu Records T-shirt, worn over my Hanes thermal shirt, Chuck Taylors and carefully mussed hair I look sexy and alluring?
My guess would be, "Hell, yeah!"
::sends you good mojo to deliver you from your funk::
I think you'll be a write when you grow up. Keep up the good work!
What a brilliant bit of writing! Will that be going in a book, Wil? I enjoy writing and I'm a bit of a people watcher myself... which is possibly why I'd never write much of use in a public place. Right then, I'm heading over to blogging.la to see what you've written there. :)
You write better and more discriptive in giving details and humor to the situation than most of the writers over at Red Dress Ink. I realize that's not really an equal comparison since they write chick lit and you write... what I'm not sure of, but you are much better.
Don't get too attached to Indie. The owners of 103.1 seem to change format every year or two. They use to be KDL, playing rave type dance music. Before that they were spanish pop. At one time they were Grove Radio, CD-103, and way back when, MARS-103.
It seems that the owners are only interested in hitting home runs. A small but dedicated listening audience is not enough.
:::It's not his fault my sweet and kind 12 year-old stepson has been replaced with a surly, disrespectful podperson.:::
You mean it's not just happening at my house? :D Just had to say...thanks, I guess, for a line that so wonderfully captures what all parents feel when the kids are from the ages of 11-16.
I've enjoyed watching your writing improving over the years. Keep posting these exercises (or whatever you want to call it). While they are rough and lack the context of a story or focused essay, they are still a great "read."
The gem of this one (for me) is:
"Does he ever finish the crossword? Sometimes. It's a small victory for him, but one he relishes."
Seventeen words that say more than many writers say in hundreds. That is what the craft of writing is about.
Totally brilliant, Wil, and totally believable. It took me a while to figure out it was fiction. Your description of the we-can't-wait-to-fuck couple made me think that I was missing something besides horribly overpriced coffee by not patronizing Starbucks. It also made me think about where the passion went between my wife and myself.
By no means is what am I about to say meant to be mean,just some thoughts I had while reading the post.
If the homeless guy was sitting there with purchased coffe then he had a right to be there ,but if he was just in out from the cold then,no.Did this homeless guy deserve the intollerant moniker of "stinky"? What crime did he commit to be judged so harshly because he was sitting in YOUR chair? What if it was another chair? Sure,proper hygene should be required when in public,but if his living conditions do not permit what else is there for him to do?
As far as the salesman maybe he has narcalepsy.
And what about " I crumple up my muffin bag,and free throw it into the trash can.It sails through the air,trailing crumbs,and hits the side.It skips into the corner,past the door..."
3 Things.1)Should it not have read,I free threw it towards the trash can? ( not that my grammer or sentence structure are anything to be proud of).2) " A Starbucks guy runs a sweeper across the floor around me,and beneath my feet".
DUDE,YOU TOTALY RUINED THE STARBUCKS GUY CLEANING EFFORT.I can see it now,his boss asks him if he swept and he answers yes.The boss takes one look on the floor and sees the crumbs (Wil Wheaton's crumbs)Your fired says the boss to the starbucks guy.Unable to find gainfull employment ever again he becomes homeless and ends up begging for coffee change and sitting inside a starbucks in somebodys favourit chair! 3)Maybe the girl across the store staring at you siting in HER favourit chair just called you "Mr.Trashy,trash".
Last but not least,the couple with the "PDA".
"...are standing by his car.I know its his because he's leaning againt it...They're making out,right there in the parking lot,with the reckless abandon that blind passion brings to a couple".
Hmm?If they are blind with passion,and Im just shooting in the dark here,could it mean its not his car but just a car they were blind to have seen been leaning on?
Anyway,thats enough poor grammer out of me for one day.
I always wonder what your stepsons think when they get mentioned in your blog entries.
"Wil thinks I'm a podperson??"
no mention on the 2nd for your good pal spiner's b-day?
Well, I would think that it would probably be time to take a break from writing every now and then. I usually find myself wandering the road for a month or two when I find myself in some creative rut. My response being that if I have nothing new to say from myself, then it means I need to work on changing my perspective a bit.
That, or I'm being too annoyed with the people around me, which also sounds like the case.
I would suggest a road trip, then I remember that you've got one planned for the reasonably near future. See you at Penguicon!
Second time posting a comment, hope you read these things as the other comments I've poured through show you have quite the following.
Although I started reading your blog out from a voyeristic perspective, trying to get insight into what Entertainment Tonight would call a "Where Are They Now" segment, I now am an avid visitor to your site. You have a gift that shines very brightly from time to time - I expect that's what people in the "business" saw in you in your youth. Perhaps whatever it was that brought you celebrity in your youth creeps out when you let your writting flow.
I read this blog and almost touched my shoulderblades with the back of my head, shaking it from side to side I couldn't believe just how well you put your thoughts and even more scary- how you wrote of passion lost and youth missed as I have done so many times. Wil, keep writting, you have a gift, let it come out, I want to know others feel my pain, I need to know that it can be overcome.
So I won't be visiting your blog as a pariah of the down, no, rather I'll continue to visit so that one day I can tell my son, "I used to write the author on his blog, before his genius was widely recognized". Best of luck and one last thought: nobody goes alone, be it up or down.
I have been told by several friends that your website rocks. If I had known it was full of such wonderful writing I would have checked it out a long time ago. What a wonderfully hilarious work of fiction! I'll be back for more!
Great writing. Thanks for attaching that link to the creative writing dept. of your site; I'll be sure to read those too.
My sympathies and kudos for people thinking that was a real "blog" entry and not a piece of writing sleight-of-hand.
God knows I've been in your shoes with the passion thing. I am in the process of hooking up two of my co-workers. One has a crush one week and hates him the next. (typical female behavior) The dude is sending a serious amount of mixed signals that causes the girl to love him one moment and hate him the next. (typical male behavior)
I find myself wanting the newness of a relationship, the excitement and thrill but at the same time, feel quilty because I'm about to marry the man I have been looking for my whole life.
The woes of being in complete, contented love and not knowing it.
Wil! Say it ain't so! You haven't already succumbed to writers writing about writers have you?
Just kidding, nice work of fiction.
You know, I felt like I was right there in that Starbucks sitting at the next table taking in everything you saw...if this is writer's block, I surely wish I had it...
"In the 626." You crack me up, man. :)
-- Dragonblink, ex-Barista extraordinaire, exiled to the 949
I was telling one of my co-workers about your blog today Wil. And then I told him that I wanted to write like you when I "grew up."
Fortunately, a class assignment is now telling me how it wants to be fleshed out beyond a nearly 1,000 word essay. And my schedule lightens up for the next couple of weeks, so my reward for getting caught up on homework and not falling asleep at work will be to haul my old laptop out and work on one of several pieces I've been noodling around with.
Thanks for the inspiration,
Wow. I was able to imagine everything you described, all the way down to the scents in the room.
For a person who feels like he's in a writing rut, it certainly wouldn't seem like so, after reading this.
I'm sorry to hear that you're having some difficulties with one of your stepsons, and that you feel you've lost that new-relationship "sizzle". Hopefully, things will get better, and the feelings of "being in a rut" subside.
I'm looking forward to the next blog entry.
Interesting observations. I've spent the last three months in a Starbucks in 626, and recognize a lot of the "Starbucks People" you wrote about. By the way, I'm not at Fair Oaks and California anymore. I'm in Sherman Oaks, at Ventura and Allot. The free latte offer still stands, though, if you care to make the trip. I'm the annoying guy from the front row at the 1/7 JKVS show.
I mostly hope things improve with the step-son(s). I had a step father who did his best to ruin my life (or so I thought) and I envy your relationship. And if a hot chocolate is what he (or they) need to feel a little better, we serve those, too. Which whipped cream on top and everything.
That was an absolutely amazing and captivating story. The line:
It's not his fault that this couple's wonderful, supernova passion for each other is what I want and lack more than anything else on earth.
really has stuck with me for the past day now since I have read your entry. I find myself pondering that line and going back and rereading that section constantly. You are well on your way to becoming a great writer.
Thank you so much for sharing with us.
Please stop writing in your blog. You have a book to write, and many people have already expressed interest in buying it before their eyes fall out from old age.
Great Great posting. Reminds me of Roger Zelazny.
Hey Wil.. keep in mind that alot of homeless people not only stink, they can also have a variation of any number of miniscule cooties colonizing on there backsides.. like fleas, lice, ticks and chiggers.
Roger Zellazny! YES! He likes to write in the first person, especially in the Amber series. You may be in a rut as to what you were trying to write but it doesn't seem you're in a rut writing this. I have to say that you are indeed a good writer because you write from what is around you. You are a very observant person and are tallented in putting what you see into very descriptive and visual words. I could picture everything around you. Like the waiter said, I hope you find your way out soon.
I love your style, Wil. Keep going, it will come to you - you've obviously got something great already.
Speaking of XM radio, (my absolute music wet dream come true), Fred is by far number one on my list...but have you listened to the new channel Lucy - XM 56? It is most excellent.
No need to hope, you are a writer (you are) You made me feel the whole thing with you.
Thanks for sharing your life each day you have no idea how much it means, I can't wait to grab my coffe and spend a few qu9ite moment seeing what you are up to
Damn...have you been peeking over my shoulder at the Stanford Starbucks???
Time to pull out my iBook and try to put together a few phrases...
Oh, and one more thing...what made it so real to me was the reference to the "About-To-Fuck" couple (and I can tell I'm getting old...I still have trouble typing the "f-word"!), and the lack of passion in one's primary relationship. I think most of us have all BTDT at some point or another...hell, even some of my gay and lesbian friends complain about lack of intimacy!!!
It's been suggested to write SOMETHING every day (which is why blogs are so cool); even garbage can be useful. After all, you might pull it out and look at it later, and think, "hey, there's an idea hidden in here somewhere." So don't think of it as garbage, look at it as compost... :)
Do you have a deal to advertise iBook, iPod etc? A lot of your prose comes across as product placement. If this is what you're doing, it's unethical not to declare this to your readers (IMHO, obviously).
Jo: No. If I ever get "big" enough to have any sort of sponsorship, I will obviously disclose that information.
I love my iBook and iPod, and I've been a Machead since 1984.
Maybe a good meditation course could help with the blockage. I just got back from a ten day Vipassina course (http://www.dhamma.org/) and it helped put things in perspective. The problem usually isn't your writing skills, or the volume of ideas and experiences, it is being able to bring it all together in a balanced and purposeful fashion. Good luck finding your muse.
My husband and I have a 12 year old son too, who we adopted when he was 8, so I understand where you're coming from on the surliness. I recently-ish read a good book called 'Get Out of My Life, But First Can You Drive Me and Cheryl to the Mall', which is about those teenage years and about coping with the changes. I found it pretty helpful and I bet you could get it at the Pasadena library, but unfortunately I don't remember the author's name. At any rate, good luck with your boy and with getting out of the rut. You rock!
I’ve been both the narrator and Tweed Jacket in that story. Never either member of The Couple, unfortunately. But also never Stinky, so maybe it evens out.
Fantastic! The coffee analogy was WICKED (and painful). You may feel you're in a rut, but you are in fact plowing new ground at top speed. You ARE the man!
Wow! I know you feel like your in a rut, but as others have mentioned, you write great, even when you feel you are stuck. I enjoy reading peoples observations of what is going on around them, and you have a gift for making it seem as if I were there. Keep up the great work.
I know I'm a bit late to respond to this particular blog entry, but I wanted to weigh in on KROQ vs. Indie 103.1. I too am in the 626, but I work in the 323 and we get Indie during the day. The best part is... NO DJs! They play pretty eclectic stuff, and since we don't have cable radio, it's either that or CDs. Or the regrettable "94.7 The Wave" or Kiss or something equally bad. We're a design firm, so we need something a little more inspring and we're all glad Indie came along. Anyway, looking forward to your article on blogging.la.
Wil, if you're in a rut, then I must be in a canyon. Your writing style has never faltered - as far as I can see, it's only getting better. This kind of entry is the one I look forward to reading in your blog .. stream of conciousness (esp. yours) fascinates me, and you hold back nothing. You're an excellent and talented writer, Wil, I can't wait to see what happens when you get out of this so-called rut!
You made a comment that everyone should try to do something nice for someone everyday. This reminds me of an old song "if everyone lit just one little candle what a bright world this would be." Please consider this--the next time you're in Starbucks if Stinky is there, pull up a chair at his (your) table and start a conversation with him. It may take a lot of courage to do this but you may learn something about life from him. Maybe you could help him find a place to take a shower, buy him some clean clothes, give him a few bucks to buy food. Think about it.
P.S. I thought you were still traveling the universe with the Traveler. I guess you've finally settled down.
Your great admirer,
I was heading down to Fry's today to buy geek stuff when I remembered this post. 103.1 reminds me of the promise the Y107 had when it first started. I was in high school, and heard of this weird little station that didn't have an ad every five minutes, scarcely had a DJ, sometimes got cross radio traffic from LAX and actually played the music I was listening to at the time. This of course, lasted until people were willing to buy ads on the station and they got some DJ's with acceptable radio voices. Of course, like all stations in L.A., it's now Spanish language. (Remember 101.9, ah, that was a long time ago...) What I noticed was, they'd play a short block of KROQ songs, maybe to suck you in (assuming you like KROQ). Then that would be followed by a short block of totally random weird stuff, maybe to scare you off (again, assuming you like KROQ). I think I'll have to listen more during different times of the day to see if I'm really going to be in to this station. Right now I think I'm still going to be faithful to my KFWB traffic reports and quirky news about Yoda statues, how rivets in jeans can harm your naughty bits and the governor.
A thoroughly entertaining post. I almost spit my OWN coffee once.
Keep your head up, Wil.
Vermont and Maryland! I recently moved to Maryland from Vermont!
"Barista." I was a barista. I have never met another human being who actually know what that word meant though. Employers blink at that word on a resume. I'm impressed with your vocab.
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