I had no idea that Wil Wheaton graced my home state with his presence back in March at the Southern Kentucky Book Fest. I can’t tell you how bummed I am that I missed seeing him speak.
Neverminding my failure to stay on top of cool things, Mr. Wheaton was nice enough to post a copy of his remarks on his site. I’m just a few years younger than Wil and not only empathize with his childhood experiences but can say I had my own version of them.
I also totally agree that “the library is a safe place” for everyone.
In order to survive, I disassociated for much of my childhood, but I clearly remember the books. That’s where I found comfort, companionship, inspiration and validation. It’s where the imagination that powers everything I do creatively in my life today was born. And it all started in that library, with that librarian. She was one of the first people I can remember asking me, “What do you like? What’s important to you? What do you want to know more about? How can I help you find it?”
That moment was so special and meaningful, not just then, but for years after. When I got older, I began to learn that so much of what had been presented to me as truth in school wasn’t just false, it was propaganda. I remember the first time I saw a banned books display at a bookstore in the mall when we were on location for Stand By Me. I wanted to read all of them, because I’d figured out that if They didn’t want me to, there must be something pretty great inside.
I read To Kill A Mockingbird, and began thinking about racism and injustice.
I read 1984 and Brave New World, and began thinking about autocrats, and what it meant to be truly free to choose our own destinies.
I read Johnny Got His Gun, and All Quiet on the Western Front, and saw firsthand the horrors of war.– Wil Wheaton
You can read his full remarks right here.