Wednesday, March 16, 2011
On Meeting Pat Rothfuss (Again)
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.