Novelties: Signed Books, new posters, and the long awaited NOTW playing cards.

Sorry I’ve been kinda quiet on the blog lately folks, but the truth is, I’m in what authors refer to as “Deadline Hell.”

You see, in order to have the Auri book hit the shelves November-ish, we actually have to have the book finished at the end of June.

And to have the book finished at the end of June, I have to turn in the pretty-much-all-the-way-finished manuscript at the end of this month.

The good news is that this book is much shorter than my usual. The bad news is that I’m still obsessive, and I haven’t fiddled around with this story like I normally do: tweaking and fidding, getting beta-reader feedback, re-reading and red-penning the manuscript for months.

Hence I’ve been doing my best to fit in as much revision as possible before I leave for Phoenix Comic Con. Hence deadline hell.

That said, we’ve got some new stuff to show off to you today. Stuff that some of you have been waiting months and months for….

*     *     *

While I’ve been toiling in the word mines, agonizing over the difference between slim and slender, the Worldbuilders team has been hard at work.

If you remember, last month, we asked for suggestions for what to call our monthly blog where we bring you new signed books and other new things in The Tinker’s Packs.

As always, y’all impressed me with your willingness to help. There were many suggestions, and it’s helped us finally land on a name: Novelties.

It’s short, clever, and while it makes it clear that books are involved, it leaves room for us to have things other than books available in the future.

But for now, it’s books. And we’ve got some great ones for you this month.

Defenders with sig

Will was one of the first to jump in with signed books for us for this month, and we’re really glad he did. Not only is he a Hugo award winning author, but this book has been getting some great reviews, including a starred one in Kirkus: ”McIntosh tells a more global yet still deeply personal tale about life during wartime and its aftermath… McIntosh has his finger on the pulse, again.”

This book is new this month, and it was terribly kind of him to send us some signed copies. If you’re quick, you can grab one over here.

Sword and Laser Bundle

(Definitely click to embiggen)

I’m terribly fond of Tom and Veronica, to say nothing of Sword and Laser itself.

So I was excited when I heard they were going to be putting together an anthology. They sent me an early copy of it, asking if I’d be willing to write a promo blurb for them. After I read it, I said I’d go so far as to write an an introduction for the book instead.

If you’re curious about my full thoughts on this book, I posted my introduction up on Goodreads where anyone can read it.

Tom and Veronica signed 10 of these for us, and sent some cool Sword & Laser bookmarks and cards too, so grab them while you can.

Half a King US-UK

This is an extra cool thing. Half a King won’t even be hitting the shelves until July, but Joe sent us two Advance Reading Copies, one US edition (the black one), and one from the UK (the white one). Both are signed by the man himself.

I got a chance to read an early version of this book too, and as I said in my review on goodreads, I think it’s my favorite Abercrombie book so far.

These are going to go fast, since we’ve only got one of each.

So, if you want the US edition, click here.

If you want the UK edition, click here.

*  *  *

And now, after much waiting, we’re finally making the Name of the Wind cards available in the store.

Cards

(Click to Embiggen, so you can see more of their majesty.)

Some of you probably remember NOTW Card Kickstarter we ran a year ago. Ever since it ended, I’ve had people e-mailing me, asking how they could get the cards if they missed the kickstarter.

The simple answer was that they couldn’t get them. Not until now.

Now that the kickstarter has been fulfilled, and the lovely folks that backed the project have received their swag, we’re making the cards available for everyone in The Tinker’s Packs. 

I really can’t tell you how pleased I am with how these cards turned out. They’re printed by the folks who print Bicycle cards, so they’re not flimsy bullshit. They’re durable, high-quality cards.

Here’s the aces:

Aces

The art is just beautiful. What’s more, some of the cards are different on their mirror sides. In some places, the differences are obvious. Like on Kvothe and Denna’s Cards. Other cards, such as Bast’s, have more subtle changes you might need to look for a while to see…

Kvothe-Denna-Bast

In addition to the full deck, there’s also a spare card that shows Willem. (So if one of your other cards gets damaged, you can substitute Willem in.) And a card with Master Lorren that’s designed to be used as a bookmark.

And, of course, there’s the Jokers: Elodin and Auri.

There are three different decks. The Limited, the Standard, and the Taborlin Deck.

NotWCards

The art on the faces of the cards is all the same. But the Limited deck is a little more collectable. It’s the only deck with the seal on the box. Shane did some unique art just for that, showing the Amyr’s symbol: the tower wrapped in a tongue of flame.

Limited seal

The other difference is that the Limited deck has the green card back.

Limited Deck

We won’t be doing another run of the limited edition. Once they’re gone, they’re gone.

(Fair Warning: Limited edition decks of Albino’s previous projects, like the White Rabbit cards or the Call of Cthulhu cards, sell for about 50 bucks online these days. So if you *really* want these, you might not want to wait too long.)

The Standard decks have the same art, but they have the red card back.

Standard Deck

And lastly, the Taborlin deck.

Taborlin Deck

This deck has an entirely different card back (which you can see more clearly if you click the picture above.) It shows Taborlin’s tools: Key, Coin, and Candle.

But that’s not the *really* cool thing. The cool thing is that this is a marked deck of cards.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve always wanted a marked deck. Not because I like the thought of cheating people at cards, but… because why wouldn’t you want a marked deck, just for fun? That’s why I called this the Taborlin Deck. It’s not for cheaters. It’s for magicians.

In this deck, the Lorren Bookmark card has been replaced with a card that describes the code embedded on the back.

So there you go. If you missed the kickstarter, or if you want to pick up a few more decks as presents, all three decks are available over here.

As I’ve said, the art Shane did for these decks was really amazing. So amazing that people wanted to buy it as posters.

So this month we’re making the Diamond face cards available.

Kilvin

Kilvin is the King of Diamonds, and you can grab his poster over here.

Devi

Devi is the Queen of Diamonds, and you can grab her poster over here.

Ambrose

And finally, Ambrose is the Jack of Diamonds, and based just a little bit off of Jim Butcher. You can buy his smarmy face over here.

As always, all proceeds from the Tinker’s Packs go to charity.

And if you don’t see what you were looking for, fear not. We’ll be posting more stuff up next month. Let us know what you were most interested in seeing in the comments, and we’ll do our best to make you happy.

Posted in Novelties, The Tinker's Packs | By Pat42 Responses

WMF Photo Contest Part IV: Babies and Knives

Okay. We’ve got the next installment of the photo contest.

You can find the other pieces here: [Prologue] [Part I] [Part II] [Part III]

Today we’re doing two rather… divergent categories: Babies and Knives.

  • Knives

For some reason, a fair  number of people sent in pictures of my book with some sort of blade-related theme. Not dozens of them, but a statistically significant amount. Enough to warrant a small category of their own.

No. 28 Sword

beach trip 2011 004

book is mightier than the sword
IMAG0048

I looked at this picture and said, “Wait, is that Glamring?” Then I went to check the internet and saw it was.

I don’t know if if I feel proud for recognizing it or not…

Our winner in this small category is…

folly_2

The composition is beautiful, and it reminds Amanda a little bit of the photos we took of my Gemmel award.

While normally, I don’t approve of book abuse, I have to admire this person’s dedication to the contest. Bravo.

  • Babies

This was one of our larger categories, since pretty much everyone had a cute kid who loved my book.

Bruce likes to read in the garden

Bruce here made an appearance in a few different photos, clearly engrossed in the book.

Just two more minutes please, I just got to a good bit

The title of this one was “Just two more minutes please, I just got to a good bit.” Which is pretty much exactly what it looks like happened.

bwuh

Image title can actually have a lot to do with which ones I like. For example, the above photo’s title was “bwuh.” It was pretty fun to say out loud. Amanda and I said it back and forth to each other for kind of a remarkable amount of time.

World's Best Big Sister

A big sister reading to her little brother. Or at least pretending to…

The Wise Man's Fear

My books tend to cause exhaustion, especially in such tiny bodies.

Sadness

Mommy probably just told her there’s no release date for book 3.

rothfuss_2

This was just an adorable picture.

Picture V

I respect anyone willing to dress their kid up in a cloak.

Picture A

I could do a kid’s book called, “The Littlest E’lir…”

mixed up diaper

He looks so proud of himself…

IMG_1031

Holy Sympathist Batman Kvothe did what

This one scores extra points because:

a) you can see the tape holding the glasses to the kid’s face,

and B) the image title was “Holy sympathist batman, Kvothe did WHAT??”

Winners:

Abby! WINNER

There were multiple pictures sent in of little Abby here, and Amanda declared that, although she has no intention of ever, *ever* having children, she would change her mind if she knew hers would come out as adorable as this.

That near-miracle by itself is worth a place in the winner’s circle.

Adem born WINNER for smug look

The incredibly smug look on this baby Adem won my heart.

Our Pride and joy

Here we’ve got someone who actually took the time to bring my book to the hospital for a photo op when they were having an actual baby. An act of devotion that you’d think would win them the top place on this list.

Except we’ve got someone who takes the concept of dedication to a whole different level:

DSC00060 (1024x768) WINNER

Reading during, and after, her labor.

DSC00104 (1024x768) WINNER

It looks like it was a long labor, considering how far she got in the book. Plus, I appreciate that she went the extra mile and wore one of the Kingkiller T-shirts we sell in the Tinker’s Packs. That was a nice touch.

* * *

There were too many baby and knife photos for us to fit into one blog. But we’ve got the others in over here if you want to check them out….

Posted in fan coolness, Photo Contest 2011 | By Pat23 Responses

“What Ho!”- A Belated Conclusion to an Adventure.

So I was at C2E2 last weekend, walking around the main hall with a friend, nodding and occationally fist-bumping readers who recognised me. (Too much hand-shaking leads to contagion at a convention.)

Eventually my friend asked, “What’s this Acquisiations Incorporated video people keep talking about?”

“I did a D&D thing with the guys from Penny Arcade and PVP last year,” I said. “We played a game at PAX Prime on stage. They taped it and put it online.”

“Why didn’t you put it up on your blog?” she said.

“I did,” I said.

“I’m pretty sure you didn’t,” she said.

I started to insist that I had, because I *remembered* doing it. I had a blast playing with them, and I even got Nate to do up some art for that blog post:

whatHo

But then I closed my mouth because over the last two years I’ve come to realize that I *intend* to write about a lot of stuff on the blog. But in reality, I don’t actually get around to finishing about 80% of the blogs I mean to.

Right now, for example, I have over 200 blogs that are in their “Draft” form here on WordPress. I am the king of broken promises.

When I got home, I looked online and saw I *had* posted a blog announcing my attendance at PAX, then another blog with more details about Acquisitions Inc….

But no blog with a follow-up link to the video itself.

So, for those of you who are reluctant to go clicking around all higgledy piggledy, here’s the 8-part audio podcast that leads up to the on-stage event.

Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4 / Part 5 / Part 6 / Part 7 / Part 8

In my opinion, a lot of these are even better than what happens later in the video. The video is about 2 hours, but the podcasts all together are 4-5 hours of solid geeky fun. I’ve been role playing for more than 25 years at this point, and Mike, Jerry, and Scott are the best sort of folks to tabletop with. So funny and quick on their feet. And Chris Perkins as DM is absolutely brilliant….

For those of you who aren’t into the whole podcast thing, here’s a vastly abridged, somewhat bowdlerized animated version of the podcast.

And here’s the video of the PAX game itself.

[Warning: I sing.]

If you want to see *all* the delightful, shiny geekery, you can head over to the D&D website. Acquisitions Inc has been going strong for several seasons, and it’s all archived over there. So there’s plenty to keep you busy until May 15th when the next episode of Nightvale comes out….

pat

Posted in Beautiful Games, gaming, geeking out, Tales from the Con, videos | By Pat25 Responses

The News: The Slow Regard of Silent Things

So here’s the news:

I have a book coming out around November-ish.

Slow Regard - Front

It’s not book three. It’s not a mammoth tome that you can use to threaten people and hold open doors.

It’s a short, sweet story about one of my favorite characters.

It’s a book about Auri.

That’s the news. The short version. If you’d like the long version, I’ll give that below….

*     *     *

I didn’t set out to write a book about Auri. I really didn’t.

What happened was this: a while back, I was invited to contribute something to George Martin’s Rogues anthology. I mentioned it a while back on the blog…

Wow. I just went looking for the blog post where I mentioned the Rogues anthology, only to discover that I kinda never wrote it.

Well. Okay. I guess y’all get a little side order of news with your news today:

rouges cover 2

I’m in this book too. It’s coming out in June.

What happened was this: a couple years back, George Martin and Gardner Dozois invited me to be in an anthology called Rogues. I said yes, because back in 2009, when I was working on The Wise Man’s Fear, they’d invited me to participate in a different anthology: Star Crossed Lovers.

But in 2009 I was behind deadline and freaked out about it. So I said “No” and went back to struggling with WMF. It broke my heart a little. Because it’s one of those anthologies you dream about being invited to. It was the anthology equivalent of getting invited to the cool-kid party back in high-school.

Anyway, when they asked me to contribute a story to Rogues back in 2012, I said yes for two reasons.

1. Because how fucking cool is it to be in this anthology? Look at my name up there, right next to Neil Gaiman’s. Seriously. Look at that. My name is almost touching Neil Gaiman’s name….

I know I should be cooler about this. I should pretend that I’m a professional and a grown-up and everything. But I’m really not. I’m still the same person who read Neverwhere back in the late 90′s and went, “What? Seriously? You can do that?”

And now I’m anthology-buddies with him. In fact, Gaiman’s story is “How the Marquis Got his Coat Back.” It’s about the Marquis De Carabas from Neverwhere.

The other reason I said yes was…

2. I’d had a story idea about Auri tickling around my head for a while. What’s more, I thought she would make a nice counterpoint to some of the other  classic rogue-type characters in the anthology. Sort of a trickster rogue, as opposed to a thief, swashbuckler, or a con man.

“Besides,” I thought to myself. “It’s just a short story. Three or four thousand words. Maybe 6 or 7 thousand if I run long. That’s about two week’s writing, tops.”

So I started writing about Auri. But as it unfolded, it went in directions I hadn’t expected. The story was… strange. I hit 3000 words and I was barely started. Writing about the Underthing was more complicated than I’d anticipated.

So the story got longer. I hit 7ooo words without even realizing it. I kept going, unearthing more secrets about Auri and the Underthing.

Eventually I hit about 15,000 words and forced myself to stop. It wasn’t going to work for the anthology, it was too long, and it wasn’t a trickster tale of the sort I initially expected it to be. Honestly didn’t know what the hell kind of story it was, but it wasn’t going to work for the anthology.

I e-mailed George and Gardner and begged for an extension on my deadline. They were very kind and understanding. I tried a few different things that failed miserably, then I realized who *really* belonged in an anthology about Rogues: Bast. Once I figured that out, I wrote “The Lightning Tree” for the anthology, and it worked out really well.

But I was stuck with half a story. Half a strange story. Half a strange, too-long story that wasn’t doing the things a story is supposed to do.

Reluctantly, I walked away from it and went back to working on book three. I love Auri, and the story had an odd sweetness to it. But I had work to do.

But the Auri story kept tickling at me. And let me tell you this, having a half-finished story stuck in your head is ten times worse than having a song stuck in there.

And there’s only one way to get it out. So when I came to a good stopping point in my revisions, I went back to the Auri story. It just wouldn’t leave me alone.

It ended up over 30,000 words long. An odd length for me. Much too long for a short story. Much shorter than my usual novels. (For a frame of reference, 30,000 words is about the same length as Neil Gaiman’s Coraline.)

What’s more, the story had unfurled into something full of secrets and mysteries. Something sweet and strange. Not a normal sort of story at all. I suppose it was silly of me to assume a story about Auri would be usual in any way.

The problem was, I had no idea what to do with it. I liked the story, but I like strange things. And I’m fond of Auri. And most importantly, I’m the author. Asking me if I like my story is like asking a mom if she likes her baby….

I showed it to a few people, and they seemed to like it pretty well. But they were friends, you can only trust them to be so honest with you.

I revised it a couple times, then showed it to a few authors. They liked it, but they agreed, it was an odd story.

Then I took a big risk and showed it to Vi Hart. As I’ve mentioned in an earlier blog where she put some of my lyrics to music, we are now Best Friends.

So I knew her, and respected her opinion, but since we haven’t known each other very long, I trusted her to tell me the truth.

She read it, and we talked about the story. She pointed out some things she thought were problematic. I agreed. She pointed out some things she liked, and I was flattered.

We were in a bar in San Fransisco at this point. The Casanova. We’d spent a lovely evening together, and I was drinking a little bit, which is unusual for me. And it might be because of that that I started to lament the fact that the story was kind of a hot mess. Good stories are supposed to contain certain elements, I explained, and my story didn’t have those things.

Vi said she liked it.

I told her I liked it too, but that didn’t change the fact that people expect certain things from a story. If people read this story looking for those things, they wouldn’t get them, they’d be dissatisfied. Disappointed.

And Vi said something I hope she’ll forgive me for paraphrasing here without asking her first. She said, “Fuck those people. Those people get all the other stories in the world. Everyone writes stories for them. This story is for people like me. We deserve stories too.”

That shut me up. Because she’s right. It might not be for everyone. But not every story has to be for everyone. Maybe this was just a story for people like me and Vi. People who are curious about Auri and the life she leads. People who are, perhaps, not entirely normal.

Vi said a few other things that gave me enough confidence to send the story to my agent. He liked it, and said we should show it to Betsy, my editor at DAW. Betsy liked it. Really liked it. The people in her office liked it.

That made me think that maybe it *was* a story for everyone. Or maybe there are more people like me and Vi in the world than either of us expected.

Anyway, the end result is this:

Slow Regard - Front

I’ll have more details about it later. Exact dates. If and when I’m touring. Those things are still up in the air a bit right now.

But today’s the day we’re officially announcing the cover, showing it off to people at C2E2 and letting it out onto the internet. I’ve been holding off on this post so y’all could be some of the very first people to see it.

I think a lot of you are going to like it.

Fondly,

pat

Posted in book covers, cool news, geeking out, Neil Gaiman, Stories about stories., the business of writing | By Pat145 Responses

The Tinker’s Packs: Signed Books, a New Poster, and a Game With Bast

Okay. For those of you waiting for news. I have news about that news. Meta-news, if you will.

The news-about-news is that I’ll be able to post up what I want to show you at the end of the week. Friday or Saturday. That will be my next blog.

And just so nobody’s hopes and dreams are crushed. It’s not going to be an announcement about the release of The Doors of Stone. But it will be an announcement about a book.

Is that vague enough for you?

Since I’ve got to hold off on that news, here’s something completely different for today…

*     *     *

As many of you already know, we run an online store called The Tinker’s Packs where you can buy…. well… kind of a whole bunch of stuff: Foreign editions of a lot of different fantasy books, t-shirts, jewelry, and hard-to-find copies of my books.

(Just so you know, all the money we make in the store goes to Worldbuilders.)

Last year, we tried a little experiment. In October, we put some signed books from other authors up in the store. New books that had just hit the shelves. It was a new thing for us, and we weren’t sure people would be interested.

They sold out in about a couple of hours.

Then in November, we tried it again. More new books signed by the authors.

Those sold out in just a couple hours too.

So we’ve decided to make this a regular thing. We’ll put up 3-4 new signed books in the store every month. You get to find out about new books, people get to add some cool signed copies of the books to their libraries, and Worldbuilders makes some money.

Everybody wins.

The only weak link in this plan is the name. I’ve been struggling to find a cool one, if we’re going to make this a regular thing. The best we’ve been able to come up with so far is “Library Builders.”

If y’all could come up with a better name, I’d welcome it. We’ll take suggestions down in the comments. If someone knocks it out of the park, they will be lavishly rewarded and promoted to minion first class, with all the privileges that entails.

Okay. Here’s what we’re adding to the store today. And remember, the books tend to sell fast, so if you want them, jump on them fast.

BreachZone - Bookplate

Here we’ve got the third book in the Shadow Ops series, and has been awesomely received so far. All the copies we have come with signed bookplates from Myke. Even cooler, one of the copies will come with one of the Challenge Coins Myke had printed as a special promo for his book. It was packaged in at random, so it’ll  be a surprise for everyone involved who gets it.

If you want one, get it before it’s gone.

Shibboleth

This is the sequel to The Twelve Fingered Boy. (My review on Goodreads, if you’re interested.) These are lovely first-edition hardcover copies, all signed by the author.

You can grab them over here.

SandersonBlogImage

This massive tome is the second in the Stormlight Archive series. Aside from putting Wise Man’s Fear to shame in word count, it hit #1 on the New York Times Bestseller List.

If you don’t have your copy yet, why not buy it from us, and put some money toward a good cause at the same time?

  • New Boss Monster Promo Cards

Some of you might remember the folks over at Boss Monster from last year when they created a special promo card for Kvothe. They printed 200 of them, and we sold practically all of them at Gencon. The few we brought back and put in the store got snapped up really quickly.

This year, they’ve done two more promo cards exclusively for us. Both of them are versions of Bast.

Bastas_-_Epic_Thief

(Click to Embiggen.)

It’s a fun game that the crew here has really enjoyed.

If you’ve never played, you can pick up both the game *and* the two promo cards.

BossMonsterSet

Or, if you already have the game, and you’re just looking to fill out your sets, you have the option of buying  just the cards, whether you want just one or both together.

There aren’t many copies of the Epic Hero Bastas, so if you want one, you should probably grab it soon…

  • “Calling” Poster

calling-compressed

I’m pretty open about the fact that I have a profile on Deviantart where I skulk about, looking at fanart.

A while back, I found this lovely depiction of Kvothe and asked the artist (Beth, who has a great portfolio) if we could use it for Worldbuilders. Much to my surprise, she graciously donated the rights for us to make some posters. We’ve got 200 of them in the store signed and numbered.

That’s all for now. I’ll be seeing some of you in Chicago soon.

Fondly,

pat

Posted in The Tinker's Packs | By Pat106 Responses

Chicago Events, Continued Teasing, and Trouper Lego

Hey there everyone.

I know y’all are waiting for news. I’m mostly over my cold, the internet is working in my house again, and almost halfway caught up on my e-mail (which is pretty good for me.)

Here’s the problem, right now I’m not officially authorized (heh) to share everything I want to share with you.

As a result, I’m holding off on my news post until I can give you a big ton of sparkly details and lurid details all at once.

For the nonce, we have some other news, and a completely different shiny thing that’s showed up on my radar.

Other News:

I’m going to be down in Chicago for C2E2 next week.

Friday, April 25 to Sunday, April 27
South Building at McCormic Place
2233 South Martin L. King Drive
Chicago, IL 60616
Facebook Event

My schedule is relatively light, but it looks pretty awesome:

Friday, April 25:
3-4pm: Spotlight on Patrick Rothfuss, S403
4:15-6:15: After-panel Signing, Table 1

Saturday, April 26:
1:30-2:30pm: GEEK GEEK REVOLUTION game show, S403, with Mark Frost, Kevin Hearne, Seth Fishman and Lydia Kang, and moderated by John Scalzi.

I’ll be doing a signing at a local bookstore too, for those of you who aren’t big convention goers. The lovely folks at the Seminary Co-Op Bookstores set it up for me, and it’ll be hosted at the University of Chicago.

Monday, April 28, 6pm
International House at the University of Chicago
1414 E 59th St
Chicago, Illinois 60637
Facebook Event

Hope to see some of you down there. I don’t know when I’ll be back in that neck of the woods again.

Miscellaneous Coolness:

A while back, a fan named Glen tipped me off about something cool they submitted on the Lego website:

trouper's wagon(You should click to embiggen this one)

If this becomes a thing, Glen is going to get a cut of the action for having the great idea and design. Even cooler, Glen has offered to give half of that cut to Worldbuilders.

Why doesn’t it specifically say they’re Edema Ruh from the Kingkiller world? Because Glen is smart. First, he didn’t want to step on my intellectual property, which I appreciate. Second, because Lego has fairly stringent standards regarding overall family-friendliness of their sets. So not only would licensing be a Huge Legal Thing. But my books have some content that would probably red flag the whole deal.

I’m no Joe Abercrombie or anything, but I’m still fairly gritty.

pat lego kvothe lego

Guess who these handsome devils are? Yeah. You don’t have to guess too hard. I like how he made it so my Wizard’s Staff has a Knob on the End.

If you’d like this to be a thing, you can Vote Over Here.

And even if you don’t care much for voting, you should probably check out the website, anyway. Cool stuff.

Posted in appearances, fan coolness, Worldbuilders | By Pat37 Responses

Something Like a Star

Tonight, Oot brought me a penny he’d found on the floor.

“Look,” he said. “It’s burned.”

Say something to us we can learn By heart and when alone repeat. Say something! And it says, 'I burn.'

It wasn’t a bad guess, everything said. A good guess, but wrong. It’s corroded.

For half a moment I thought about correcting him on this, but I didn’t.

Looking back, I could come up with some excuse for *why* I didn’t correct him. I could claim that corrosion is sort of like a slow chemical burning. But that would be bullshittery. The truth was, at that moment, it didn’t feel right to correct my boy. So I didn’t. I went with my gut.

“Maybe it got too close to the sun,” Oot said.

This was another good guess. Though it was probably wrong as well.

What pleased me is that my decision to keep my mouth shut paid such an immediate dividend.

If I’d told my boy the truth right away, he would have nodded and said, “Oh of course!” Or “Oh, I see!” And he would have gained a tiny fact. Namely, that a coin that looks like this is corroded. (Something he could have parroted back to me. But that he wouldn’t have understood in any meaningful way.)

But that’s not what happened. Instead, left to himself. His curiosity was engaged. He asked a question of himself, “How could this have gotten burned?”

Then he came up with an answer: It might have gotten to close to the sun.

This isn’t a bad guess. He knows fire would have to be pretty hot to burn metal. A match isn’t going to do it. What’s hotter than that? The sun.

And here’s the thing. He’s wrong. But the process he’s going though is good. What he’s actually doing, asking questions and attempting to figure out the answers, it’s the roots of rationality. The process he’s undertaking is the core of all true philosophy and science.

He looked at the penny again. “Actually,” He says. “It looks like moss.”

It’s called “verdigris,” I thought. It’s like rust, but it happens on copper instead of iron. Also, interesting fact, it’s mildly poisonous.

I thought that, but I kept my mouth shut.

Why? Because I am occasionally wise.

Because this is not the internet.

(Comic loveliness from the brilliant XKCD, of course.)

Because when a child comes to you in the full flush of discovery, brimming with excitement, correcting them is not the proper thing to do.

Because the truth is, facts can be small, sad things.

But learning to ask questions and guess at answers? That is the beginning of true understanding. Those are the bones of the world.

*     *     *

I have news. I’ll be posting about it as soon as I have internet in my house again. Stay tuned.

Posted in Oot, The Art of Letting Go, Warning: Mild Literary Faffery | By Pat89 Responses
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