Category Archives: fanmail

175K Stretch Goal – Music with Vi Hart

When I started Worldbuilders, my main goal was getting people to donate books. I’ve always considered that the heart of the fundraiser, and I spent a lot of time approaching authors and publishers, trying to bring them onboard.

But these days that’s not a problem any more. We’ve got a lot of authors who send us stuff every year. We’ve got publishers and collectors and bookstores that send us hundreds of books. Signed stuff. Rare stuff. Out of print stuff.

If I had to guess, I’d say this year we’re going to be giving away more than 50 or 60 thousand dollars worth of books to people who donate on our Team Heifer page.

That means these days, our problem isn’t getting more books (though more books is always nice). These days the challenge is getting the word out to people. Letting them know Worldbuilders exists. That’s why this year, we’ve been bringing in some geek celebrities to do some stretch goals

But here’s the thing, I know a lot of cool bookish geeks, because that’s the world I live in. But I don’t know many music-type geeks. And as for the video/youtube geeks… I know barely any at all.

So I called up Paul and Storm to see if they’d be willing to put me in contact with some folks who might be willing to help us spread the word. They agreed, and named a few names like The Doubleclicks and Molly Lewis.

“Is there anyone else you have in mind?” they asked.

“Well…” I said. “I know you’ve worked with Vi Hart in the past. If you’d be willing to introduce us….”

And I’ll be honest here. This last one wasn’t very much about Worldbuilders at all. It was more about the fact that I’ve had a huge geeky crush on Vi Hart for years now. Ever since I saw some of her videos….

So was I viciously exploiting my charity with the hope of making a connection with her? Yeah. A little bit. I’m not proud of the fact, but I won’t deny it either. I can occasionally be kind of an awful person.

Luckily Paul and Storm don’t know this. So they send a gracious e-mail introducing me to Vi. They briefly explain who I am, and mention Worldbuilders….

As soon as I read their introduction, I begin to obsess about my response. I start to think about how to be appropriately complimentary without coming across as a deranged fan. I start planning the tone of the e-mail, agonizing over how I will attempt to be enthusiastic about the fundraiser without being boring or self-indulgent.

But most of all, I’m desperately trying to think of something I can say that will make me look cool to Vi Hart.

Then, before I manage to write a single sentence, I see Vi has already replied to Paul and Storm’s e-mail. I click on the message, and it says:

Pat,

The yellow edition of The Name of the Wind that I won in the lottery a couple Worldbuilders ago is right here on my desk. I may have heard of you.

Vi

And I just sit there, stupefied. I think, “Wait. She knows who I am?”

And then I think, “Wait. She knows about Worldbuilders, too? She already knows about Worldbuilders and *donated* in the past? And won something?”

Then I think. “Hold on. Did she actually maybe just reference my book in her e-mail to me?”

And I am suddenly filled with a warm, glowy joy.

We’ve had several conversations since then, both on the phone and over e-mail. She is every bit as sharp and fun as I’d imagined. Simply said, even the few too-brief conversations I’ve had with her have changed the way I think about certain things. Which is about the nicest thing I can think to say about anyone.

To cut to the end of the story, Vi and I have decided to be bestest forever friends.

*     *     *

In the course of talking about stretch goal stuff, I mentioned to Vi that I had some lyrics lying around from the book. Songs that weren’t really songs, so to speak. Because a song without words is still music. But a song without music is just irritatingly formatted text.

I’d written the lyrics for Knackerman Knackerman a decade ago. It was kind of a round. Kind of dark with some layered meanings. I’d always thought of it as a duet for two female voices, and I remember the lyrics being pretty cool. Would she be interested in turning one of those into, y’know…. music?

She would.

So I went digging through my archives. And I found the lyrics. I remembered them being cool. They weren’t cool.

I e-mailed Vi and said I didn’t know if I’d be able to find them. Would she maybe be interested in taking a crack at Tinker Tanner?

She said she’d wait. She really liked the idea of Knackerman.

I e-mailed back and explained that I’d found the lyrics, but they weren’t any good. That they were, in fact, quite bad.

She said she’d still like to see them.

I explained I was afraid to send her these lyrics. I worried that they might make her lose respect for me. I worried that the lyrics might actually make her dumber. They might, in fact kill a piece of her brain. Maybe an important piece. Like the piece that stores the memory of fluffy kittens or the ability to taste pie.

She reminded me that we were best friends now, that it was okay.

I tidied up the lyrics a bit and sent them. I apologized for the fact that I shifted verse forms and pointed out the meter was uneven. I told her I was sorry for recklessly endangering her future ability to enjoy kittens and pie.

She replied:

Oh Rothfriend you lovely creature you don’t understand, this is a DUET, for two female voices, and it is a song, and songs that people sing do things, they grow their own special lumps and become unique, and what a lovely creature to wake up next to. Sometimes when I read a poem I can simply hear it in my head (I think I got this skill reading fantasy books. Hooray Tolkien!) and, well, ok, I’m just going to make a very quick recording so you get why the verse form isn’t a problem and then you can make edits if you want.

And the e-mail had an attachment. It was a song. She’d just… y’know… Done it.

And I thought. What the hell? What the serious hell?

About a year ago, I did a really bad magic trick for my 3 year old son. I used slight of hand and misdirection so clumsy that it would have made Pen and Teller weep tears of blood.

But it was enough to fool my son, and when he saw that I had made three blueberries disappear, he looked up at me with unalloyed awe in his expression. He looked at me and said, “Dad, you are quite a wizard!”

That’s how I felt just then, as I opened the e-mail and listened to the song. I felt awe and confusion and an almost holy fear. What sort of person can do this? I thought. Who can just look at some words and then make music out of them? Who does that?

My new best friend, Vi Hart, that’s who.

We talked more, and it changed my understanding of music. And I tweaked the lyrics again, because I’m me.

And here we are.

Thanks so much, Vi. I can’t say that big enough or loud enough.

Your new bestie,

pat

*     *     *

Please remember that these stretch goals are designed to promote Worldbuilders.

If you liked this awesome thing, please consider donating on our Heifer International Team Page. The more money we raise, the more cool things we do.

For more details about Worldbuilders, including a list of our past and future stretch goals, you can head on over here.

Also posted in geeking out, meeting famous people, music, Oot, Worldbuilders 2013 | By Pat42 Responses

Concerning Fanmail #3

So a couple months ago, I unlocked another achievement in the great sandbox videogame that is my life.

Specifically, I hit 10,000 pieces of fanmail.

fanmail_10kWhile I occasionally answer questions people send me, or post quotes from letters up on facebook, I haven’t actually written anything about fanmail itself since…

*Pat goes to check the archives*

Wow. Since five years ago. I did two blogs back then. One talking about fanmail in general. And another giving some memorable quotes.

Back in October of 2008, I’d just hit 1500 pieces of fanmail. I was pretty sure it was impossible to get any more mail than that.

Back then, I made a point of answering every piece of fanmail. It’s something I put a lot of effort into, and a lot of time. It was really important to me…

Fast forward to today.

For those of you that are into the specifics, I should clarify that this 10,000 mark is kinda arbitrary. I’m only counting messages that come to me through my website’s contact form. (Right now, because it’s taken me a couple months to write this blog, that total is standing at closer to 12,000 messages.)

That total doesn’t count people who e-mail me multiple times. Folks that contact me through other channels, or messages sent to me through facebook, goodreads, or good old-fashioned paper letters.

20131010_141249[1]

Here’s several hundred RL letters that have been sent over the years. I don’t know if it’s weird for me to keep them, but throwing them away seems unspeakable awful.

I’m guessing that if I totaled up all these varied instances of epistolary perspicacity, it would be somewhere closer to 20,000 pieces of mail.

Back in 2008, I wrote:

Fanmail is great. There have been occasional exceptions to this, like the guy who sent me a message saying that he hoped a dog would bite me on the nuts. But even that made me laugh.

This is still true today. The vast majority of fanmail I get is friendly, witty, touching, or funny. People send me useful info. People tell me stories of how my book has impacted their lives.

Here’s one I got a while back:

Your books have given me a way of communicating with a teenage son who has now metamorphosed from a complete alien to a fine young man.

As a dad myself, I can hardly think of a nicer thing to hear.

Unless it’s something like this:

I would forever live with a small piece of my heart unfulfilled had I not met Kvothe.

I have hundreds of these little snippets from messages my readers have sent me. I hoard them like treasure. Sometimes the best part of my day is a short message someone has sent me. Sometimes it’s a 15 year old girl from Brazil. Sometimes it’s a 70 year old grandmother in Virginia.

But I won’t lie to you. It’s not all good…

*      *      *

Here’s the thing. I used to respond to every piece of fanmail. Even if it was just a brief note. Even if it took me months to get the message out.

Not responding never really occurred to me at first. After all, a lot of these people had written elaborate letters, or said really touching things. Not responding would have felt unspeakably rude….

But eventually I had to give it up. If the reason isn’t obvious, here’s a visual aid to drive the point home….

email-screenshot

That’s a screen capture from my sent items folder back in 2008. If you embiggen it, it paints a grim picture of what my day was like.

So I stopped replying to everyone. It was a slow decline. At first I still replied to most of them. Then half. Then maybe a third. These days it’s dwindled to about one in ten, and even those replies are usually brief.

But the truth is, I never decided to cut back. It’s nothing I ever wanted or deliberately chose to do. It’s something I was forced into because there simply weren’t enough hours in the day. And honestly, I still feel guilty about it.

My one consolation was that I still make a point of reading all my fanmail. On facebook. On goodreads. I read it all.

Well, that’s not entirely true. Sometimes I would get a 4000 word message. Those I skim.

But I’m guessing that the math-savvy among you can see the problem looming, can’t you?

Let’s say I can read each message in just one minute. One minute x 20,000 e-mails ends up being well over 300 hours.

That means just to read that many messages takes me two months of full-time work. That’s assuming every day I did nothing but read e-mail for 8 hours.

That doesn’t count the time it might take me to occasionally respond to a message. Or reading the messages that are more than just 60-70 words long. Many of them are 200-300 words. About as much text as page in a paperback novel.

A more realistic estimate would probably be that it takes me 2-3 minutes on average to read a message.

That means that since 2007, I’ve spent between four and six months of full-time work reading messages people have sent me.

God. I’ve honestly never done that math before. I knew it was a huge chunk of time, but not that much. That’s fucking horrifying.

Because that doesn’t take into account me *replying* to messages or actually taking care of the rest of my daily e-mail. And I get a shit-ton of that, too.

I guess it does make me feel a little better about this though:

outlook screen grab

(Yes. I use an archaic e-mail program. Don’t judge me.)

Let’s ignore the 100+ regular unread messages. And the flashing danger light that is more than 100 unread messages deliberately tucked into a folder called “Important.”

Circled in red, you can see that I’ve got more than 300 unread pieces of reader mail. I’m terribly behind.

And that’s not counting Goodreads:

Good Reads

There’s 80 unread messages piled up there.

My facebook fan page has another 250….

messages tab FB

And that’s *despite* the fact that I’ve pointedly mentioned that it’s a bad place to contact me.

I’d also like to point out that these aren’t a year’s worth of messages. It’s just these last couple months where things have really started to spiral out of my control…

Here’s the worst of it:

photo-6

The stack of unread letters. 50 or 60 of them from all over the world. Probably half a year’s worth. People WROTE these on real paper. They paid money to mail them to me. These are tangible acts of affection, and I’ve been too busy to give them the time they deserve.

And I feel awful about it. All the time.

I was keeping up pretty well until a couple months ago. I jump in occasionally and prune the online messages back…. but it’s like kudzu…

No. That’s not right. Because I’ll say it again, the vast majority of these messages are friendly, or heartwarming, or delightfully eccentric.

Dear Pat,

I admitted to my boyfriend that his only real competition is Kvothe only to have him admit that my only real competition is Kvothe too. I’m simultaneously flattered that only Kvothe can outshine me and impressed that my boyfriend’s sexuality is now under question due to a couple of words you put together.

Though occasionally there are other types of messages….

But I don’t know if I want to get into that. I don’t know if y’all would be interested in hearing about the other kind of messages people send.

On to my point–

Creft. What is my point here? I don’t know anymore. When I started writing this blog hours ago, I really didn’t expect it to get as long as this.

I think these are my points:

1. Part of this is just bitching a little. I’ll cop to that.

And while I’m well aware that it’s hard to get more first-world-problem than: “Oh noes! I have too many fanmails!” the truth is that this *is* my blog. I’m allowed to kvetch a little if I want.

2. Much more than that, this is a blanket explanation and apology to everyone who has e-mailed me and never received a reply.

I am sorry. I wish I had all the time in the world so I could e-mail you back and thank you for taking the time to drop me a line. I wish we could all have lunch together and hang out and talk about fun, useless bullshit all afternoon.

3. I want y’all to know that even if I haven’t replied, I have read your e-mail, your message, your letter, your postcard, your engraved clay tablet, your origami crane, your smoke signal, your telepathic space beam.

I have these missives and appreciated them. They have made me smile and they have made me weepy. They have made me feel proud, and loved, and very, very lucky.

That said, things will have to change soon. I’m not sure *how* they will change, but I need to find a way to keep more time for myself while not feeling hellishly guilty about being selfish for keeping time to myself. This is a hard thing for me.

Until I say otherwise, know that I’m still reading your messages.

Eventually.

Fondly,

pat

Also posted in a few words you're probably going to have to look up, Achievement Unlocked!, Surreal enthusiasm, Things I didn't know about publishing, things I shouldn't talk about | By Pat94 Responses

Fanmail: Apocalypse Wow

Mr. Rothfuss,

Last night I had the most kick-ass dream that I was living through the zombie apocalypse. In my dream, I saved Oot from zombies and brought him back to my house. Since it was the apocalypse, and night was coming, I was prepared to look after him indefinitely.

But just as the sun was setting, you knocked on my door. You had run across several states (in a mere evening), and you were shaggy, but gloriously so. You imperiously held out your hand, I returned Oot to you, and then you turned around and the two of you marched off into the sunset. The experience of being in your presence left me invincible against zombies for several days.

Needless to say, I was rather angry when I was woken up.

On a different note, if I were actually living through a zombie apocalypse, your books would be in my survival kit.

That is all,

Audrey

*     *     *

My name is Patrick Rothfuss, and I approve this message.

through dangers untold and hardships unnumbered....

P.S. Thanks for taking care of Oot for me.

That is all,

pat

Also posted in dreams, I Am Your Spirit Animal, Nathan Taylor Art | By Pat36 Responses

Warm Fuzzies

Today we’re going to take a little break from the day-to-day business of Worldbuilders. We’ve had a busy couple weeks here.

We’ve still got a few auctions going on that you might want to take a peek at. But we won’t be launching any new ones until January. Worldbuilders runs until January 18th, so we still have plenty of time.

We’re not pausing the fundraiser so much as we’re slowing it down a bit. This is a busy time for everyone, and we don’t want to have to compete for your attention. This time of year folks are traveling and hosting. There are parties and winter blizzards. Plus a lot of folks are dealing with post-traumatic stress now that finals are over.

I’m talking about my fellow teachers, of course.

So today I’m just going to share some e-mails that have made me smile over the last couple weeks.

Pat,

Merry Christmas from Dubai! I just wanted to say hello, and let you know that what you are doing for Worldbuilders is amazing and inspirational. Given all the depressing news as of late, your efforts, and those of everyone involved, have been a real pick-me-up this season.

Brett

I hear you Brett. Every year Worldbuilders renews my faith in humanity a little. It also reminds me how delightfully generous the geek community can be. It’s nice to be reminded of how many cool people are out there, willing to give a little to make the world a better place.

Let’s have a picture while we’re at it. If we’re handing out warm fuzzies, there’s no sense being stingy…

(Pow. There you go. Right in the feels.)

This is what it’s all about folks. A dad being able to give milk to his little girl. That’s what we’re doing.

Huzzah.

*      *      *

A lot of times people write me to tell me of the experiences they’ve had with Worldbuilders. This e-mail was particularly interesting….

Heya Pat,

I just wanted to drop you a line and let you know about a way that your fundraiser has had an impact on the world other than in the obvious ways….

This holiday season, I’ve told my family that instead of gifts, I’d much rather they donated to Worldbuilders on my behalf. So I’ve found myself explaining what Worldbuilders is, and, by extension, what Heifer International does.

And you know what? Everyone loves it. My tree-hugging hippie relatives love it because it’s eco-savvy, sustainable, and helps people in need. My straight-laced conservative relatives like it because it encourages hard work and self-reliance. It doesn’t hurt that donations are tax deductible too…

Over the holidays, it’s been really nice to have something that we all can agree on, no matter what our particular political affiliations might be. That’s rare these days.

J.

 Some the conversions take a little longer than others, though….

Last night my husband and I were going over our list of people we still need to buy stuff for…

Him: Crap! We still need to get gifts for your whole family!
Me: No we don’t. I decided to donate to Heifer International in their name. I got them a goat.
Him: Wait, what? A goat?
Me: Yes, well they don’t actually get a goat. I donated a goat in their name.
Him: So you got them a goat that you aren’t going to to give them?
Me: (exasperated) Yes, it goes to a family in need!
Him: Can we not get a goat for my brother too? I feel he deserves to not get a goat for Christmas.
Me: I think you are missing the point…

 But unsurprisingly, my favorite stories are how parents and kids end up participating in the fundraiser together….

Yo Pat,

I know that this time a year, more than any, you’re SUPER busy with Worldbuilders and other such Pat-y (?) things. Like writing. Or staring at the fantasy pin-up calendar. Whatever.

I had to write you ESPECIALLY at this time of year, though. To thank you for creating Worldbuilders. Sure, sure.. there are tons of other charities out there and, even if you hadn’t created this awesome thing, I could feel good about spending my money in a few other equally kick-ass places. But being able to set my daughter on my lap and show her that we can give a flock of chicks or a goat to a family in need somewhere else has been priceless.

That daughter is 12 now. And donating to Worldbuilders this time a year has become a tradition. The kid makes it her Christmas present to the grandparents by donating in their name. Dude. So thank you. For creating a space that gives me the opportunity to teach my kid what giving really means. What compassion truly is. And, HELLO – for mom to have a chance at winning some pretty kickass geek-swag, too.

Salude

The swag is a pretty sweet bonus in the deal. I’ve actually kicked in $120 bucks on the team page (enough for a goat) hoping I might win some of the books we’ve got up for grabs this year.

We also have a video that someone created to help promote Worldbuilders. If the style looks familiar, it’s probably because you’ve seen his work on Sword and Laser.

Isn’t that the best? I think I’m going to send him a little something in the mail…

Last but not least, I’d like to take a moment to thank you all for the help you’ve given to Worldbuilders so far.

Thank you.

Authors: thanks for sending in books, to say nothing you who also donate your time and talent, too.

Readers: thanks for donating on our Team Heifer Page, thanks for buying stuff from the Tinkers Packs, and bidding on our auctions.

Thanks for spreading the word to your family and friends. Thanks for blogging and tweeting about us. Thanks for writing stories for your local papers.

Thanks for letting our sponsors know that you appreciate their donations. Without them, Worldbuilders wouldn’t amount to much.

I’ll stop there.

If you happen to have a warm-fuzzy worldbuilders story of your own, feel free to share it in the comments below. This is the perfect time for it. Tis the season, and all of that…

Fondly,

pat

Also posted in videos, Warm Fuzzies, Worldbuilders 2012 | By Pat28 Responses

Rothfuss and Brooks: Part IV

Here’s the final installment of the mutual interview I did with Terry Brooks. If you’d like to start at the beginning, here’s Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

And now, without further ado, Part 4….

*     *     *

Pat: What’s your revision process like? How many drafts do you go through?

Terry: I outline pretty thoroughly before I put pen to paper.  I don’t write anything until I have it all pretty clear in my head, then I do the outline, and then I do the book.  This doesn’t mean there won’t be changes, some of them extensive.  But it is my blueprint for the book’s foundation and support timbers.  I can pretty much rely on it to see me through.  That said, nothing tells you more about your book than the writing of it.  So I pay attention to newer, fresher ideas that crop up as I write.  I listen to my instincts.

But here’s the good part.  With this method, I only write one draft.

Pat: Boy. I think I’d hate to outline everything. But I have to admit, I’m really jealous of a one-draft model. I end up doing somewhere between 50 and 300 drafts, depending on how you want to count them.

Hopefully I’ll manage to streamline that a bit as I gain more experience. I’m the first to admit my way isn’t very efficient. I end up going back and forth a lot. Once or twice I’ve gone back and realized the best thing for the book was to hatchet out an entire chapter.

What’s the biggest cut you’ve ever made to a manuscript?

Terry: I did a lot of cutting when I was learning the craft under Lester.  Lots of pages went by the board.  But along the way, I’ve learned a few things.  So I haven’t had to cut anything much in a long time.  I should add, though, that I decided a while back to curtail the length of my books.  I am an advocate of less is more these days.  I use fewer words and actively look for ways to cut bits and pieces as I write.  I was feeling wordy about my books about 15 years ago, and that was the end of big books for me.

Pat: Strange as it might seem, that’s actually my philosophy too. I really believe in less is more. And yes, I know how ridiculous that sounds coming from someone who just wrote a 400,000 word book. Believe me, it would have been much longer if I wasn’t constantly riding my own brake.

Terry:  I think you will do more of this the more you write and the older you get.  This isn’t meant to be a warning.  I just think that you learn how to say more with less (that less is more thing again) as time passes and writing skills improve.  You change because that’s in the nature of who we are as writers.

Pat: Roughly speaking, how many copies of your own books would you guess you have in your house?

Terry: I don’t know how many of my books I’ve got in my house, but I’ve got thousands in my book storage rooms, and about half of them are European paperbacks!!  Those guys insist on sending out dozens of author copies every time there is a new print run.  If you put them altogether I think you would find I have somewhere around 20,000 on hand.  Anyone need a foreign edition?  Croatian, Thai, Hebrew or Inuit?

How about Martian?

Pat: The foreign editions really do pile up after a while. And I’ve only got the two books. I can’t imagine what it’s like for you, so many different editions of so many books. There’s really only so much you can do with them, too. One to the library. One to a friend who wants to brush up on his Estonian, then the rest of them sit on a shelf…

Terry: Do you see yourself writing fantasy twenty years from now?  Or do you think you might go off and write something else entirely?

Pat: I don’t think I’ll ever stray very far from fantasy. Not only is it what I love best, but there’s so much room to write any sort of story you want.

Terry: That’s pretty much my thinking, too.  I’m writing what exactly what I want to.

Pat: Rumor has it that Edith Sitwell used to lie in an open coffin for a while before she began her day’s writing. Do you have any little rituals that help you write?

Terry: I’m kind of like Monk.  Very anal.  I have my writing space and I never write anywhere else.  I have my stuff all carefully arranged, and I don’t like it if something gets moved.  I have several recourses that I can turn to when I am stumped or bothered about a piece of writing to remove the so-called block.  I always write in silence.  No sounds, no music, no interruptions.  This is all weird, but it beats lying in a coffin!

Pat: We’re birds of a feather there. I’m not orderly or neat. But I do have my writing space. Nobody is allowed in there, with a few rare exceptions.

And I’m with you. Silence. No interruptions. I can’t understand how some folks write with music playing. I know it’s an issue of different strokes for different folks, but writing with music on strikes me as being profoundly counter-intuitive. Unnatural even.

Pat: The internet has really changed the face of fandom in the last ten years. Has it had much of an effect on the way you interact with your fans?

Terry: When I started out, there was no internet, of course.  My connection with fans was all by snail mail and personal appearances.  I’ve never been good about mail, but I loved going out and meeting readers.  I did it every year, sometimes for as many as 5 or 6 weeks a year, here and abroad.  Can’t do that anymore because my energy level and tolerance for airport security won’t allow for it.  Now I do maybe 2 or 3 weeks a year.  But the personal connections, face to face, always mean more.

On the other hand, the internet allows for instant communication, and a different kind of closeness between writer and reader.  Before, there was no central venue for communicating with readers.  It was all done one on one.  If you were doing a tour, you could send out fliers or the stores could print and distribute them.  You could rely on word of mouth, but you didn’t have video or audio mass distribution available that didn’t cost an arm or a leg.  The internet changed all that.  About ten years ago, I went out on tour and asked at every stop how many people were there because they had read about it on the website.  Web Druid Shawn asked me to take this survey.  The response was eye opening.  More than 80% were there because they had read about it on the site.

How about you, coming in later on when the internet was already the established form of communication? I know you blog regularly.

Pat: Yeah. I have a lot of fun interacting with my readers online. I’ve met a lot of cool people that way. It can be very rewarding….

But part of me also thinks that it would be nice to be able to go back to writing in a vacuum, like I did before I was published. I get about 10-15 e-mails a day from readers. That’s not counting print letters, or Facebook, or Goodreads. It can get a little overwhelming.

As for the blogging, I do that almost as a defensive measure. I know I can’t write a detailed letter back to every one of my fans that contacts me, but I can write something that anyone can show up to read. I use it to tell little stories out of my life and answer questions. I’ve run a contest or two. We’ve sold some t-shirts at our online store, The Tinker’s Packs, to support my charity.

I mostly goof around, in all honesty. But in between the goofing around, I keep people filled in about events and new projects.

Plus it gives me a venue to do the occasional interview with another cool author….

Terry: I like your thinking about using the blogs to answer questions for a general audience when it is virtually impossible to answer individual letters.  I used to do that by snail mail before the internet, but I can’t manage it anymore.

Pat: It works out pretty well. It lets people know that you care. Plus you get to be helpful without having to spend three days of the week doing nothing but correspondence.

Terry: Hey, Patrick, this has been a lot of fun.  I love finding out how other writers manage their lives, why they choose to write what they do, and what makes them tick.  Especially writers I admire.  Thanks for taking time to do this.

Pat: The pleasure has been all mine, Terry. This has been such a thrill.

*     *     *

There you go folks, share and enjoy….

pat

 

Also posted in Interviews, Me Interviewing Other Folks, meeting famous people, Revision, the craft of writing | By Pat22 Responses

Fanmail and Hummus

I have just now managed to get through the last of my e-mail backlog that built up while I was on tour. Who ever knew that it would take so long to work my way through a mere 2000 messages.

Next on my list is going through the 600 or so pieces of fanmail that have built up while I was gone. These are mostly e-mail too, though I do have a couple dozen old-fashioned envelopey messages too.

I used to respond personally to every message. But those days are long gone. I just don’t have the time anymore. But I do read them all. I don’t have anyone filter or pre-sort them for me.

On the home front, I’m having a good time hanging out with my baby. Little Oot is 18 months now, and he’s picking up words like crazy. When I came home on the 7th, after a week of touring, I found out that he had learned how to say “Monkey.” I was impressed, but also kinda sad that I hadn’t been the one to teach him this word. Because… y’know… monkey.

I’d been home for about 10 minutes when Sarah said, “What did we eat for the first time today?”

Oot gave her a look that wasn’t exactly blank, but let her know that he needed a little more help.

Did we eat hummus?” Sarah prompted.

“Hummus,” Oot said. He said the word with a particular intensity. It wasn’t: “Hummus!” Not an exclamation. But it really wasn’t just “hummus,” either. It said it with emphasis. “Hummus.

He pronounced it “haahmis.” With a tiny bit of a lisp on the s. It was, quite possibly, the cutest thing I’d ever heard.

“Haahmis….” he said again. “Haahmis.” A two-second pause. “Haahmis.” Another pause. “Hummus nummus,” he said. Expressing the opinion that hummus was, in fact, delicious. (Yummy = Nummy. Nummy ~ Nummus.)

I quickly had to revise my cuteness scale. “Hummus Nummus” was now top of the cuteness chart.

He then proceeded to say nothing but “hummus” for the next ten minutes.

And you know what? It never stopped being cute. Why? Because my baby is fucking adorable.

(Click to encutenate.)

In other news, (for those of you who have been asking) I’ve made my first tentative steps into playing Dragon Age II. I’ve only played 6-7 hours or so, and thus far my feelings are mixed.

More soon, including news of a few more signings, and stories from the tour.

pat

Also posted in Interviews, Oot, Sarah | By Pat73 Responses

“And beside her came Andan…”

Back back in March, I got the following E-mail:

Dear Pat

I’m having my first baby boy with my wife (due date April 13). The only boy name I have found that we both like is “Andan”, found on page 188 of The Name Of The Wind.

I just really wanted to know if you remember where or how you came up with that name, and what you had in mind using it. I mean, the story reads that his name meant anger, but if you had any more information it would without a doubt be the single kindest thing anyone has done for me for a long time (in other words much appreciation:)

Although I have searched endlessly, I just can’t seem to find any good information on the name… which I really like for my baby… but am apprehensive using it as I really don”t know where it came from.

Anyway, if you got to read this I thank you so much for your valuable time. Here’s to Kvothe and his story… let more people find his tale and experience wonder. Seriously, though — Thank You.

-Jordan & Melissa

I was flattered, of course. And I dropped them the following note in return:

Jordan,

I wish I could help you more, but it’s hard for me to remember with that particular name.

You see, sometimes I make up a name and say it means something. And other times I take an old word and twist it a little and turn it into a name. And sometimes I take an old name and use it…

Unfortunately, that part of the book was written so long ago that I can’t rightly remember which it was. But I expect that I might have made the name up entirely….

Best of luck with the new baby, and if you do decide to name him Andan, drop me a picture of him. That’ll be a first for me, someone named out of the book…

Fondly,

pat

And that was that. I knew it wasn’t really a satisfying answer, but it was the only one I had. I didn’t hear anything back from them, which isn’t particularly odd. And I assumed that using the name had pretty much been a passing fancy on their part.

Then, just a couple days ago, I got the following message:

(Slightly edited for privacy’s sake)

Pat,

I emailed you awhile back about the name Andan in your book. You were gracious enough to provide with a prompt response, and I feel horrible that it’s taken so long to get back to you…. but we did have a BOY!

His name is Andan. I’m so glad that you wrote that name in your book one time b/c we simply love it for our boy, and it is just perfect.

Anyway, I wanted to get a few pictures of our son Andan to you as I said I would… and I’m a man of my word, pretty much, mostly, yeah… we’ll go with man of my word.

-Jordan

So, with no further ado, I would like to introduce everyone to Andan.

You have to admit, this is one seriously cute baby. He looks like one of the podlings from the Dark Crystal. I mean that in the best possible way.


At this point I’m tempted to say something witty, or pithy, or glib. But honestly, I can’t think of a thing. All I can do is think about how very strange my life has become in the last couple years.

My best to you, little Andan. Your face doesn’t look like a mask with burning eyes at all. It’s my sincerest wish that you someday meet a sweet girl named Ordal and form a good relationship built on the common experience of having some seriously cool geeky parents.

Jealous of little Andan? Wish your name was in one of my books? Well wish no longer…

You! That’s right, YOU have a chance to donate to a great charity AND get your name in my next book. Wow. I know. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. But remember, the raffle only lasts until November 15th.

Details, as always, are over here.

Later space cowboys,

pat

Also posted in cool things, fan coolness, naming | By Pat66 Responses
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