Category Archives: Oot

The Opposite of Father’s Day

Dear Oot,

As I write this, you are with your mother on a trip to Colorado.

I’m guessing you’re having a pretty good time. You have plenty of opportunities to explore and see new things. You’re surrounded by people that love you, or who at least think you’re cute. You have cousins to play with, and Gramma Maggie is there too.

Most importantly, your mom is there. Moms makes everything better. Nothing can be really bad if your mom is around.

I, on the other hand, am not doing so great.

You’ve been away for six days as of this morning. It’s the longest I’ve ever spent away from you, and it’s starting to get to me.

Well, let’s not beat around the bush, here. I’m kind of a wreck.

The first day wasn’t bad. I was busy getting stuff done. Nobody bothered me. I caught up on my e-mail. Got some writing done, and enjoyed having the house all to myself.

The second day wasn’t so bad either. I finally got around to racking off the mead we made together a couple months back.

You don’t know it’s mead. You call it our “potion.” We had such a good time putting it together. I asked you to pour the water in, and you were so careful. You didn’t spill hardly at all, and when you did, you said you were sorry and helped to wipe it up.

It was the first time I’d tried to do a project with you, and I was amazed. I knew it was going to be fun. But I expected the whole process to take longer than usual, because let’s be honest here, you’re unskilled labor. But much to my surprise, it actually went more quickly because you were a genuine help.

When you come home, I think it might be okay if you try a little bit of the potion. Just a little.

The third day I missed you, but it wasn’t so bad. I went in and lay on your bed and read a book for a while. It helped a little. Later on I got to listen to my Harry Dresden audiobooks while I cleaned up the house and organized my books.

When I was cleaning up, I found an old broken cardboard box. Anyone else would think that it was trash. But I’ve been saving it for more than a year. It’s the box you used to play with all the time. You would crawl into it, hide in it, wear it like a hat….

It’s absolutely destroyed now. It’s been torn up and chewed. Taped and re-taped.

I put it in the closet, where it will be safe. I can’t throw something like that away.

On the fourth day, I take out the compost. That means I have to walk by your toys in the backyard. Back past the garden is the tree I chopped up while you watched. You thought it was so cool.

It’s so much fun to do things around you. I’m like a superhero, and I don’t even have to try. I can reach things on tall shelves. I can stand on my head. I can open doors. You think I’m so cool.

Once, you were watching me dry off after I’d taken a shower. When I flipped the towel over my head to dry my back, you looked up at me in amazement and said, “Fancy!”

It was pure admiration.

You know what? I’ve had crowds of people show up to listen to me talk. I’ve had 400-500 people at a time clapping or cheering or laughing at my jokes.

And I won’t lie to you, it’s nice.

But it’s nowhere near as cool as having you look up at me, genuinely impressed at me flipping a towel over my head, and saying, “Fancy!”

You see me do these things, and you think that I’m awesome. And so I *am* awesome.

But you’re gone now, and I’m not awesome. I’m a pathetic bastard who can’t stop crying while taking out the compost.

On the fifth day I leave the house for a bit. That helps a little. Like most writers, I have the ability to be perfectly happy spending long amounts of time by myself. But five days without leaving the house or speaking to another human is pushing it even for me.

So I go for a walk. I shop a little. I sign a book at the local bookstore. I chat with the people that run my favorite local internet cafe, the Tech Lounge. The folks that run the place have a little baby girl, only about 4 months old. She’s cute as a button, and has a baby mohawk where her hair sticks up.

I just want to hold her. It’s like I’m a junkie. I can’t get what I really want. I can’t be with you. But being able to hold a cute baby would help a little bit.

But I can’t ask. It’s too weird.

Instead I come home and try to talk to you on the phone. Unfortunately, the cell reception up in the mountains is shit. I can hear your voice, but I couldn’t understand what you were trying to tell me. It was like an exercise in tangible loneliness.

Today is the sixth day. If I were to explain to you how much I missed you, it would sound like a lie.

So I’m writing you a letter. I write you letters all the time.

Sometimes they’re just little stories, things I want to remember so I can share them with you later. Sometimes they’re things I’d like to tell you, but you’re too little to understand right now.

I wrote you a letter before you were born. It was the first night I found out Sarah was pregnant, before we knew if you were a boy or a girl. I try to write you at least a couple every month.

You see, by the time you’re old enough to have a really good adult conversation, the person I am right now is going to be gone. I’ll be so much older, and our relationship will have changed so much. There will have been arguments and slammed doors. You’ll be irritated because I won’t stop giving you advice, and I’ll be irritated because you never listen to me.

But see, right now, our relationship is perfect. I’ve got nothing but love for you, my little man.

So I want to take the opportunity to tell you this: if things get shitty in the future it won’t matter in the long run. If you roll your eyes at me and I shout at you, if we end up screaming terrible things at each other….

None of that matters. You’re my boy. You are my favorite thing in the world. You are the one and only thing that always makes me happy. You are going to grow up and break my heart and do things that disappoint me. And it’s okay.

None of the other stuff matters because deep down, underneath it all, I love you like anything. That will never go away.

So why am I putting this letter online? A couple reasons.

First, because there is always the chance that something might happen to me. A plane could crash. I could have a stroke. Some fan might give me the love knife.

Simply said, shit happens. And if I get hit by a bus tomorrow, you’ll be able to find this and read it someday and know the truth of it.

Similarly, the letters I’ve written you are in a folder titled “Letters to the Future” on my computer. If you dig around, I’m sure you’ll be able to find them.

Secondly, I’m doing this to embarrass the hell out of you when you’re in high school. Because that sort of thing is good for you. It builds character.

Love,

your dad.

P.S. For those of you who aren’t my son, tune in on Friday for news about the photo contest.

Posted in Oot | By Pat102 Responses

Not Your Usual Mother’s Day Post….

Yesterday was mother’s day. And it was not an easy day for me.

I set aside the day to spend with Sarah and Oot. That was my Mother’s day present for Sarah. She decided what she’d like to do, and I’d clear my schedule for it.

The plans she chose weren’t elaborate. We were going to run a few errands, get some food, then go to the park to play.

As soon as I got into the car, Oot said, “Gandalf, I don’t want to go on an adventure.”

“Oh,” I said. “Are you sure?”

“Yeah,” he said. “I’m a hobbit.”

“I think an adventure would be good for you, Bilbo. They can be a lot of fun. And you can find a lot of treasure.”

“No,” he said. “I’m too scared. I just want to stay home and smoke my smoker.”

We drove to Target, and since Sarah just had a few things to pick up, I offered to hang out in the car with Oot. Things are faster that way. Plus, we’re about to have an unexpected party, where all the dwarfs show up while Bilbo is fixing tea.

While Sarah is inside, I decide to be a good dad and coach Oot a little bit, like Sarah did for me on Father’s Day.

“Today is a special day,” I said. “Today is mother’s day. That means that you should tell your momma, “Happy Mother’s Day!”

“But I’m Bilbo Bagins!” he protests.

“Even Bilbo Bagins has a momma,” I say, thought I can’t remember who it is off the top of my head. “Everyone has a momma. My momma’s name was Marge. And she would have loved you so much.”

This might seem like it came out of nowhere, but the truth is, I think about my mom all the time. Especially around certain times of the year.  Especially when I’m with Oot. My mom died in February of 2007, just before the first book came out. Oot is only about two and a half, and that means she never got to meet my baby.

So at this point I’m crying, and trying not to make a big deal about it. Because Oot’s having a pretty good time, and beside, I’m sitting in the target parking lot.

“But I’m a hobbit,” Oot says again.

“She would have loved that you’re a hobbit too,” I say. And then I really start to lose it.

It’s a beautiful day out. I’m finally published and successful beyond my wildest dreams. I have a beautiful girlfriend who loves me beyond all sense. I have a delightful son who adores me. And I’m crying uncontrollably in the Target parking lot.

“Dad, why are you crying?” Oot asks. He’s not worried. Mostly he’s just curious, but there’s still some concern there.

“I’m sad,” I say. “I miss my mom.”

He reaches up and touches my face with the back of his hand. It’s the touch we’ve taught him to use on babies. His gentlest touch. “It’s okay dad,” he says.”It’s okay. You don’t have to cry.”

“You’re right,” I say. But I can’t stop, I’m a mess at this point.

“It’s okay dad,” he says. “I can kiss you.” And he does just that. Gives me a sweet, drooly little baby kiss on my face.

I try to clean myself up because I know Sarah is coming back soon. Oot continues to pet the side of my face. “It’s okay,” he says, again and again. “You don’t have to be sad. You can stay with me.”

Sarah and I managed to do something right over the years with him. I’ll tell you that for free. It was about the nicest thing he could have said to me. And I have no idea how he came up with it.

What’s the point of my story? Here’s my point.

I have a good friend who recently lost a loved one. Someone really important to her. A member of her family. She knew that things were getting close to the end. She’s known for ages. But it still knocked the stuffing out of her. I understand. Knowing ahead of time doesn’t really help.

A couple weeks ago I was on the phone with this friend. I was doing the useless thing you do when you want to comfort someone, but there really isn’t anything you can say.

“It’s like there’s just been a big hole ripped out of my life,” she said. “I can’t believe everyone goes through this.”

I told her that I thought the exact same thing after my mother died. That I couldn’t understand how the world could work with everyone constantly walking  around all the time feeling like they’ve been torn up inside.

What I didn’t tell her is the line from Shakespeare that kept running through my head after my mom died. It’s from Hamlet, when Polonius says, “Your father lost a father. That father lost, lost his.” You have to be a real twat to quote Shakespeare at someone. And you’re doubly a twat if you do it when they’re grieving.

“Does it get better?” she asked.

“Not soon.” I said. “But eventually. I don’t think about her for whole days sometimes. I don’t dream about her any more.”

“You dream about her?”

“I used to,” I said. “After she died. I always thought that was some bullshit literary device. Something hack writers put into stories. But it really happens, apparently. It happened a lot to me.”

There was a long pause on the phone.

“The worst part,” I said. “Was that in my dreams, she was always sick. It was just like before she died. And in my dreams we were doing everything we could to make things better for her. But you knew it was just a matter of time. They were horrible dreams.”

I’d never told anyone else this before.

“But the really bad part was when I woke up,” I said. “You know what it’s like when you wake up and you’re not sure if the dream is real or not?”

“Yeah,” she said.

“Well I’d wake up, then have a panicked moment when I thought the dream was real. But then I’d realize that none of it was true. That my mom wasn’t sick. She was dead.” I paused. “And when I realized that, I felt this huge feeling of relief wash over me, because I know I don’t have to go through all of it again. All the hospitals and doctors and funerals.”

I waited for my friend to say something, but she didn’t.

“I mean, how fucked up is that?” I asked. “I wake up from a dream and think, ‘Oh thank god. My mom is dead.’ There’s probably something really wrong with me because of that.”

“I’ve been feeling that way too,” she said. “I’m sad and it’s horrible. But I’m so relieved its all over. And so I feel guilty for that on top of everything else.”

“Well,” I said. “At least we’re both the same flavor of fucked up.”

“I can’t believe nobody ever talks about this,” she said. “I mean people have bad breakups, and you know how to handle it because you’ve heard about their breakups. But nobody talks about people dying. There’s no script for something like this.”

“It’s a real taboo,” I said. “Not one of the silly little play taboos like sex, things we aren’t supposed to talk about and we do anyway. Real taboos are things nobody even thinks of talking about.”

“Somebody should talk about them,” she said.

“Somebody should,” I agreed.

*     *     *

So here we are.

Generally speaking, when I think about something a lot, I write about it on the blog. Its one of the ways I figure out how I really feel about things. It helps me keep my head screwed on straight.

But the one exception has always been my mom.

I think about her all the time, but I rarely ever tell stories about her.

And you know what? That’s a fucking shame. Because my mom was awesome.

So we’re fixing that. Soon.

pat

Also posted in mom, things I shouldn't talk about | By Pat144 Responses

Fanmail Q&A: The Biggest Mistake

Pat,

I love your books, and I’ve been reading your blog for years, silently lurking. Not wanting to take up your time with a comment, let alone a letter.

But here’s the thing. After years of thinking about it. I’m actually starting to write.

Yeah. Surprise surprise. I’m looking for advice.

I know most of it I’ll have to learn on my own. And I know you don’t have time to tell me all the tricks of the trade you’ve learned over the years. But I was hoping you could tell me just one thing. Not something I should do. Something I should avoid. What’s the biggest mistake you see new writer’s make in fantasy?

If you can tell me what that mistake is, then hopefully I can skip that one and make other mistakes instead.

Love,

Jan

Awww…. free love.

Well Jan, the biggest mistake I see new writer’s make is the grocers’ apostrophe.

No, wait. Don’t cry. I’m just teasing a little. I mock because I love. I don’t hold minor grammatical goofs against people. I’m no Strongbad. Hell, I make the classic it’s/its mistake more than half the time.

Anyway, to the heart of the matter. Let me answer your question the way that I answer all questions, with a story.

Months ago, I was sitting around with Oot. He was just starting to get really verbal in those days. Whole sentences. Picking up words right and left.

More to the point of this story: he was just learning how to count.

So. We’re sitting around and I hold up a finger and say, “One….”

He knows where I’m going with this. Counting is a new thing, so he’s pretty exited about it.

“One…” I prompt him again.

He jumps on board this time. “…two. Three. Four! Five! SIX! EIGHT! TEN! SIX! THREE! SIX!

He gets really worked up after three. He makes little fists and waves around his arms enthusiastically. On a good day he’ll get all the way up to nine before he falls apart.

It’s perfectly natural, really. When you have a cool new piece of information to show off, you’re bound to get excited.

Later on in the day I come in and he’s reading a book with Sarah. It’s the last page in a big Richard Scarry book, and it has groups of things lined up, just for counting. One picture of a whale. Two pictures of walruses. Three pigs.

You get the idea.

Mom is coaching him with ladybugs and buttons. There’s lots of those, way more than ten.

I tag Sarah out so she can go do some stuff on her own, then I sit down with Oot.

I point to the book. “How many walruses are there?”

He looks at the page. “One…. Two….” He looks at the book seriously.

There’s a pause. A long pause. He furrows his brow.

“Two,” he says.

“Good job!” I say, completely earnest. This is big stuff. Cutting edge. I’m proud of him. He really thought it out. Didn’t just make a guess.

I point one line down on the page. “How many pigs?”

He looks at the three pigs. “One… two…. Three.”

But he doesn’t stop there. He’s on a roll now. “Four! Five! Six! SEVEN! TEN! SEVEN! MANY!” He finishes by throwing his arms up over his head triumphantly.

It’s cute as hell, really. But the fact is, he’s wrong. He got carried away.

And this, Jan, is the biggest problem I see most new fantasy authors make.

* * *

(Yeah. That’s a scene break. I’ve decided I can put a scene break in my blog if I feel like it.)

You see, one of the hardest parts about writing fantasy novels is describing things.

Now this problem isn’t unique to fantasy novels. No matter what genre you’re writing in, you have to describe things. That’s a given.

The problem is that in fantasy, there’s so much you have to describe.

If you write a novel set in the real world, you can assume your reader will have a certain baseline knowledge. They will know about Seattle and Paris. They will know what the internet is. They will (almost certainly) know who Robin Hood is. They’ll (probably) know who Don Quixote is. They’ll (maybe) know who Cyrano De Bergerac is.

But when you’re writing fantasy, especially secondary-world fantasy (By which I mean fantasy where the story takes place in a world other than our own) the reader doesn’t know anything about your world. They don’t know the cultures, religions, magic, or cities. The reader doesn’t know anything about the myths and legends of the world.

Now a lot of times, this is one of the major selling points of the book. A big payoff of secondary-world fantasy is the thrill of exploration. We get to see new countries, fantastic creatures, odd cultures, curious magics, etc etc.

And, honestly, this is one of the big perks of being a fantasy writer. We get to build castles in the sky, then show them off to people.

So here’s how it goes wrong.

1. You create something for your fantasy world: a creature, a culture, a myth, whatever.

2. You’re proud of your creation. You’re excited about it. You love it with a fierce love.

3. You need to describe this thing to your reader, because if they don’t understand how it works, your story won’t make sense.

(3b. Remember, the story is the real reason people are there. Story is everything. Story is god.)

4. So you start to explain how folks in the the Shire celebrate their birthdays. (This is important because one of the first major events of the book is a birthday party.) You talk about how hobbits give presents away at their parties instead of receiving them. (This is important because it ties into why Bilbo is going to hand over the ring to Frodo.)

Then you start talking about how some of these presents get passed back and forth, party after party. And how those items are actually called mathoms, and how there’s actually a museum full of mathoms at Michel Delving, which is in the Westfarthing of the shire, since, as you know, the Shire is composed of four sections which take their names from prominent families in the area, such as Tookland being named after the Tooks, who are among the largest and oldest of the Shire families, and in fact still held the title of Thain, which had been passed to them from the Oldbucks, and while the title was largely ceremonial these days due to the lack of Shire-moot in recent, peaceful times…. Four! Five! Six! SEVEN! TEN! SEVEN! MANY!

You see what happens? It’s easy for an author to get so caught up in the details of the world they created, that they go off the rails and give us more than is really necessary for the story.

Now it might seem like I’m picking on Tolkien a little bit here. But again I say: I mock because I love. I grew up reading Tolkien, and I mean that quite literally. I read the lord of the rings at least once a year through all my teenage years.

To his credit, Tolkien gave us one of the best traditions of our genre, that of elaborate, realistic worldbuilding.

Unfortunately, he also gave us the tradition of providing *way* too much information at the beginning of the story.

Tolkien is the cornerstone of modern fantasy. His impact on the genre is immeasurable. His arm has grown long….

Again, I love Tolkien. But the prologue to The Fellowship of the Ring is one of the most egregious instances of info-dumping in existence. At best, it resembles the dry essay it was intended to resemble. At worst, it’s like reading Leviticus.

(Okay. Fine. It’s really more like reading Numbers. But you know what I mean…)

And yeah, you can argue that Leviticus is a chapter in the best-selling book of all time. But the key is that the bible doesn’t *start* with that chapter. The bible starts out with action. Right out of the gate you get you have magic, “Let there be light.” You get conflict. You get character development. You get a good antagonist, drama, betrayal, exile from paradise. That’s exciting stuff. Genesis really gets the story going. It sets the hook.

That’s why the bible sells so well. Only after you get involved in the plot does Moses start giving you the heavy worldbuilding in Numbers and Deuteronomy. He did that for a reason. If he’d started the bible with the info-dump, it would have been *way* too boring. No publisher would have printed it.

So how do you avoid falling into the trap of telling too much?

I wish I could give you a simple answer to this, Jen. But the truth is, I could teach a week-long class on this seemingly simple question. There are dozens of tricks and cheats. There are hundreds of ways to do it well, and thousands of ways to do it badly.

What makes this such a horrible problem is that “too much” is largely a matter of taste. Some readers really *do* want to read all the details of the ancient Shi-Ang dynasty, and how their government relied upon the use of telepathy crystals. Other readers just want you to hurry up and get to the part where the Lesbian Unicorn Sisterhood initiates apprentice Ayllisia into the secrets of the Eternal Kiss.

It’s also a matter of style. Some writers are better at making exposition engaging than others. Some worlds are more alien than others, requiring more explanation.

My personal philosophy is to err on the side of caution. Given the choice, I’d prefer to give too little description and leave you wanting more, rather than give a lot and risk you being bored.

And yes, I’m aware of the irony of preaching “less is more” after writing a 400,000 word novel. Imagine how long it would have been if I hadn’t been consciously riding the brake.

In my opinion, Jen, the biggest thing is you can do to avoid this problem is to be aware that it *is* a problem.

Knowing is half the battle, and all that.

Verbosely yours,

pat

Later Edit: Yeah. I know the author of the e-mail was Jan, not Jen. I changed it as an oblique reference to the way that Strongbad would usually change/screw up the names of the people that wrote into him by the time he finished answering their questions.

See? That way we start and end the blog with a Strongbad reference, providing a sort of closure and narrative unity.

I can tell from the comments below that at least a few of you got it. But it’s clear the rest of you just thought I didn’t care enough to get her name right.

Just wanted to let you know that I’m not an insensitive asshole. No. I’m just prone to arcane referential douchery.

Also posted in Fanmail Q + A, I mock because I love, the craft of writing, Things my baby has taught me about writing | By Pat85 Responses

A New Addition to the Family

So just a couple days ago, The Wise Man’s Fear came out in trade paperback.

(Cue the music from 2001.)

The new format looks even more monolith like than the hardcover. And in fact, there’s only a few differences between the two:

1. It’s cheaper.

2. It’s smaller.

3. We fixed a couple typos.

4. The front cover is slightly different. Now instead of saying, “New York Times Bestseller Patrick Rothfuss,” it says:

Which, I have to admit, makes me feel a little cool….

The last big difference is that this version has blurbs for The Wise Man’s Fear on the back.

(Click to embiggen.)

A lot of these quotes I hadn’t actually seen before. So that was pretty cool…

I got to actually hold my first copy a couple of days ago. They used the same nice paper as the hardcover, so the book still has a solid weight to it. A satisfying feel. But the way I feel holding this book is far from objective….

The cherry on top of the book release sundae was a four-color ad in the New York Times Review of Books.

The ad quotes from the extraordinarily flattering blog George Martin wrote a while back when he was talking about who he was going to nominate for the Hugos this year.

You’ll notice that this picture is not guest starring my thumb, which is usually the case. This is actually guest starring the thumb of Amanda, one of the assistants I mentioned in my last blog.

It’s odd to me that out of all of this, that one small thing is what strikes me as most odd about all of this: Her thumb.

You see, four years ago, my publisher took out an add in the New York Times to help promote the paperback release of The Name of the Wind. At that point in my life, I’d barely been published for a year. I was a complete fluffy puppy of a newbie author, and the fact that my book was being advertised threw me for such a loop that I wrote a blog about it called Following Diogenes.

Then I walked to the grocery store to buy a copy of the paper so I could see the add for myself.

Now, four years later, I’ve got another ad. This one is in color and features glowing praise from an author who is, if not the biggest name in fantasy today, is at least in the top three.

And today, instead of walking to the store myself, my assistant grabbed me a copy.

It’s not just my assistant, either. One of my *several* assistants. I am now a corporate entity. I can’t do my own taxes anymore. Today I was talking to a friend and when I stopped to count, I realized that I employ nine people. Ten if I count myself.

I mean, what the hell is up with that? What has happened to my life that I now employ myself? I actually write myself a paycheck.

In what world does that make fucking sense? Am I supposed to give myself performance reviews and shit? Should I give myself a stern talking to if I’m late to a meeting with myself? At some point in the future, if I get increasingly insubordinate, will I be forced to fire myself and bring in someone else to do my job?

I know I’m into The Meta and everything, but all of this seems recursive to the point of absurdity.

(Recursive Absurdity would be a good name for a band, by the way….)

What’s my point? Fuck. I don’t know. I don’t mean to imply that I’m not happy with the way my life is going. I know I’m very lucky. I’ve met with more success than I have any right to.

But on the other hand, for someone whose personal philosophy has always been to strive toward simplicity, I seem to be doing kind of a shit job of things.

Gech. I’m rambling. And this blog has gone from fun and informative to something bordering on existential angst. What can I do to bring it up out of a nosedive before the end?

Ah. Of course. I’ll focus on my favorite complication. Little Oot.

Quick story: A couple weeks ago, Oot was nursing after a nap.

Then he stopped nursing, hugged Sarah’s breast, and said, “This is my birthday Christmas boob!”

I swear I didn’t make that up.

Lastly, here’s a picture of Oot wearing a Jayne hat that a fan made for him. The picture is pretty old at this point, but it’s got cuteness in spades….

Rather cunning, don’t ya think?

pat

http://www.blackcoffeepress.net/shop/article_15/PREORDER-Already-Here%3A-Long-Poems-Matt-Bialer.html?shop_param=cid%3D1%26aid%3D15%26
Also posted in book covers, book two, Diogenes, emo bullshit | By Pat51 Responses

The Final Day….

This is a Worldbuilders blog.

Well folks, we’re at the final day of the fundraiser. As I write this, we’re about 24 hours away from the finish line.

The last couple days have been amazing. A lot of folks have chipped in with last-minute donations. Others have come back to donate a second or third time. A lot of people have been spreading the word, blogging, twittering, and shouting out of windows at unsuspecting persons on the street.

The end result is that we’ve raised far more than I’d ever hoped this year, far beyond the 250,000 dollars I expected to be our high water mark.

I just have a few things to mention before everything’s done.

First: In the last blog I accidentally said that the ARC of Redshirts that John Scalzi donated was going into an auction. That was a typing mistake brought about by lack of sleep. Redshirts is going into the general lottery so that anyone who donates at least 10 bucks has a chance of winning it.

Second: Since I did the post that talked about the odds of winning something from the prize lottery, we’ve had a lot of donations.

So, in the interest of keeping this a prize-rich environment, I’m going to donate another 100 books to the fundraiser. I tend to be a book hoarder, and I have duplicates and triplicates of some books that I’m very fond of. I have extra signed copies that I keep tucked away for a rainy day, too. And some limited edition stuff.

The upshot is that even though you don’t see any pictures of it here, there’s now officially more cool stuff to win. Because I love you.

Third: For the last couple months, I’ve been getting e-mails from people telling me stories about their donations.

I’ve heard from parents who have talked to their kids about Heifer International, then later had their kids write to Santa asking for a goat that they could give to someone who needs it. There have been families that exchanged animals instead of presents this year. Book clubs and church groups have done fundraisers of their own, pooling their resources then donating to Heifer through Worldbuilders.

There isn’t space to share all their e-mails with you, but I thought I might share one….

Hi Pat!

I love, love, love Worldbuilders, but as a broke law student I can’t afford to donate much…So this year, my fiance and I had a fun idea. We agree with your take on Valentine’s Day, so this year as our “Valentine’s Day present” to each other, we donated in our name to Worldbuilders.

We thought setting aside money for goats was way more important than setting aside money for unnecessary trinkets, and what better way is there to celebrate loving each other and wanting to spend our lives together than by making the world we want to live in even better, and honoring an author whose work we adore?

We put it on facebook too, here’s hoping more people might follow the lead!

W–

I like your style, W. Thanks for thinking outside the box and helping to spread the word….

Fourth: There’s only one auction left: the Golden Ticket. Bidding has already topped 4,000 dollars, and I’ll admit to feeling equal parts curiosity and anxiety when I wonder what the winner will ask of me….

Fifthly and Lastly: Ever since I posted up the 150K blog, people have been e-mailing me, asking me to share the video that I made of me reading Beatrice’s Goat to little Oot.

I still feel self-conscious about the fact that my voice gets higher when I read to him. And because we had to cut together a couple of different readings of the book, my voice back and forth between my reading-to-Oot voice and my regular voice, which makes it seem like I’m flirting with puberty….

But people asked for it, so here it is. Not posting because I’m a little vain is just silly.

Plus I figure Oot’s natural cuteness will eclipse any shortcomings on my part….

So there you go, folks. If you didn’t get it before, now you do. That’s what Heifer International does in a nutshell.

If you’d like to make a donation, the Worldbuilders Team page is over here.

If you’d like to read more details about the fundraiser or browse through the thousand odd books donated by authors and publishers, you can head over to the main Worldbuilders page.

Thanks for being awesome,

pat

Also posted in videos, Worldbuilders 2011 | By Pat76 Responses

The Obligatory Holiday Post

There were a lot of things I wanted to do here on the blog before Christmas.

I was planning on posting up a video of me reading a picture book, but I couldn’t manage to get it done in time.

I thought about posting up a Christmas Card type thinger to mitigate the guilt of not having sent out anything resembling a Christmas Card again this year. Or any year, for that matter. Ever. But that didn’t happen.

I was hoping to post up one more worldbuilders blog. The clockwork, Machiavellian part of me knows this is the perfect time for it….

I was going to try and post up the first of the belated photo contest blogs, too. I know a lot of you have been waiting for that for a *long* time.

But yesterday I realized that with all the busyness of Worldbuilders and whatnot, I hadn’t, y’know, bought any presents yet. Or really done anything much to get ready for the holiday.

So instead of doing any of those things, I’m going to put up a cute picture of Oot decorating the Christmas tree.

I’ll post up fancy blogs next week.

I hope all of you that do Christmas-type stuff have a good time.

Those of you that don’t do Christmas, I hope you have a good time too, doing whatever it is you do.

With all sorts of fondness,

pat

P.S. The orange thing is a giant pumpkin, just in case you’re wondering.

Posted in Oot | By Pat36 Responses

Name of the Wind Onesies

So about a year ago when we were voting on which t-shirt designs were going to get printed, I cast my vote just like everyone else.

Imagine my surprise when one of the shirts I loved went straight to the bottom of the pack and stayed there.

It made me glad that I’d decided to put things to a vote. But still, I was sad that I wouldn’t get a chance to see that shirt made.

Fast forward to a couple months back when I got a flurry of messages from people asking if we would ever print kid’s shirts. Or baby onesies.

So, behold:

We decided to turn my favorite design into some onesies you could buy to support Worldbuilders.

If you want to see a closeup of the design, here it is:

What I really like about this image is that it relates a lot of The Name of the Wind without being in any way language dependent.

In fact, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that this shirt would be way easier for kids to appreciate because they could identify the pictures themselves.

So as soon as the onesies came in from the printer, I showed one to Oot.

I point at the lower-leftmost speech bubble. “What’s this?” I ask, thinking, this one should be pretty easy. He knows what a heart is….

“Crab,” he said without any hesitation.

“Oh,” I say. “Okay.” I point at the book. “What’s this?”

“Choccate!” (Chocolate.)

“And this?” I ask, pointing at the cloud.

“Skis,” he says immediately. The word is completely clear. When did he learn what skis are?

“And this?” I point at the musical notes.

“Shopping cart.” Again, he’s absolutely sure of himself.

“Who’s this in the middle?” I ask, pointing at Kvothe himself.

“Issa boy,” he tells me. “Shouting.”

If you’re one of those “pics or it didn’t happen” people, here’s a video where Valerie quizzes Oot about what’s on his shirt.

His answers are a little different there, as he’s obviously gained a clearer understanding of the shirt after re-reading it a couple times.

So there you go. If you’d like to buy a onesie with a boy shouting about crabs, chocolate, skis, and a shopping cart, today is your lucky day.

Because we have them available now in the Tinker’s Packs.

We’ve priced the same as our t-shirts at 20 dollars. I wish I could sell them for less, but the onsies are actually way more expensive to buy than the t-shirts. The printing is more expensive, too, because it uses so many colors.

Rest assured that all the money from the sale of the shirts goes directly to Worldbuilders. It’s not like I’m spending it on hookers and PEZ.

And just for one last piece of cute, here’s a picture of Oot wearing it.

(Click to Encutenate.)

This picture cracks me up a big because Oot looks like such a smooth player in it.

“Hey sweetie,” he says. “What? This shirt? Just some old thing I threw on. You know, this scene is played out. What say you and I go back by the couch and I show you how high I can stack some blocks….”

One more time, just in case you need it: the link to the Tinker’s Packs.

Lastly, a final heads-up for those of you in Northern Michigan and the UP. I’m doing two signings in those parts this weekend, and I probably won’t be back in the area for a while.

Catch me while you can….

pat

Also posted in The Tinker's Packs, videos | By Pat56 Responses
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