As many of you know (well, at least 127 of you) I'm coming to Montreal next week for a reading and signing of Just A Geek.This is really exciting for me, because the entire event was put together by people in Montreal who started a demand with Eventful, pushed it to critical mass with the Browncoat (Serenity and Firefly) fan community up there, and eventually organized it with a combination of both.
I honestly didn't know where to go in Montreal. I looked into some indie bookshops, but I didn't have many to choose from, and I was, frankly, intimidated about cold-calling the big chain stores up there. I'm committed to keeping this entire experience as audience-driven as possible, though, so when the owner of a store called The Magical Blend offered to host me, I gratefully accepted.
This is a little unexpected, I know, because you wouldn't normally go to a magic (as in Wicca and occult, not Svengali decks and balls-through-cups) shop to see me, but it turns out that this particular shop is at the center of the big charity screening of Serenity on June 22nd, and it makes a lot of sense to go there, since critical mass for my appearance was reached though the efforts of that fan community. Though I'm not connected to Firefly in any way (other than being a pretty huge fan of the show, of course) my reading and appearance will be a pre-screening event for anyone who chooses to come out.
On a personal note, I'm no stranger to magic and occult shops. When I was a kid, I was fascinated by the occult, and spent lots of time reading books from stores like The Psychic Eye in the Valley, or from the two-shelf occult section of the average bookstore in the mall. Mostly, I read about things you'd see on In Search Of . . . or Ripley's Believe it or Not! like Druids, dream interpretation, and Cryptozoology, and I loved to buy candles and incense and things that I couldn't find anywhere else.
Whenever I picked up a book at an occult shop, it felt like an act of rebellion (though ultimately meaningless) against the arch-conservative Lutheran school where I went to elementary school, and learned that my favorite uncle was going to hay-yull because he was a Buddhist, even though he was kind and honest, and one of the most loving people I knew.
Heh. This memory, completely forgotten until I typed that last paragraph, just flashed through my mind:
On a family trip one year, we stopped at a strip mall so my mom could go into a drugstore for sunscreen or something, and I saw a bookstore next door. I had just finished The Shining, or The Dead Zone or something like that, and I wanted to pick up a new book. I got permission from my dad to go in (I must have been between 13 and 14) and I looked for the occult section. When I couldn't find it, I asked an employee where it was.
"What do you want with occult books?" He said.
"Oh, uh, I just like to read about that stuff. It's like In Search Of . . . , you know?" Though I was very young, something told me that I was capital-B Busted, and I should try to get out of there quickly.
"Here," the employee, a college-aged guy with curly blond hair, said, "you should read something that can help you." He put a Book of Mormon into my hand.
That's when I realized that I had wandered into a Mormon bookstore, and asked where the occult section was. It took all my strength not to laugh out loud at how stupid I was.
"Oh," I said. "No thank you. I think I hear my mom calling me." I handed it back, and got out of there as fast as I could.Anyway, that doesn't have much to do with this appearance, but I never pass up an opportunity to wander off on some tangent and tell a story. If you come to see me in Montreal or Boston, you'll probably get to experience that first-hand.
Here are the details for my reading and signing in Montreal, for your cutting-and-pasting enjoyment:
Who: Wil Wheaton, author, actor, cad, knave, raconteur.
What: Reading from Just A Geek.
Where: The Magical Blend - 1928 St. Catherine's Street West Montreal, Quebec, Canada H3H-1M4
When: Thursday June 22, 2006 - 1:00pm
For More Info Call: (514) 938-1458
I hope you can make it out. I'll be honestly surprised if all 127 people who fueled the demand show up, but it's going to be very interesting and exciting to see who comes out.