For those of you who are keeping track, my youngest son is just a little more than two years old now. And far all ages have been good ages with my sons (so far) this is a particularly special age for me. It’s the age of language acquisition.
He’s a good talker, and has been using full sentences for a couple months now. But listening to him is still a bit of an acquired skill, because…. well… he’s still a baby, so all of his words don’t quite sound right.
By the way (Pat said, managing to tangent away from his primary purpose in the blog in a record-breaking two paragraphs) did you know that the reason it takes kids so long to talk isn’t primarily mental? A huge portion of it is actually physical. They lack the physical control required to make the proper sounds with their mouths.
It makes sense when you think about it. Learning how to pick up a pencil is hard, but learning to whistle is *way* harder. Learning how to accurately and consistently recreate the 42-46 phonemes that comprise American English…. well… it’s easy to forget how hard it is until you see a kid struggling with the process.
Think about it, your lips, tongue, jaw, and vocal cords all have to orchestrate things together *very* precisely just to make just *one* phoneme. Like an “Mmmmm” sound. And each phoneme has many variations.
Then realize that even a simple word like “more” has *three* of those phonemes. And all of those need to be pulled off correctly, together, in about a tenth of a second.
And that’s just for one word.
This is why a lot of parents do sign language with their young kids. Kids can understand you much younger than they can talk (Most folks who have studied a foreign language know the same feeling: being able to understand a question in your new language, but not answer it.) Babies can think in words much earlier than they can *say* most words, which means they can communicate with you much sooner than you think if you teach them a few gestures.
(Don’t look so smug, little man. That’s a pretty sloppy “more.”)
The reason parents understand their kids better than anyone else is because we’re more experienced with our own children’s particular accent and dialect. And even then, *we’re* clueless some times as to what the kids are saying.
This is why parents constantly repeat what kids say back to them. Partially we do this so children can hear a clearer version of what they’re saying, which helps them improve their pronunciation. But it’s also because we’re double checking what we think they’re saying. (And honestly, I’m guessing there’s some straight-up biological imperative mixed in there, too.)
Anyway, all of this is preamble and context so I can share a conversation I had with Cutie the other day.
Cutie: Daddy Faat es laou!
Me: Daddy’s fart is loud?
Cutie nods: Es yike ayafat.
I’m clueless here, so I look to Sarah.
Sarah: It’s like an elephant?
Cutie nods again: Daddy’s faat es yike a yion wohr!
Me: Daddy’s fart is like a lion?
Me: It’s like a lion’s roar?
Cutie nods again.
So… yeah. Now you know. Even if you didn’t want to know, you still know. And you can’t unknow it.
Sorry about that.
P.S. In case you were wondering, having kids is pretty great.
As I write this blog, Worldbuilders has raised nearly $516,000.
That was going to be my big announcement today, that we broke half a million dollars.
But it turns out I actually have a much bigger piece of news to share.
Today, Heifer International is running a special event in conjunction with Giving Tuesday. For one day, all donations made to Heifer will be matched and put toward their work in Haiti.
There’s two reasons that this is a big deal for me.
The first reason has to do with my mom. I don’t talk about her a lot on the blog, though I think of her constantly.
(Here she is. With her little boy, long ago.)
You see, years and years ago, my mom went to Haiti.
It’s a long story, but the nutshell version is that she moved down to Haiti for two weeks to help run an orphanage in Port au Prince. This orphanage took care of babies that people abandoned at hospitals, usually because the babies were really sick, or they had permanently debilitating medical conditions. The parents left the children because they were desperately poor, and had no way to pay for their care.
But the hospitals couldn’t afford to care for the kids, either. Because the government in Haiti doesn’t pay for that. And the orphanage wasn’t in the nice part of town, so the government wasn’t giving them any money either. As a result, this wasn’t one of those posh orphanages like in Annie. They didn’t have beds for the kids, for one thing. But that doesn’t even begin to paint the picture for you. Huge swaths of Port au Prince don’t have any infrastructure at all, so the orphanage didn’t have luxuries like, say, running water.
Imagine that. Imagine taking care of these poor disabled babies and not having any running water. And I don’t mean that they couldn’t take showers regularly. I mean nothing came out of the faucets. They got water out of a cistern that was open to the air. They hoped for rain to re-fill it, and they had to boil every drop they drank and cooked with.
As a result, my mom came back from Haiti with a parasitic infection that took her years of serious medicine to get rid of.
She also came back with stories.
I could tell you a lot of stories about the time my mother spent there. But the truth is, if you’ve read my books, you already know some of them. When she was there, my mom met an old barefoot man who took care of orphan boys with physical and developmental problems. A lot of times the boys were dangerous to themselves or others.
I saw a picture of him once. My mom said he was barefoot all the time, and she suspected he might have been a Trappist monk at some point in his life.
The stories my mom brought back from Haiti gave me my first glimmering realization that not everyone’s life was like mine. Not everyone could microwave a burrito when they got hungry. Not everyone had clean water to drink. There was an entirely different world out there where people were so poor, they had to abandon their babies if they were born sick.
So. That’s the first part of the reason I’m excited about Heifer matching donations today and all the proceeds are going to projects in Haiti. Because the roots of Worldbuilders go all the way back to my mom’s experiences there. The stories she told me.
The second reason I’m excited is when we caught wind of Heifer’s event last night, we gave them a call and did our very best fast-talking. And because Heifer is full of cool people, they’ve agreed to let our fundraiser take part in their event.
This is great news for us. Huge news. And I can’t thank Heifer enough for being willing to work with us on such short notice to make this happen.
But even so, something hasn’t been sitting right with me. I’ve been up all night rolling this around in my head. I’ve been looking through old pictures and thinking about my mom.
If my mom was still around, she would be moving heaven and earth today for this fundraiser. She’s be baking cookies and making quilts and talking to people at church. She would be filming goofy stretch goals and helping us package up orders in Tinker’s Packs.
And she’d do more than that. She’d put her money where her mouth was.
But here’s the thing. At the start of this year’s fundraiser, I’d decided that I wasn’t going to donate any more money to Worldbuilders. I’d talked myself out of it. I’d already given a bunch of money to charity this year, (Syrian Refugees, First Book, etc.) I’d done my part. I was going to be done.
And besides, I’ve kinda been saving up to build a house out in the country.
And besides, I already give a bunch of my time and energy to the fundraiser, right?
And then I think about my mom. And I think about kids in Haiti.
So here’s what we’re going to do.
If you donate to Worldbuilders today. I’m going to match your donation. Then we’re going to take ALL that money to Heifer and they’ll match both of us. So if you chip in today, your donation will be doubled, then doubled again.
I’ll match up to 100,000 dollars. I’ll let you do the math on that.
As I sit down to write up my traditional blog full of Rothfuss-specific items I’m putting into the fundraiser, I notice that Worldbuilders has just crested over the $100,000 mark.
This fills me with joy. Not only because it confirms that all of you are lovely, generous people. But also because it means we’ve passed two stretch goals, and have just unlocked a third, where Nika Harper will do a Tarot reading for a goat.
What were the previous two stretch goals? Well, I brought my littlest boy (codename Cutie Snoo) into Worldbuilders the other day to see the team. While we were there, I found myself wondering what would happen if I introduced him to one of the … odder people that hangs around in our basement.
If you’ve been following the Worldbuilders blog, you know how it arrived and has been freaking everyone out several months. Including me. Because let me tell you, nothing is better than showing up at Worldbuilders at midnight, knowing I’ll be able to have the place to myself while I sign books for the Tinker’s Packs. And then, while I’m catching up on the Nightvale podcast, I wander back to get a fresh pen and see this out of the corner of my eye….
So yeah. It’s only natural that when I brought my not-yet-quite two year old toddler into the office, I proposed that we expose him to this tangible nightmare as a stretch goal for charity.
This is what happened.
If you want to see the other stretch goals as we unlock them, or see what’s coming in the future, you can take a peek at them on the Worldbuilders page.
Now, on to today’s prizes.
* * *
First and foremost we’ll start with the items going into the prize lottery. For every 10 dollars you kick in on our donation page you have a chance to win these items and many, many others.
Card Decks: Sets of Name of the Wind, Pairs, and Geek a Week Decks
There are 3 different Name of the Wind decks (Limited, Unlimited, and Magician’s Deck), 4 different Pairs decks (Commonwealth, Princess & Mr. Whiffle, Modegan, and Faen), and 3 different Geek-a-Week decks (Season 1, Season 5, and Season 5 Limited).
I’m putting 10 of each set in, so that’s 30 prizes into the GAMES part of the lottery.
A Set of Foreign Editions in the Language of Your Choice
My books have been published in 35 different languages, and I get between 5-10 “author copies” of each edition. More if the book goes into multiple printings.
And if you don’t want to leave it to chance, you can always buy some copies straight out of the The Tinker’s Packs, where all proceeds go to Worldbuilders.
Stuff in the Store
Speaking of the store, we have a lot of items in there you might not be aware of. And for the duration of the fundraiser, all the sales in the store count toward raising our donation totals and unlocking new stretch goals.
We have a lot of t-shirts. So many we don’t have enough staff to model them. Our Eolian hoodie, a onesie, and a scarf, all over in the Apparel section of the store.
There’s a lot of stuff that I wanted people to have a chance at winning, even though the items are bit more limited and rare. So for everything in this section, I’m putting one item up in an auction (for folks with more money, or who want a sure thing) and one going into the lottery (So everyone who donates gets a chance.)
Doodled Beta copy of Princess 2. A Matching Set of Numbered Princess 1 & 2. All signed by me and Nate Taylor.
These are all really rare.
When we were working on the second princess book, Nate would send me his newest illustrations, I’d get them printed and bound, then get feedback from friends. After that was done, I had a few left over, so Nate signed and doodled them. There’s one up for auctionright here, and one in the lottery.
We also have fancy numbered editions of the Princess books. They’re both numbered editions, leather bound, with beautiful signature pages signed by both me and Nate. We have two matching sets, so one is in the lottery, and the other is in an auctionhere.
Rare books: 1st Edition Name of the Wind. ARC copy of Unfettered.
Here you have it guys. I’ve had to start buying 1st editions off of people at signings to keep Worldbuilders stocked for things like this. One first edition/first printing of NOTW is going into the lottery, and the other is in an auction. We sold three of these for $2500 last summer, so I can only imagine what this will go for.
These ARCs of Unfettered are pretty rare too. The regular print run only had 5,000 copies, and there are only 250 of these ARCs. Here’s the link to the auction if you just can’t leave it to chance, otherwise one is in the lottery as well.
There are some things that are just too specialized to put into the lottery, so we’re auctioning these off to make sure they’re going to get into the right hands.
General Geekery: Limited Edition Boss Monster cards, Master Set of Cealdish Coins, and 300 Chip Poker Set.
We also have a 300-piece poker set from the Albino Dragon Kickstarter a while back. This contains 60 of each color chip, all three decks, plus some extras in in a lovely wooden case. The bidding starts here.
Next up is a Master Set of my Cealdish currency, made by the folks at Shire Post Mint. This even includes version 1.2 of the iron drab, which you can’t get any other way. We only made 94 of these, and they’ve been sold out since about 2 hours after we made them available.
Bookish Geekery: ARC of NOTW, ARC of WMF, Edited & Critiqued NOTW Text Scarf.
It’s getting harder to find ARC copies of The Name of the Wind, but we’ve got one up for auction. It’s one of the cool rarities where they didn’t print on the dust jacket image. Instead my editor, Betsy, wrote a note on the cover explaining why people should take a risk on this unknown author named Patrick Rothfuss.
There’s also a Wise Man’s Fear ARC looking for a new home, and if there’s a space for it on your shelf you can bid on it here. These are extremely rare (only 227 copies were ever printed), and all of them were numbered so that we’d know who had leaked their copy if one sold before the actual book release.
Those of you signed up for The Tinker’s Packs newsletter probably saw one of the new items launched last month, an infinity scarf printed with text from The Name of the Wind. I took the liberty of correcting some of the purpler prose on one of the scarves, and it’s going up for auction. This one is truly one-of-a-kind, because the team took my pen away before I could correct the rest of the scarves.
* * *
So there you go, folks. A bunch of signed and rare stuff in the Lottery, new items in the store, and unique items up for auction. A little bit of something for everybody.
If you read this blog (and I’m guessing most of you do) you know I tell a lot of stories about my older boy, Oot, who’s creeping up on 6.
I have another son, who’s a little over 18 months old. I don’t talk about him as much for the simple reason that when you’re that young, there aren’t as many stories to share. Babies are, to be completely honest, fairly useless. They can’t do much, either physically or conversationally.
But Cutie Snoo has been talking more lately. What’s more, he’s started saying “dada” again, after a few months of heartbreaking hiatus.
It’s a fascinating time in a kid’s development. He’s learning how to express himself, and if you’re good at interpreting, you can get a little window into how his charmingly unspoiled little baby mind works.
Tonight, I ended up having to do a fair amount of work (because that’s what Labor Day is all about, right? Working until 9:30 pm?) and as a result, I missed my kid’s bedtime. By the time I wrapped up the things that needed immidate attention and opened the door to my office, the house was dark and quiet.
Still, I crept into the room where they sleep with Sarah. It was dark and as I stepped close she said, “the end,” finishing what was no doubt their bedtime story.
“dada” Cutie said.
I crawled into the bed and lay next to him. It’s a big bed, but I still had to move carefully because he’s so tiny and it’s so dark.
I smooched him, and he squirmed around a little bit until he was nestled next to Sarah, then he said: “my mama.”
There’s only so much that text can do to replicate a baby’s speech. Most linguists agree that nonverbal communication (which includes things like tone, inflection, and body language) accounts for about 80% of the total information transmitted when we talk. But when you’re a baby and your entire sentence is two words, that number is pushed even higher.
Here’s part of what he was saying: “My mom is here.”
But he was also saying, “Look at me, cuddled up against my mom.”
But he was also saying, “Look, this is my space. There are boobs, like, right here, and they’re great, and that’s kinda my thing, and I’m going to sleep next to them. So just be clear, I’m glad you’re here, but don’t try to pull any shit with me. This is *my* mom. Okay? Okay.”
(In his defense, I do sometimes tease him by trying to steal the boobs from him while he’s nursing. So this is not an unfounded fear on his part.)
Last and not least, he was also saying, “Isn’t this great?”
It was clear as day what he meant. And now that I was closer to him and my eyes had adjusted a little, I could see him smiling. His tone was so contented that it was actually kinda smug. And his body language… he wasn’t just relaxed. He was deliberately and theatrically lounging.
It made me realize how awesome his life is. Think about it. How cool must it be to go to sleep next to the person you love without any reservation? The person who is, in effect, three quarters of the known universe? To know if you are hungry or need comfort or a cuddle, a boob is right there. Like, literally, right by your head. To know that you’re cared for. To know you’ll be taken care of. To not have any fears or worries that ride you into the night and make you wake up sweating?
What must that be like, to feel like that for days at a time?
I’m not going to lie. Thinking about it now, I’m more than slightly jealous.
But at the moment, I was jealous for a different reason. He’d said, “My mama” with such smugness and satisfaction, but he’s never said, “my dada.”
I should be better than that, I know. But I’m not. I’m not going to carry a grudge or anything, but still, I can be jealous.
“My baby,” I say, and I kiss his belly.
I say goodnight to him, and give more kisses, and promise that tomorrow I’ll try to spend more time with him.
“Bye,” he says. “Go. Go!” he pushes at me with his foot. This might sound like a dick move. But it was playful. Not mean. And there’s nothing wrong with letting someone know what you really want. If I was all geared up to snuggle with a boob as big as my head and someone was there who might ruin it for me… well… I’d kick them the hell out of my bed, too.
I get up and I say goodnight to Oot, too. (He’s on the other side of Sarah.)
Then I get up and start to leave. “Goodnight my family,” I say.
“My dada,” Cutie says, and I get all melty inside.
“My baby,” I say.
“He’s reaching up for you.” Sarah tells me, because she knows I can’t see him in the dim.
So I get down into the bed and kiss him again. A lot. On their deathbed, nobody ever says, “I wasted my life kissing babies.”
Still. Oot has school in the morning. I know I’m keeping them all from getting to sleep. So I get up.
“Mo,” Cutie says. This is one of his other few words: more.
“Mo dada,” he says. In the dark, I can see he’s reaching up again. “Mo my dada. Mo bebe dada. No bye dada bebe.”
I think it was Robert Bly who said vocabulary wasn’t important for a writer. He claimed you could write marvelous poetry even if you only knew 200 words, so long as you knew how to use them properly to get your point across…
Tonight, I was playing in the living room with my girlfriend (Sarah) my oldest son (codename Oot: age 5.5) and my youngest son (codename Cutie Snoo, age 1.5)
It wasn’t anything fancy. Nothing organized. I’d just come back from recording this week’s podcast with Max Temkin, and rather than head upstairs to do more e-mail, as I am wont to do, I decided to stay downstairs and play with the kids.
A large part of this is because my Cutie is at a magical age. 18 months is pretty awesome. After a bit of a hiatus, he’s saying da-da again, and it pulls at my heart.
Those of you without kids might have trouble understanding how enthusiastic an 18 month-old can be. Let me explain.
You know how excited a dog can get when you’ve been away for a couple hours? (Or let’s be honest, when you’ve just left the room for a couple minutes). At 18 months, my little boy has that level of enthusiasm. He runs up to me, his face all lit up, grinning, his legs doing that straight up-and-down stomping walk that’s the closest he can get to a run.
And all the time he’s saying “da-da-da-da-da-da!”
So yeah. It’s pretty fucking amazing. I’m not going to lie.
Anyway, I’m hanging out with my family, and Oot walks up to Sarah and says, “I’m so… thirsty! Can you please… get me… a drink of water?”
His performance makes it clear that he is about to die from thirst. People in the desert don’t have it this bad. He’s really going full Shatner in his performance.
Sarah starts to get up to get him a drink of water. She does this because she loves him.
“You know where the water is,” I say to Oot. “You can get yourself a drink. You’re a very grown-up child.”
I say this because I love him too. Sarah and exhibit our love in different ways. She wants him to be happy now. I want him to be happy in the future, and part of that is making sure he’s self-reliant.
Plus he’s five. If we were living in the wild, he’d be hunting and cooking birds on his own. So yeah. He can get his own drink of water.
But here’s the thing, it’s a little late at night. The kitchen is on the other side of the house. It’s a whole, like, 50 feet away. And it’s late in the evening, so that part of the house is kinda dim.
And he’s five, so he’s a little scared of being alone, and of the dark.
“Will you come with me?” he asks.
This is a familiar dance. We want him to do things for himself. He wants company. We want him to be brave. He wants to feel safe.
Nobody’s wrong here. We all want good things. But they’re in conflict.
“You can do it,” I say. “I know you can.” (Don’t get me wrong here. I’m not some muy mas macho monster. If it was fully dark in there, I’d work with him. But it’s not. He can handle it. He has before. It’s good practice for him.
“I’ll tell you a story,” Sarah says.
This is a compromise we use sometimes. If he hears our voices, he knows he’s not alone. So one of us will tell him a story, and it will help him go somewhere in the house when he’s a little spooked.
“I’ll tell you a story,” I say.
“I want mom to do it,” he says, moving toward the baby gate that leads into the dining room.
He’s on to me.
“Once there was a little boy who really liked candy,” Sarah says. “So he decided to go exploring.”
I’m going to be honest here, Sarah’s narrative structure isn’t the best. Her themes can be kinda muddy sometimes, and, truthfully, her stories are often really lacking in terms of the Aristotelian unities. But even so, I know she’s up for this. Two minutes of story will get Oot into the kitchen and back. I watch as he opens the gate then turns on the light to the dining room. Out of our line of sight. Out of his line of sight. He’s gone.
“So one day he walked out into the the backyard and he found–”
“A Thousand Angry Ghosts!” I say. I don’t yell it. But I say it in a really loud voice. My phantom of the opera voice. I project from my diaphragm.
And from the other room, comes a high, piercing scream. It lasts for a full two seconds.
Then Oot comes running back into the living room.
You’re going to have to trust me on this, it was *super* funny. Sarah will back me up on this.
You see, most days, I’m a good dad.
Other days, I’m an AWESOME dad.
Stay tuned, everyone. Soon we’ll have bedtime stories.
I was just laying in bed with Sarah and our youngest child. He’s just a little bit over one year old.
Codename: Cutie Snoo. (Because I don’t like using my kid’s real names online.)
I don’t know how it works in other households, but in ours, a lot of the day-to-day kid activities end up happening on the bed. Sarah has a huge king-sized mattress that just rests on the floor. Partly because she likes it that way, and partly because low-to-the ground beds are easier and safer for kids.
Anyway, I’m laying in bed with Cutie. I’d come in to hang play with him when I heard him wake up from his nap. A little later, mom joined us, because she has the boobs, and boobs make everything better.
Cutie was laying between us, nursing (on Sarah) while she and I were talking.
Then, unexpectedly, Cutie rolled over and pushed a little baby spoon he carries around with him at my mouth.
It surprised me. It bounced off my lip a little bit, and hit my teeth. It hurt just a little, about as much as it would if you poked me in the mouth with your fingernail. We’re talking… like… half a newton of force, tops. Not enough to crack an egg.
Still, it surprised me. And it hurt just a little.
So I looked at him, and I said, “Ow.”
Didn’t shout it, didn’t bark it. Didn’t even do my disappointed dad voice.
I mention this because over the years I’ve learned my voice is a powerful thing. Where my kids are concerned, I’m one of the Bene Gesserit. I’m the Kwisatz Paterach. I’m Black Bolt.
I’m not sure why this is, exactly. I’ve got a pretty good baritone, but it’s not earthshaking by itself. Maybe it’s the fact that I’ve been a teacher. That I’ve been a singer. That I was a performer who never really liked using a mic until the crowds started topping 100 people and I was forced to go electric.
Maybe it’s all of those things together. I don’t know.
What I do know is that I discovered early on in my parenting career that if I wasn’t careful with my voice, I would terrify my children. Once, back when he was about 16 months old, I barked Oot’s name at him from the top of a stairway and he went into fetal crouch, trembling with animal fear.
I felt like king asshole of the universe at the time. I still do. As a parent, you slowly build a portfolio of memories. Things your children will never remember, things that you will never forget.
Standing at the top of the stairs, looking down at my terrified boy, I thought to myself, “You need to get this shit under control right now, Rothfuss…”
So I did. Slowly. Over many years.
All of this is to say that I’m very careful with my voice these days. I don’t bark. I rarely even snap or get a little sharp in my tone. There’s no need, just a little disapproval in my voice is like iron to these tiny little faen creatures I have flitting around in my life.
So. Remember where we were? Bed. Cutie. Spoon.
I looked at him and said, “Ow.” Not because he hurt me, but because I want him to know that he *can* hurt someone. He needs to learn to be careful.
“Ow,” I said. Softly.
Hearing me, Cutie turned away, facing back toward mom.
“He was trying to give you a bite,” she explained to me.
I nodded, only understanding then what he’d been trying to do with the spoon. It’s a game I’d seen Cutie play with her, but he’d never done it with me before.
Looking down at him, Sarah’s face goes concerned, then she looks up at me. “He feels bad,” she says.
Then Cutie gave a little sob. It was tiny, but it was one of those deep ones. One of the ones that comes out of you in a lump: “Uh-huh.”
When you’re a parent, you learn the different types of crying. You learn to recognize the panicked cry of a baby that’s hurt. There’s the “I can’t believe you took that away from me” cry. There’s the “I’m tired and can’t hold my shit together” cry. There’s the rare, furious red-faced rage rage rage cry. There’s the “Where’s Mom?” cry.
This wasn’t any of those. It went, “Ah-huh” and it was nothing but sadness. One sob. Pause. Then another. Then he was really crying.
He felt bad. He was sad that he’d hurt me.
I read something somewhere that said children start to develop empathy when they’re 3 years old.
I’d like to officially go on the record as saying that is bullshit.
Cutie is 13 months old. He can speak about 10 words, and those he speaks badly. He can’t run, or jump, or eat with a spoon.
But he feels bad when he hurts someone. This is something some adults have yet to learn.
He’s is my boy. My sweet boy. I am so proud of him.
So this week begins the pure madness of my convention season.
Amanda and I did the math a few days ago and realized that between now and mid-September, I’m only home for 15 days. And those days are not all in a row.
First on the docket is…
San Diego Comic Con
I’ve made a habit of SDCC for years now, but this year I’m trying something a little different.
Because I hate being away from my family for large swaths of time, Sarah, Oot, and Cutie Snoo are coming with me to the con.
(The shirt was a gift. Honestly.)
Because I don’t normally travel with my kids, I think this would be a good time to establish some ground rules. Okay?
1. Being off-duty.
One of the main reasons I go to conventions is to see/hang out with/interact with my readers. I like meeting you guys.
That said, one of the *other* reasons I like going to conventions has nothing to do with you. It’s simply that I like going I like going to conventions. I like wandering the dealer’s room, looking at stuff, hanging out with my friends, and just being a geek.
Does that mean that I resent it when someone comes up to me in the dealer’s hall and asks for a picture or an autograph? No. Not really.
But you have to realize that sometimes I’m in a hurry to get somewhere. Sometimes I’m tired. Sometimes I haven’t eaten all day. Sometimes I’m enjoying the only free time I have available all day. Sometimes I’m just trying to get to the bathroom and you’re the third person to stop me in the hallway.
That means that if I beg off, and say, “No, I’m sorry, not right now.” You have to respect that.
I’m not saying you have to be delighted. I get that you might *really* have your heart set of getting a picture with me and the nearby statue of Sailor Moon. But it could be I’m late to a panel. It could be I only have 25 minutes to eat some food before I’ve got an interview. It could just be that I’m really, really weary and not feeling very social at the moment.
Let me put it this way. While at many points in the convention I am absolutely all-the-way there just for you. At other times I’m not. And if you hit me in one of those *not* times, I’m well within my rights to politely decline your request.
To simplify, when I’m at a convention, I exist in two possible states:
On Duty – Signing stuff. Doing panels. Taking pictures. Playing games.
Off Duty But Approachable – With the understanding that I might not be up for anything right now.
But now we have a third option, too: With My Family
If you see me at the convention and I’m carrying a baby, or pushing a stroller, or sharing an ice cream cone with my son that means I’m With My Family. During these times you should probably consider me extra-off duty.
Can we exchange companionable nods with one other? Sure. Can you offer up a geek solidarity fist bump? Absolutely.
But asking me to pose for a picture, sign a book, or explain the best way to get an agent? Not so much.
2. Don’t touch my kids.
I know. My children are fucking adorable. It’s like their mutant power.
And I know that wanting to touch kids is a totally normal mammalian response.
And I also know that a lot of you feel a connection with me, and with my kids. You’ve seen pictures of them. You’ve read stories about Cutie on facebook and seen the #OotSays hashtag on Twitter.
But seriously. Don’t touch them. I don’t know you. We don’t want them getting convention plague. And more likely than not, a stranger coming up and pawing at them is just going to freak them out.
And you *really* don’t want to see my grizzly bear type protective dad instincts kick in. You really don’t. Really. You don’t want to spend comic con in the hospital, and I don’t need the bad press.
So. Consider this fair warning. Tell your friends.
* * *
My San Diego Comic Con Schedule
Thursday, July 24
4-5pm Putting the Epic in Epic Fantasy Room: 25ABC
With Robin Hobb, Joe Abercrombie, Raymond E. Feist, Django Wexler, Morgan Rhodes, Sam Sykes, Moderated by Brent Weeks
5:30-6:30pm Signing table, AA09
Friday, July 25
1:30-2:30pm Playing Gloom with Geek and Sundry
JOLT ‘N JOES
379 4TH AVENUE, SAN DIEGO, CA 92101
Saturday, July 26
1-3pm Signing at Badali’s booth – #532
4:15-5:15pm Rulers of the Realm Final, Room 6A
With Joe Abercrombie, Diana Gabaldon, Lev Grossman, George R.R. Martin, and moderated by Ali T. Kokmen.
Then, I’ll be headed to Aviles to Celsius 232. From what I’ve heard, it’s a really cool con. What’s more, it has no badges or entrance fees, so anyone who is in the area can come see me.
Thursday, July 31
1:15 PM – 2:00 PM Adventures of the Princess Panel. Carpa de Actividades.
Conducted by Jorge Ivan Argiz.
2:00 PM – 2:45 PM Signing in the Carpa de Actividades.
Friday, August 1
10 AM – 12 PM Signing in the Carpa de Actividades.
6:15 PM -7:30 PM The Works of Patrick Rothfuss. Casa de la Cultura.
Conducted by Diego Garcia Cruz.
Saturday, August 2
10 AM t – 12 PM Signing in the Carpa de Actividades
6:15 PM -7:30 PM Three Different Approaches to Fantasy. Casa de la Cultura.
With Brandon Sanderson and Joe Abercrombie. Conducted by Cristina Macia and Jorge Ivan Argiz in the Casa de la Cultura