Thursday, March 18, 2010

On Meeting Pat Rothfuss

It’s hard for me to decide where to start this post.  Perhaps I should venture into the realm of modern fiction and story-telling and give the ending first.  That way you’ll have some perspective for what kind of mindset this is coming from and be forgiving for any grammatical, spelling, usage, etc. mistakes.  At the end of the post is a super special surprise.  (Warning, this post is a bit longer than normal.)

I went to bed after 2am last night.  I got less than five hours of sleep.

My friend Adam met me at my house yesterday around lunchtime and we hit the road, heading east towards the Horse Capital of the World, Lexington, KY.  The bookstore is 179 Google Maps miles away, which is around a three hour drive plus a time zone change.  (You people that don’t live in a state where the time zone rips and tears you in half don’t know what you’re missing.)  So my trip there could be considered a little over four hours, while my return trip was only around two.

The ride was pleasant.  The conversation excellent.  We arrived in Lexington and met up with two of my friends I graduated college from, Jonathan and Meigooni.  I haven’t seen these guys in a while, so it was good hanging out with them all again.  Jon read The Name of the Wind a few years back; Meigooni and Adam were just along for the ride.

Pat greeting us allSo, after a bite from Qdoba, we headed over to the bookstore, about an hour early.  There were several seats, but not too many people there yet.  Luckily, I snagged the seat directly front and center of where Pat would be speaking.  And, soon, the man arrived.

Listening to Pat speak in person was an experience I’ll likely remember for many years.  His voice is soothing, deep, calm, wise.  His ability to laugh and smile, to have a good time, to not take himself too seriously and to be “normal,” was great.  The chairs had all filled and people were standing around the walls.  Pat said that this could be his biggest turn-out.  The audience was warm and the ambience fun.

Pat began simply with just talking a bit.  He laid out the format for the event, first some Q&A, then some reading, then more Q&A, then more reading, a bit more Q&A, and finally a bit more reading, followed by the signing.  While no one was cruel or mean enough to ask about Book Two, Pat did address the issue.  Here’s a story he told.  (Paraphrased and in third person.)

Pat is a meticulous editor.  He recently decided to go through the 1500 manuscript pages of The Wise Man’s Fear and examine every use of the word “that.”  Often, the word “that” is un-needed, and he read through each sentence of the book, studying each use of “that.”  The word was used over 4000 times.  The process took about 25 hours, and around 900 “that”s were deleted, which shortened the novel by about three pages.  He guaranteed that an editor would not be able to tell a difference between the two versions, but he could, and he wants the book to be better than better.  That is one reason why the book’s taking so long.

It’s nice hearing the honesty from the author, Laughing and being a nice guyknowing how progress is going.  There were several questions, some serious, some hypothetical, some humorous.  I asked what he thought about the Suvudu Cage Match current line up, Kvothe v. Aslan.  He explained (to those that didn’t know what it was) what the cage match was, then answered that he was planning to write a little write-up and send to Suvudu for his answer.  He told some amusing tales of Amazon woes and Facebook problems.  He lauded his fans for being intelligent and loveable people.  He read this piece he wrote on his blog last year, since it was St. Patrick’s day.  He read a hilarious (where everybody was wiping the tears from their eyes and hurting from laughing so hard, including Pat) article he wrote for the College Survival Guide on circumcision.  He talked about a NotW movie.  He talked about his friendship/funny rivalry between Jim Butcher.  And he finished by reading the prologue to The Wise Man’s Fear.

Let’s say that it sounded slightly familiar, though different.  It was tantalizing.

Then the line formed for signing, just a little after 8pm.  We were informed that there would be no time for individual photos with Pat.  I lamented, sad, but understanding.  Still, I drove all the way, I hoped for a picture with Pat.  So, I positioned myself near the end of the line.  I waited for almost two hours before getting to Pat.  I prepared myself for what to say.  I felt giddy.  It was like meeting a celebrity, though he’s only human.  I planned to tell him about my 4-hr drive (time zone changes count!), tell him about the quarter I sent him, ask him another question, thank him.  Finally I got to the table.

I completely blanked out.  I had butterflies.  I mumbled.  I said, quite lamely I might add, “Immabigfan.”  He had to be tired, I didn’t want to take up his time.  I added my drive time and fell silent, looking at my friend for acceptance.  Thankfully, he saw my addled dilemma.  “Tell him about the quarter,” Adam said.  “Oh yeah.  I sent you a quarter with a bullet hole in it.”  Then the light bulb flashed.  “Yeah.  That was one of the coolest things I got early on,” he said.  And then we conversed, talked briefly about guns and me shooting it.  Pretty cool guy all around.  Then I asked for a photo.  “Sure,” he said.  “No problem.”

Logan and Patrick Rothfuss You can’t tell from the picture, but we’re both wearing cool shirts.  Pat, with his glorious and enviable man-beard, has on a Blue Sun shirt a la Firefly.  I have on the Beatles-Stormtrooper Abbey road shirt.

In the end, the trip was well worth the time and drive.  I met my favorite living author and he was a cool guy.  I bought another book and had it signed for me, to match my other 1st edition, 1st printing signed copy.  If you ever get the chance to meet Pat Rothfuss, take it.  Even my friends that haven’t read the book had a good time.

Below are the books I’ve got, all of which are signed but my rugged paperback.  I’ve also included the inscription pages.  (You can hover over pictures for a short description and to read the inscriptions.)

(From Left): 1st ed. Naked-Man-Chest Cover, Current ed. Hbk, 2 softbacks, College Survival Guide

1st Edition 1st Printing; "To Logan, May your hands grow weary from playing your mandolin. And may your fingers calous, but never your heart." Current Edition, 5th Printing; "to Logan, the fourth silence" I bought this on ebay; "Relax. Do something stupid."

In the book I had signed last night Pat got to talking and signed “Pat Pat,” instead of “Pat Rothfuss.”  We had a little laugh, then he said he’d go on and put “Rothfuss Rothfuss,” too.  So my book’s double signed!

Now, the super special surprise.  I bought an extra paperback last night to get signed and to give away to one lucky reader here on my blog.  I had Pat write something blog fitting” on the inscription page and sign it.  If you’ve read this blog for a while, then you’ll know to expect something… unusual?  Random?  Fun?  Bah.  Here it is.

"Congratulations! Lick here." So, if you’d like a chance to win this ultra-awesome, signed copy of The Name of the Wind, here’s what I ask.  Mail me a hand-written, 752 word essay on the importance of the copper penny in 17th century France.  I must receive the essay on a Tuesday.  It must also be an odd-numbered date.  Okay, okay, I kid. 

All you have to do is leave me a comment with your email saying you’d like to be entered.  This will get you one entry.  If you also blog, tweet (is that correct?  I dunno how Twitter works,) Facebook, take out an ad in the New York Times, or get a tattoo that links to Rememorandom and this contest, then you’ll get an extra point for each thing (tattoo = auto-win.)  It is helpful if you put links for me to verify, but I’ll believe you whether you do it or not.  You can also get three extra entries by emailing me (logankstewart[at]gmail[dot]com) a compelling reason why you should win this book, even though it technically increases your odds by 3 chances and the reasoning will have no affect.  If I get some good reasons, I may even post them up here (anonymously, unless you specify otherwise).  I’ll take all the entries I receive by Sunday, March 28, and put them into a magic hat and pick a random winner.

So, to summarize, I met Pat Rothfuss and it was great.  You can win a book signed by him and feel warm on cold, cold nights.  Here’s a nice breakdown.  Let me know if you have questions.  Only available to folks in the USA.  Sorry.

+1 for general comment with email and saying you’re interested
+1 for each blog, tweet, Facebook, other clever thing mentioning and linking this post (links to me are nice)
+3 for an email that explains why you should win
+10000000 for getting a tattoo that can somehow link to this contest


Krista said...

Wow, sounds like you had tons of fun! Man, I'm so completely Jealous! And Ha-ha you got Star Struck! :)

I totally want to enter your contest and you made me laugh when you said write an essay! I was like what!? LOL!

I don't have time to do a blog post or tweet about it right now but when I get home I totally will and I'll come back and leave the links :)

Okay, and my email is kristacole64(at)yahoo(dot)com

Glad it was an experience to remember, Logan! :) Maybe one day I'll get to meet either Rothfuss or Sanderson that would just be awesome!!

Crystal said...

Sounds like a good time was had by all.

I like the autograph that says "Relax. Do something stupid" and "Lick Here". Too funny!

Please enter me into your contest - crystalperspective[at]gmail[dot]com

The tattoo is very tempting, but I will have to pass for now.

Jonathan Francis said...

Great write-up Logan. It was a fantastic experience. Glad you enjoyed it so much. Good luck to all the contestants!

Shellie (Layers of Thought) said...

I love it!

I am so envious... I have my eyes peeled for the next big book signage event... :)

Thanks for the email for the "heads up".

The picture of you and the author, as well as the shots of the autographed book are great! I'm going to do that next time.

Sleep is so overrated when in comes to fun stuff like this.

Sign me up please.

Wysen said...

Wonderful write up of the event. And thanks for the comment on my blog.

Just out of curiosity how late were you there until? I know I left around 9:30pm and I was in the D section and I'm pretty sure it went to I. The line was super slow.

logankstewart said...

@Krista: I really was "star struck." Kind of embarrassing, but, nah, not really.

@Crystal: Aye, I racked my brains trying to think of something random, funny, and off-the-wall that would work well for a giveaway. Finally, I came up with "Lick Here." It was either that or a Scratch & Sniff joke...

@Jon: Thanks, friend, and I'm glad you made it out there. 'Twas good to see you again.

@Shellie: No problemo with the "heads up."

@Wysen: Thanks for commenting back. I left at almost 10. I had a D ticket as well, but lingered around and got in towards the back of the line so I could ask for a picture. There were only about 3 or 4 people behind me, I believe.

David Wagner said...

I must have that book! Please! If you award it to me, I'll keep quiet about the misspelled word in the inscription!


logankstewart said...

@David: Ha, you noticed it too, eh? I'll keep it unmentioned as well, but it stands out to me. Maybe that makes it even more special.

marky said...

You lucky bugger.;-)

Shellie (Layers of Thought) said...

I tweeted it! :)

thatedeguy said...

Sign me up!

thatedeguy {{at}} gmail [[dot]] com

logankstewart said...

@marky: Lucky I am, friend. Lucky I am.

@Shellie: Thanks! Got you down for +2 now.

@thatedeguy: Sure thing, and thanks for stopping by my blog.

Krista said...

hey, Logan I just tweeted about this here contest! Heres the link :)

Blog post sometime within the next few days :)

Krista said...

I blogged it! :) YAY! I hope I win it! haha

Shellie (Layers of Thought) said...

Hey Logan -

I got a tattoo... it now says Pat R on my bum......just kidding!

no really...when does this contest end? :)

logankstewart said...

@Krista: I now have you down for +3. Good luck.

@Shellie: That's hilarious. The contest ends this Sunday, 3/27.

wilbarr said...

Good for you guy.

pagebar09 at gmail dot com

cherylbaryl said...

I definately want this book. Sign me up for the contest!
I am a new follower!

Shellie (Layers of Thought) said...

Logan your blog looks great! Yeah!
Masculine and organized...

and funny thing is the word verification is making me type

logankstewart said...

@Wilbarr: Thanks, and I got you down for +1.

@Cherylbaryl: Thanks for following, and I have you down for +1.

@Shellie: Masculine... ha! Organized, definitely. I am, after all, an engineer.