Over the years, I’ve been described as the next Tolkien, the next Scott Lynch, the next George Martin…. And while it’s flattering, I’d really rather be the first Pat Rothfuss. I have much more experience being that.
Now that I post up these three links, I realize they’re all lists of some sort. Which makes me feel kinda awful. My only saving grace is that I didn’t find these by clicking through horrible clickbait websites. (You’ll never believe what these authors did! Number 5 will surprise you!)
Speaking of, have you seen The Onion’s new parody site? Clickhole?
I laughed my ass off at the original episode, but the game was edited down considerably to get it to be 35 minutes long.
If you were ever curious to see how the whole thing played out in detail. If you ever wanted more owlbear jokes. If you ever wanted to watch my terrifying strategy unfold like a delicate flower made entirely of razor wire and the screams of angels….
As some of you have already seen, I was a guest on Wil Wheaton’s Tabletop a while back.
We played Lords of Waterdeep, and I had a great time.
To be completely honest with you, I wasn’t planning on watching the episode. After all, I was there. I know how the game played out. I bought the proverbial t-shirt.
But I wanted to hear Wil’s introduction to the game, so I started watching it.
And then I started laughing.
And then I kept watching it, and I kept laughing.
The truth is, I’d forgotten a lot of what had happened in the game. What’s more, they did an *amazing* job of editing it together.
And most importantly, Wil, Felicia, and Brandon were a fun group to play with. I love hanging out with quick-witted sharp-tongued people.
I ended up watching the whole thing eventually.
Here’s the episode if you’re interested….
My very favorite part was at the end when I screw up my cue….
Alternately, if watching cool, awesome, funny things isn’t really your bag. Here’s a little interview I did after the show. I talk about how I feel about board games and tell a cute story about my little boy, Oot.
The next day y’all stomped in to the tune of about 70,000 dollars, blowing past that goal and every other stretch goal we’d planned out.
In celebration, Shane drew a picture of me as a sort of great Krakken-bearded beast.
Because everyone loved it so much, we made the art available as magnet and t-shirt add-ons.
We currently stand at 440,000 dollars. Almost three times the previous record. The video of me singing will be forthcoming.
I added 100 more jots to the kickstarter, doubling the previous levels.
I mention this early in the blog so those you can hopefully go and grab some before they’re all gone again.
Here’s a picture of the finished product, complete with the maker’s mark. Rest assured, more jots will be available in the future. Both in the Tinker’s Packs, and as a Worldbuilders fundraiser toward the end of the year.
Better Gaff Cards
Here’s the thing: all poker decks come with 2 gaff cards. They’re pretty useless. They usually have the rules for poker or some advertizement.
Shane and I came up with the idea of replacing them with something cool. We set stretch goals, then burned right through them….
So now we’re having:
1. A Lorren Gaff card that people can use as a bookmark. (Image forthcoming.)
2. A Willem Gaff card that you can use as a replacement card in your deck in case one of the cards is damaged.
All the Limited and Unlimited decks will have these Gaff cards included free.
We do this because we love you.
Signed Lorren Bookplates
Using the Lorren card art, Shane is going to make me a bookplate. My very first bookplate ever.
There’s only two ways of getting this bookplate.
1. You can add one to your order for five bucks. (Up to three.)
2. You get one for free if your order is $135 or more.
That’s it. Those are the only two ways to get them.
Would I love to include these bookplates with every order? Yes. But as it is, please understand that I’m going to be signing, like, 3000 of them. If I gave one away with every order, I’d be signing them for *days.*
That said, we have a stretch goal set at 450K. If we hit that, I’ll give one to everyone who buys in for 100 bucks or more.
Or, as I like to think of it, the Taborlin deck.
I’ve always wanted a deck of marked cards. So I asked Shane if we could do one. And he said yes. And so we are…
You can add a marked deck to any Kickstarter pledge for 15 bucks. And they have a different back from the others.
(I love the imagery here.)
Now here’s the thing: am I creating a deck of cards for cheaters?
No. I’m making a marked deck of cards. Because I think it’s cool.
Now you could use this deck of cards for evil if you wanted. But that’s your choice. You can use a screwdriver to kill someone if you wanted. That’s not necessarily what a screwdriver is for.
I like to think of this as the Taborlin deck because it will be *awesome* for card tricks.
Also, I’d get together with my friends and have a night of poker where everyone *tries* to cheat. Where it is effectively, *fair* to cheat. We would also probably drink whiskey and pretend to be cowboys of some sort.
Because I am seven years old inside, apparently.
In this deck, the gaff cards won’t be Wil and Lorren. They’ll contain the details of the marked-card cypher.
International shipping on the poker sets
Because several of you asked for this in the comments, we’ve added that as a special donation tier. (The rest of you can add the box sets as a simple add-on.)
The international shipping is expensive, but that’s because those high-quality clay chips are *heavy* and we’re going to be packaging them very, very carefully.
Guest appearances by Neil Gaiman and Felicia Day
Neil and Felicia graciously allowed us to use their likenesses for our two jokers: Elodin and Auri.
We listed these as stretch goals and met them less than a day later.
Reactions were divided. Some people made a vast ululating *squee* noise. Others said something along the lines of, “Boo! I want to see the *real* Auri and Elodin!”
So I just want to clarify things. We aren’t just going to draw Gaiman as Elodin, as if he were doing some sort of cosplay. That would be lame.
(Actually, that would be kinda awesome….)
But no. That’s not what’s going on here at all.
First off, the main reason Shane and I thought of Neil and Felicia is because they both possess certain characteristics we feel are very appropriate to Elodin and Auri.
Hell, I did an interview with Felicia on my blog back in 2008. Back before she was FELICIA DAY. While we were chatting, I asked which part she’d pick if she could play anyone in The Name of the Wind movie. She said, “My dream role would be Auri. I like playing damaged goods….”
And I thought, Yeah. I could totally see that. She has a whimsy about her that would be perfect….
Does that mean Auri is going to have red hair like Felicia? No. Obviously not. Auri will have Auri’s hair. But her expression and face will be influenced by Felicia’s because it works for the character.
It’s the same way we brought Jim Butcher in as everyone’s favorite Jackass:
(God. I want to slap him so much….)
It doesn’t really look too much like Jim, but if you know it’s there, you can spot it.
Gaiman is a similar good fit for Elodin. Trust me about this. Neil and Felicia are perfect for my two wise fools.
Almost exactly 24 hours ago, I did a video conference with Shane and Erik, the folks behind Albino Dragon. We were going to plan our strategies for the final days of the kickstarter. Plan stretch goals. Talk strategy.
But before we could get into that, Shane said, “We’d like to give 5% of Albino Dragon to Worldbuilders.”
“Sorry?” I said.
“We’d like to give 5% of Albino Dragon to Worldbuilders.”
And then I just kinda sat there. I knew what he’d said, but I didn’t quite believe he’d said it.
So I asked. “Do you mean you’d like to give Worldbuilders a piece of the profit from this project? More than we already negotiated?”
No, he said. Then he explained again.
“Are you serious?” I asked.
Shane and Erik have built this company themselves with their time and energy, with their blood and sweat and money.
And they want to give a piece of it to Worldbuilders.
We couldn’t mention it on the kickstarter itself, of course. Because kickstarter projects can’t be directly associated with charities.
But yes, they were serious.
“And if we hit 500,000 before the end of the kickstarter,” Erik said. “We’d like to give you another 5%.”
It’s not often that I’m caught completely flat-footed and at a loss for words. But I was, I honestly was.
Eventually I kinda pulled myself together. “That’s really amazingly generous of you guys,” I said. “It’s amazingly kind of you. I’m so flattered, and I’m floored, and I’m stupefied. It’s one of the most ridiculously generous things anyone has ever offered me, and I don’t know how to respond.”
Then I paused and took a deep breath. “But maybe you want to think this over. Chat about it. Make sure it’s something you really want to do. We can talk about it some more tomorrow.”
And they kinda laughed at me. They explained that they’d already thought it over and talked about it. Which is why they were making me the offer now.
I nodded for a while kinda absentmindedly, getting my head together.
“If you let me tell this story on my blog,” I said. “Me and my people will blow the fucking roof off the last two days of this kickstarter. We will bring thunder and fury to your very door. We will shake the earth.”
They said they were okay with that.
So. Here is our 500K stretch goal.
Now. Let’s be honest here. Are Shane and Erik being generous? Absolutely.
Are they being perfect, saintlike altruists? No. They’re clever folks. Really amazingly clever. Because with a single piece of outside-the-box thinking and startling generosity, they’ve brought me onto their team. I’m going to *so* many projects with them in the future. So many.
And you know what? I’m fine with that. Because they do awesome work.
This is the best sort of cleverness. The sort of cleverness where everyone is awesome, and everyone wins.
Now I’m not asking y’all to rush over and join the kickstarter. If you’ve already signed up, I’m not asking you to run over and increase your order.
But if you were thinking of picking up some of the new add-ons anyway…. Well, you can make that purchase knowing that an even larger portion of the money is going to a good cause.
And if you have a friend that loves NOTW, and you wanted to buy them an deck of cards as early Christmas present…. Well, you can rest assured that not only will that deck be as awesome as I can make it, but that the money is going directly to the artists. To the company they themselves own.
And if you wanted to twitter about this. Or talk about it on your blog. Or drop a link to this blog on facebook….
Well, I’d take that as a kindness. Because we have less than two days left.
And I’d really like to show Shane and Erik that they’ve made a good choice here.
Later space cowboys,
P.S. If you have any questions about the kickstarter. You can ask them in the comments here. I’ll answer the ones I can. But tomorrow’s a busy day, and I’m flying out to Ohio for a convention.
So if some of the more kickstarter-savvy among you can help out with some answers too, I’d really appreciate it.
About a month ago, I did a G+ hangout with Felicia Day, John Scalzi, and Amber Benson in order to promote the launch of Felicia’s new maelstrom of nerd-awesome: Geek and Sundry.
We set out to talk about what makes for good, interesting characters, and the conversation spiraled pleasantly through all manner of interesting tangents after that. In addition to being a fun talk with some of the wittiest geeks around, I think we also ended up raising some interesting points about stories, writing, truth, beauty, etc.
Anyway, if you missed the live broadcast, you can stop weeping softly to yourself in the corner. They’ve just posted up the video over on youtube.
Things continue to be busy over here in Rothfusia, what with wrapping up the fundraiser, training the new assistants, and all the maniacal laughter, there just don’t seem to be enough hours in the day.
Oh yeah, and the writing. That thing I need to do to make money and live. That takes a little bit of time, too.
This is just a quick blog to let you know of a few things happening in these next couple weeks that you might want to tune in for….
This upcoming Sunday (April 1st.) Felicia Day is going to be doing twelve straight hours of live video hangout over on Google+ as a way to spread the word about the upcoming launch of Geek and Sundry.
I’m going to be helping out with one of those hours by getting together with authors John Scalzi, Amber Benson, and Felicia herself to discuss what makes for good characters. I expect the conversation to wander pretty far afield. My plan is to drink about twelve shots of espresso before we go live, and then just see what happens.
That will be happening from 2:00-3:00 PM California time. (4:00-5:00 here in Wisconsin.)
If you’d like to see the full schedule for Felicia’s 12 hour carnival of delights, you can find that over here.
It should be a good time. You should come check it out.
In other news, I’ll be hitting the Fox Valley Book Festival on April 12th (more detailed information is up there in the Tour Schedule tab.) I’ll be reading, answering questions, and signing books. Y’know, the usual.
So if you live in that neck of the woods, you should stop by, because I don’t know when I’ll be passing through again.
Lastly, we’ll be fielding questions from the audience on Sunday’s live hangout, so if you have something you’re curious about, you can post the question below in the comments. I’ll do my best to bring your questions, comments, and smart-ass remarks into the discussion if we’ve got the time….
Over the last couple years, I’ve been cautious about the donation goals I set for Worldbuilders. I set my sights on a goal I’m pretty sure we can hit, and only after we get there do I bump up the target number on our donation thermometer. Some years I’ve done this eight or nine times.
I do it this way because back in 2008 when I started all this, I thought to myself, “I wonder if I could get people to donate 5000 dollars if I gave away prizes and offered to match donations?”
When I raised that much in just a couple of days, I was stunned. So I moved it up to $10,000 dollars, worrying that I was overstepping myself, not really believing that we could raise that much….
Three years and 600,000 dollars later, I still feel the same way. Every year I find myself thinking, “Will publishers help out again? Will authors care enough to send me books? Will people tweet and link and spread the word to their friends? Will geeks of all creeds and nations step up to the plate one more time?”
Then it all comes together, and I’m full of stunned, warm-fuzzy joy all over again.
This year, I decided to try something different. Rather than move our donation goal around all higgledy-piggledy, I decided to set some target levels. Something we could shoot for as a team. Then, if people are awesome enough to help me hit those goals, I’d put extra stuff into the fundraiser as a way to thank everyone for contributing.
We hit our first goal of 50,000 last Friday, so today you get the first of these blogs. I’ve got four more planned, each with increasingly cool additions to the fundraiser.
This is the one I like to think of as the AV blog. Where I share some of my favorite non-book media with with y’all.
A complete DVD set of Buffy and Angel.
Over the years, I’ve made no secret of my love for Joss Whedon. I started watching Buffy seriously in 2002, right when I was seriously starting revision on The Name of the Wind. Watching this series changed how I thought about storytelling, and the tricks I learned from it taught me a lot about plot and characterization.
Simply said, I think this is the finest television show ever produced. So I’m adding it to the prize lottery.
Two DVD sets of Red Dwarf including Back to Earth: The Director’s Cut.
I started watching Red Dwarf way back in the day. Back when it was on VHS tapes, and you couldn’t find copies for love nor money in the US.
This is the full eight seasons and the recent three-part: Back to Earth.
In my opinion, you aren’t a real sci-fi geek if you haven’t watched this. It’s one of the classics. Best of all, because the show relies on the cleverness of the writing rather than special effects, it holds up very well these days even though the first season was more than 20 years ago.
Two DVD sets of Firefly.
I will never get over the cancellation of Firefly. Not in a hundred years. And I meant what I said earlier in the year when I wrote an open letter to Nathan Fillion.
If you don’t like this series, odds are we can’t be friends. I’m sorry. That’s just the way it is.
Two DVD sets of Dollhouse.
Some people didn’t like Dollhouse. Then again, some people are idiots who drink their own pee.
[P.S. If y’all in the marketing department at Fox would like to use this as a promotional quote for the series, feel free. Just spell my name right.]
One audio cd of Telling Tales by Neil Gaiman.
This is one of the CD’s that you can get from Dreamhaven. It’s one of the earlier recordings of Neil Gaiman reading his own work. Good stuff.
One audio cd of Speaking in Tongues by Neil Gaiman.
Like the above, but different. If you catch my meaning.
One copy of Warning: Contains Language by Neil Gaiman.
This is a two-CD set also features music by Dave McKean and the Flash girls. It features Gaiman reading poems and stories from Angels and Visitations.
As an interesting aside, in the liner notes, it reads:
Unauthorized Copying of this CD is not only forbidden, but will prey upon your conscience, spoil your sleep, destroy your complexion, and eventually will wind up turning you into the kind of person who drinks methylated spirits out of a bottle hidden in a brown paper bag and who lives under bridges, burps noxiously, and prays day and night for release from the unsupportable burden their life has become. We thought you’d appreciate the warning.
Three audio cds of 3 doz Poems read by Garrison Keillor from The Writer’s Almanac.
Some people think that I hate poetry, not realizing, perhaps, that Kvothe and I are actually two different people.
Believe it or not, we are separate entities with different thoughts and emotions. Other telltale differences include hair color: Mine is brown. His is red. He is mostly a fictional character, and I am mostly real. He is a better singer, while I am a better kisser.
We also radically differ on our opinions of poetry. He has an irrational loathing of it, while I myself quite enjoy it.
Well…. some of it. The good stuff.
This is the good stuff. Lovely poems selected and read by America’s greatest living storyteller: Garrison Keillor.
Two audio collections of Good Poems by Garrison Keillor.
You can also tell that these are good poems. Because, well, it says so right there: Good Poems. You can’t get much clearer than that.
This is a 4 CD set, containing a marvelous selection of poetry read by a number of wonderful readers, including Keillor himself. Honestly, I would listen to the man read a phone book. Getting to hear him read some of the finest poetry ever is just a bonus.
One set of The First and Second Seasons of Flight of the Conchords and an audio cd of The Distant Future.
And you know what? Everything I said about it then is just as true today. I listened to this a couple weeks ago and laughed my metaphorical ass off. If anything, I think it’s funnier the 20th time around.
A copy of The Ultimate David Sedaris Box Set.
While Garrison Keillor is my favorite living storyteller. David Sedaris takes a close second place.
I only discovered him a couple years ago when someone recommended I listen to “Six to Eight Black men.”
They were really insistent, so I looked it up on Youtube just to shut them up about it.
The next day I went out and bought this box set, which contains 20 CD worth of David Sedaris reading the entirety of Me Talk Pretty One Day, Naked, Holidays on Ice, Barrel Fever and Other Stories, and Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim.
Because I love spreading the word about cool indi geekery like this, I picked up several sets of the first two seasons of The Guild when I was at San Diego ComicCon with the sole purpose of giving them away to people and getting them hooked on the series.
Felicia was nice enough to sign them for me. She’s just an all-around nice person.
I mentioned his book on the blog a while back. It’s called Ready Player One. And not only did I like it enough to give it a blurb. I liked it enough to dig up his e-mail address and gush to him directly about how much I loved it.
I think the entire content of my first e-mail was, “Your book is fucking awesome.”
I tried to get them to use that for the blurb on the back, (“This book is fucking awesome.” — Patrick Rothfuss) But their marketing people wouldn’t go for it.
Anyway, Ernest got an invite to Wootstock from Wil Wheaton, who is narrating the audiobook of Ready Player One. Ernest, being a generous human being, asked if I’d like to share some of his stage time.
I said yes. I said it in a firm, manly, baritone. Then I hung up the phone and laughed my most maniacal laugh.
Right. So. We all on the same page here?
7:00 – Backstage.
I walk up to the side door of the Balboa Theater in San Diego. Someone was waiting for me at the door, where they gave me this:
My very first All Access pass. It makes me feel like a rockstar.
I go backstage and down into the secret parts of the theater. It’s a magical sort of place. It’s a secret place that only the performers get to see, and it’s electric in a way that’s hard to describe. Everyone there is getting ready for the show. They’re excited, and a little nervous, and happy to see each other. Plus it’s comic-con, so we’re all a little exhausted. And a few of us are slightly tipsy, too… (Though not me, as I’m not much of a drinker.)
There’s a blur of people all over the place. Some of them I recognize, like Adam Savage from Mythbusters. And the guys from Rifftrax (who used to do MST3K.)
I’m introduced to a few people in a whirlwind fashion. I shake hands and nod at names. But they all run out of me like water. If I say, “someone said” or “someone did” I’m not trying to protect anyone’s identity, or snub them. It’s because a lot of the evening is a blur to me. I suck at meeting people, and I only have space in my head for about 5 new names.
Then I turn around and Wil Wheaton is there.
It’s weird meeting someone you kinda already know. And I kinda know Wil from a bunch of different directions. From his blog, from Star Trek, from his books, and from the Guild.
Plus we e-mailed just a little a day or two before Wootstock. I won’t bullshit you, that made me kinda tingly.
Anyway, we’re introduced, and we shake hands. He thanks me for the nice things I said about his book on my blog. And I’m a little surprised that he’s read it, though I shouldn’t be, I suppose. I tell him that I loved it.
That’s all we have time for. The stage manager is gathering everyone up to make some announcements before the show.
We all jam into a room and Liz is introduced. She is the boss. She tells us how it’s all going to work. She tells us we can watch from backstage, and that we should, so that we don’t miss our cues. She tells us to stick to our allotted time. She tells us where the beer and pizza are.
Everyone else nods attentively. There are a few jokes. But all of this is old hat for most of them.
Me? I’m grinning like an idiot. The show hasn’t even started yet and I’m having the best time….
* * *
I should explain something. I used to do lots of group-performance type things. I used to sing in choirs. I used to do radio comedy. I used to act a little, and did a few plays, a musical or two.
I even used to do a little improv comedy. Which is like a trial by fire. Once you do improv comedy, no other type of performance will ever truly frighten you.
Now I didn’t do a lot of these things seriously. But I did them. I enjoyed them.
And I miss them.
You see, one of the downsides of being a writer is that it’s a very solitary occupation. If everything is going well with my writing, I’ll spend 10-12 hours a day alone, and the rest of my time sleeping. (Also alone, usually.)
When I do get out to do a reading or a convention, I have a lot of fun. I enjoy meeting fans and signing books. I enjoy doing Q&A and reading stuff to an audience. It’s a nice opportunity for me to go out and be social.
But while it’s social, it’s a very solitary type of performance. I’m up in front of 200-600 people talking. There’s just me and the audience.
I’d forgotten what it was like to be part of a group of performers. To be a piece of a WE.
It feels great.
* * *
Liz makes one last announcement. They’ve gone to the worst seat in the house and borrowed the person’s camera. They’re going to pass it around backstage and we’ll all take pictures with it. That way the poor schlub with the worst seat will have a cool memento of the show and, as a bonus, the pictures will go online so everyone can use them.
It’s only because of the photoset that I have a shot of Ernest and me backstage, wherein I am getting my Kawaii on.
The show kicks off, and after cadging a piece of free pizza, I head upstairs we head up onto stage and watch the show from the wings. The theatre is gorgeous. A place with some real style to it.
It’s certainly the biggest house I’ve ever played to, and I’m a little nervous. But despite the fact that I’m anxiously fretting over what exactly I’m going to read, I can’t help but get pulled in by Molly Lewis playing the ukulele.
Her songs crack me up as I watch from backstage, and it helps me relax a bit.
Then, as I’m watching her play, a little motion catches my attention from the corner of my eye. So I look over and see Wil Wheaton dancing.
Before that point, I liked Wil Wheaton. I knew he was cool. I respected him as a writer, enjoyed him as a performer, and admired him as a strong, smart, outspoken member of the geek community.
But backstage in the Balboa theatre, I watched Wil Wheaton do a happy, goofy little dance, and that was when I started to love him.
Soon afterwards, Ernest gets his cue and heads out onto stage. He reads some hardcore geek poetry. Good stuff. He’s a good performer, too. Gets a good reaction from the crowd.
Then he introduces me. I’m a surprise guest of sorts, as I’m not on the program. People cheer when they hear my name, which is kind of a shock. It’s then that I decide what I’m going to read. I’m not going to try to follow Ernest’s poetry with more poetry. I think he’s got me beat in that regard.
I’m not going to read a piece out of my book, either. Too clunky. I even decide against reading a piece of a short story I’m working on.
No. A whole theatre of people cheering and my new man-crush Wil Wheaton watching from the wings means I go straight to my best material. The piece I keep in my back pocket whenever I do a reading. My sure-fire winner. My big gun.
I pull out The Guinea Pig Story.
Those of you who have seen me at a live reading might have heard it. Most of you have not.
It’s one of of the humor pieces I wrote back in college. Theoretically I was writing an advice column, but realistically I was making fun of people and telling incriminating stories about my life.
Here’s the only video I was able to find of the performance. The first little bit of my performance is cut off there, but it’s only about a sentence of the letter someone wrote in, asking for advice about keeping pets in their dormroom.
I got a great reaction from the audience, and left the stage feeling roughly ten thousand feet tall.
8:00 – Random House Party
After hanging around for a while and watching a few more acts, Ernest said he was going over to the Random House party and asked if I’d like to come along.
Though I was loathe to leave, I figured I should go and rub some elbows with some more bookish types. That’s kinda my job in some ways.
So I went to the party, hung out with some folks, and ended up riding a mechanical bull.
Why? No. Why is not the right question. I was at San Diego ComicCon. The proper question is “why the fuck not?”
That party was fun, but after about 45 minutes, I made my excuses and headed back to Wootstock. Because, y’know, Wootstock.
9:00 ish – More Wootstock.
I got back just in time for intermission, where I amused myself by handing out copies of the Chick Tract Dark Dungeons to members of the audience. I hope nobody thought I was serious….
After all my tracts were gone, I used my fancy pass to get backstage, feeling rockstar all over again. I wandered down to the dressing rooms and bumped into Felicia Day, who was also a surprise guest. I got a free hug and we chatted for about forty-five seconds before someone tells her she’s about to miss her entrance cue.
Somehow, someone managed to catch us on film during that brief moment. Proving that I’m not a big fibber.
I hang around and chat with folk, occasionally watching some of the show from backstage. I catch Jeff Lewis (Vork, for you Guildies out there) doing a piece of honest-to-god standup comedy. The man has amazing comic timing and delivery. As you’d already know if you were watching The Jeff Lewis 5-minute Comedy Hour.
11:30 ish – Autographing.
Eventually the show wraps up with a great closing number that I watch from the wings. Then I head downstairs to get my backpack and maybe another slice of pizza before I head out. When I’m gathering up my stuff, someone asks if I want to stick around and sign autographs. I shrug and agree, because I have nowhere else in particular to be.
Now over the last couple of years I’ve done a lot of signings. It’s old hat in a lot of ways. Usually I’m all alone. I’m a one-man-show.
But this one was different. A bunch of the performers were sticking around to sign posters and programs.
What’s more, at Wootstock, most of the people could give a damn about me. They’re there to see Wheaton, or Savage, or bask in the radiant glory of Paul and Storm.
And you know what? It was nice doing a signing where most folks didn’t care who I was. It gave me a chance to goof off and get to know the people sitting on either side of me. To my left was the aforementioned Molly Lewis. And to my right was someone I didn’t know at all, but I quickly learned that she was Amy Berg, writer/producer for Eureka (among many other things.)
So we hang out and chat as the line of people slowly trickles past. I’m feeling pretty relaxed. I’ve had a good day. I was on a panel with George Martin, had dinner with Jim Butcher, and got to chat with Wil Wheaton. I went to a party with an actual velvet rope, and the bouncer nodded me through even though I wasn’t on the list. I rode the mechanical bull and didn’t hurt myself. I got a hug from Felicia day and made a thousand people laugh….
It’s been a busy 14 hours, and I’m in that warm, happy place that comes when you know you don’t have to work any more. And, because I’m in a good mood, I start to joke around with the people coming through the line….
And that’s when I *really* start to get to know the people sitting on either side of me. I draw a picture of a duck on someone’s poster, and they mock me for its utter terribleness. They mocked me with a sharp-tongued viciousness I haven’t experienced since most of my best friends moved away from Stevens Point.
So I abandoned drawing and started signing clever things on the posters. Then my neighbors started writing things on their posters that were clever-er. And I feel really put out by this, because normally *I* get to be the witty one, and they were out wittying me without hardly trying. I felt the sudden need to step up my game, to say nothing of wanting to buy some of Molly’s music and catch up on the current season of Eureka….
The signing went on for at least a couple hours, and it was the perfect end to the perfect day. As I left the theater I felt that strange, glowy feeling that comes when you level up. It wasn’t until I got home that I found out where the XP boost had come from:
Best of all, I’d made it through two entire days at the convention without making an ass of myself in front of anyone.