So my book is launching today, and so far I’ve spent the day trying not to think about it.
I am not a nervous person, but I’ll be honest with you. This book has me tied in a bit of a knot. I didn’t feel this way when Name of the Wind came out because I knew that book was good. I’d carried it around next to my heart for 14 years before it was published. I was confident in it.
But this book… When I finished it, I honestly expected it to just sit in a trunk for years. I knew I liked it. But I also knew it wasn’t like any sort of fantasy story I’d ever read before. At best it was arty, at worst it was incomprehensible. Bizarre. I mean, just look at the title: The Slow Regard of Silent Things. What does that even mean? My translators can’t figure it out, and I can’t articulate it in any sensible way. So in the rest of the world, the book is going to be “The Music of Silence.”
And yes, yes, I liked it, but it was *my* book. Of course I like it. An author’s view of their own work is never objective.
So today I’m nervous. I’m resisting the urge to go look for reviews. Actively fighting the urge. The almost overwhelming urge. That way lies madness.
So I go onto twitter instead. The first, best refuge of a desperate man looking for substanceless distraction. And instead I and see people talking about the book. They’ve already read it, and before I can look away, I see this:
@PatrickRothfuss Just finished the book. I can only compare it to Ulysses, but not boring. You just made art. Makes the world brightier.
— Deoch y Stanchion (@DeochyStanchion) October 28, 2014
And it helps. A little. The twitter handle lets me know the reader isn’t exactly objective either. They’re obviously a fan…
But the more I roll this around in my head, the more it troubles me. Ulysses was one of those books that I was supposed to read for class but I never did. All I really know about it is that it’s one of the all-time front runners for pretentious, literary self-indulgence, right?
So I turn off twitter. I avoid reading e-mails that might even imply they have anything to do with my book. Then I grit my teeth and answer them anyway, because most of them are from my publisher, and I can’t just leave them hanging.
I just went online to find a copy of the US cover to post up, and I found this. This sort of thing warms my heart. Y’all are so enthusiastic and encouraging and kind. It makes me smile. It makes me think that things will be okay. My readers are up for something a little different. They’re geeks. They’re smart.
Then I picture the person above reading the book, their forehead furrowed, their expression screaming, “What the actual fuck Rothfuss? What the hell is this story even about?”
I hate the thought of disappointing people. And this is something that I didn’t understand until I was a parent. The more someone loves you, the more you have the ability to disappoint them. I love my little boy, and I get so irritated with him sometimes. Oot loves me beyond all reason and sense, and when I tell him no, I have hours of work to do, I can’t play, his face falls. Then he smiles a fake smile at me and tells me it’s okay. He’s only five and he already knows how to fake a smile to hide his disappointment. It breaks my heart.
I’m doing an event in Portland tonight in just a couple hours. It will be a good time. The Doubleclicks are opening for me, and last I heard we’d sold over 700 tickets.
What’s the point of all of this? There’s no point. I’m just rambling. Fretting.
I should go take a shower and see if I can do something to make myself look slightly civilized. Maybe eat some dinner. I should definitely Coffee-Up for my performance. Caffeine will probably help.
I hope all of you are well. If you’re reading the book, I hope you’re enjoying it. If you’re not reading the book, I hope you’re enjoying not reading it.
As always, yours in verbosity,