Wednesday, March 16, 2011

On Meeting Pat Rothfuss (Again)

 
Friday night I went to Lexington to see Pat Rothfuss.  I made the 3+ hour trip with Keisha, armed with my copy of Wise Man's Fear and Princess and Mr. Whiffle.  I got there early, purchased two paperback copies of The Name of the Wind for a fellow blogger who asked, picked up my letter ticket to stand in line for later, and left the bookstore to kill some time.  The event started at 6:30 or something, and we returned to the bookstore about an hour early, grabbing some seats up close to the front.

Keisha and I sat in the seats and talked with a few fans.  I'm under the impression that most nerds/geeks are friendly at heart, due to common interests and years of oppression.  We talked about geeky things: video games, other books and authors, computers.  Talk eventually turned to Wise Man's Fear, where a few of us pointed out we weren't finished so please avoid spoilery.  I was already nervous enough that I would have something ruined for me.

Eventually Pat arrived in splendor and glory, and soon after the event started.  Because there were many people there, several of whom drove quite a distance, they would let those with small children or 2+ hour drives move through the line early, avoiding the queue later on.  This was a pleasant surprise, as I fully expected to wait around for 2 or 3 hours before getting my stuff signed.  So I got in line with my books and waited patiently to meet Pat.

Last year when I met Pat I spazzed out, forgetting whatever it was I was going to say and simply basking in his glory.  I mean, what can I say around someone I hold in high esteem?  But this year it wasn't as bad.  Sure, I felt a brief moment of awkwardness, asking about how the tour was going and if he'd been sick or anything, but my lovely wife bailed me out.  She told Pat how much I loved his work and that I would be reading aloud to her and the growing baby inside.  Talk of babies brought about me receiving parenting advice from Pat Rothfuss, where he discoursed on breast feeding and lactation nurses and a trick to do with my pinkie for the young lass when she comes.  We talked for quite a bit, he signed my books, and we parted ways.

Before the Q&A started, Pat established some ground rules.  No Spoilers, and nothing related to spoilery.  Then the questions started.  Simple stuff from what type of music does he listen to when he writes (None, it's too distracting), to who would finish his series if he happened to die (Dude, really?  Some dead author, he picked, as it wasn't specified), to inspiration for stories  (I'm reasonably sure he said he didn't believe in inspiration), to editing problems using Word (he told an anecdote of spending 25 hours removing the word "that" from unnecessary spots, which isn't noticeably different to anyone reading (he also told this same story last year)), to many other things.  I asked him what it felt like being in the Top 10 Best SFF novels of the decade on Tor.com, but he didn't hear me right and thought I asked how the tour was so far, in which he responded about how awesome it is but also how surreal the whole thing was, where he could understand how rock stars killed themselves in hotel rooms and stuff, not that he was a rock star or anything.

One thing that was rather awesome was someone asked him what his favorite gift was that he'd received from the mail-in thing, and he said he'd received a whole lot of cool stuff.  The first thing he mentioned was the quarter with a bullet hole.  Now I understand how silly this sounds, but that makes me somewhat proud to know that Pat thinks that quarter's cool.  Sure, really it's just lame and doesn't amount to anything, but I think it's cool that he remembers it.  He may not know me, but he knows my quarter.

Another thing that was awesome was someone asking him to sing a song for us.  With some friendly goading and a helpful lyric sheet printed by the Joseph Beth staff, Pat had no choice, and he sang an a capella version of Jonathan Coulton's "I Crush Everything."  (Coulton's got some great stuff, if you've ne'er heard him.  Check out his stuff here.)  Pat's lone voice was great, smooth and perfect for such a tragic song.  Plus, his slower tempo version made the sad song even more tragic, and the whole audience was sucked into his song.

Pat also read a story from his bygone days as a college newspaper humorist about pets in the dorms.  I happen to have a signed copy of The College Survival Guide, which is an anthology of many of these letters, and this story alone was part of the reason why I bought the book.  It's hilarious.

And really that was about it.  We ran into a friend that I helped recruit to Pat's Legion, and we talked for a while.  I also saw fellow blogger Jay, and we talked briefly about various things.  Overall, the event was a lot of fun and I'm very glad I went.  I'm sure in a few years whenever Book Three is released I'll go again, finishing out my collection of signed copies of The Kingkiller Chronicles.  I'm still fond of Pat's writing and his generosity, his down-to-earth attitude, and his excellent story of Kvothe.  I'm sure there's more, but my mind's fuddled.

10 comments:

contemplatrix said...

"I'm under the impression that most nerds/geeks are friendly at heart, due to common interests and years of oppression." Nicely put, and true...

glad it was such a positive experience.

I am ever amazed at some of the things audiences ask at book signing/readings...I think I would have to be a bit toasted if I were an author at some of these things, just to survive them.

sounds like a fun evening, I can see why you recommend attending his events and reading his books.

~L

Crystal said...

I'm glad to hear (read) that your meeting Pat Rothfuss (again) was a success! The bookstore that Pat visited while in Seattle was packed with a few hundred people (didn't help that the bookstore is across the street from University of Washington), so I didn't wait around to meet him. I was really sick and I had to work the next day. I had a ticket to be at the beginning of the signing line, but since he was in Seattle the day that Wise Man's Fear came out, just about everybody in the room had a ticket. A bookstore employee told me that people were lining up for seats 6+hours in advance. The same employee told me that the bookstore had 1,000 copies of Wise Man's Fear, and only had 200 copies left. I was very sad that I didn't get to meet Pat and get my books autographed that my thoughtful boyfriend swiped my copy of Wise Man's Fear and took it back to the bookstore to exchange for one of the few autographed books Pat left behind. Not quite the same as meeting the man himself, but at least the book is signed.

I just saw Jonathan Coulton in concert last month. He opened for the Presidents of the United States of America. I don't think the crowd was familiar with his music. I was very dissapointed he didn't sing "Code Monkey", but he did sing "Ikea".

Jonboy said...

Hahaha. Man that quarter just keeps coming back!

I wish I could have went this time. I'll definitely have to come for the final book tour.

One thing I wanted to ask...how was the crowd compared to last time?

logankstewart said...

@L: Yeah, people are crazy and unpredictable. Odd, though, how they always seem to ask the same questions but then you have a few that are completely original.

@Crystal: Hey there. At least you got to see Pat, eh, and hear him talk and whatnot. Jonathan Coulton's got some good stuff. I like his "Presidents of the United States" song quite a bit, as well as "Washy Ad Jeffy." "Screwed" is probably my favorite song of his, though. Hope all's well for you!

@Jonboy: Definitely. You'll have to hit the last tour, though who knows when that'll be. The crowd was much larger than last time. People were lined along the balcony looking down, and downstairs was pretty much cram packed.

David Wagner said...

You should send him a half-dollar next! Wait, isn't that the one with Kennedy's head on it? Better not shoot that one...

Shellie - Layers of Thought said...

That is some grin you have there... lol...

Paula Titus said...

He looks like a drug addict? Sorry.

logankstewart said...

@Dave: That's terribly clever. Funny stuff, mate.

@Shellie: Ha, I know.

@Paula: Ha, I know! (He looked exhausted, actually. I can only imagine. Still, his writing is top o' the line, despite his... ragged appearance.)

Carl V. said...

I am so happy for you and this experience. Isn't it great to meet favorite authors? Your post reminds me of when I finally got to go to a Neil Gaiman reading and meet him. I can readily understand the difficulty being "cool" around someone you admire so. I've had it happen to me more than once. Awkward! Glad your wife was on the ball for you.

logankstewart said...

@Carl: Ah, Gaiman would be a sweet experience, too. Just listening to him narrate a book draws me in so much, I can't imagine a real-life encounter. Indeed, though, thankful for my wife's presence.