Category Archives: a ganglion of irreconcilable antagonisms

A blog, if only barely.

Hey there everyone,

You know that thing that happens sometimes, when you slowly drift out of contact with a friend? Something changes in your life, or maybe a few things, and you slowly start to see them less often. Call them less often. Talk less often.

And before you know it, it’s been *ages* since you’ve talked. And it just feels weird reaching out for no reason? And it feels weird reaching out when you *do* have a reason too, because then you worry that it seems like you only give them a call when you need help moving a couch or digging up an old friend’s address.

I don’t know if that makes any sense to you. I kinda hope it doesn’t. It’s a lousy feeling. It sucks to drift away from friends.

For those of you who do know how it feels, or can imagine it…. well…. that’s how I’ve been feeling about the blog lately.

Except it’s not that simple. I still think of stories that it would be fun to tell…. but the thought of putting them up here? It wearies me. I feel so tired all the time lately. And it’s not just that I’m too busy, underslept, and behind on everything. It’s not just that the world is very heavy on me lately, and I’ve been having trouble finding joy. It’s not just that my dad passed away last year….

Did you know I’m the oldest person in my family now? I have no grandparents left. No parents. There are four of the Rothfuss name left in Wisconsin. One is my little sister, and the others are my boys. I love my sister, and the boys are a delight. But it is strange to be eldest. And it is strange to be so alone.

This is the other reason I don’t write much in the blog lately: A lot of my thoughts are not cheerful. I am not full of cute kid stories and musings on the nature of love. Lately I think about the fact that I need glasses to read. Which may seem like a small thing to you, especially if you’ve always worn glasses. But for me? I’ve read a book or two a day for my entire life. I’ve spent more time in my life reading than… probably any other activity. I’ve always been able to pick up a book and just… go. Just leave for somewhere else. I’ve lived so many other lives in so many other worlds.

And now I can’t do it any more unless I wear glasses. It’s like I’ve spent my whole life being able to travel to Narnia and now someone put a lock on the wardrobe door….

See? That’s some bummer shit right there. Who wants to read a blog about that? And I don’t know if it’s good for me to spend  hours of my life writing down my grim maunderings about the shape of the world and my own impending mortality. It would be like a shittier version of The Love Song of Alfred J Prufrock where I replaced all the literary allusions with me shouting the word “fuck” all the time.

Anyway, I was just poking my head up on here to say… well… I guess I’m saying that I’m sorry we’ve been drifting apart, you and I. (And by you, I mean my blog, and the people who used to enjoy reading it.)

I hope we can figure out how to have fun together again at some point. I’m going to try posting up some little blogs soon. Just small things so that maybe  can remember what it was like when we just goofed off on here. I could show off presents people have sent me. Or talk about the time I got to hug Telly.

Poor telly. What a terrible expression of existential dread. I’m so sorry.

Anyway. That’s all I have for now, folks.

Take care of each other.

pat

 

P.S. Also, for those of you who are into games, stories, and/or The Name of the Wind, there’s a cool storytelling game happening on kickstarter right now. The folks from Brotherwise games reached out to me a while back, and I liked the game enough to let them develop a 75 card expansion for it based off my books.

There are only 3 days left in the kickstarter. So if you’re the sort of person who loves kickstarter exclusives, you might want to hop on over there and check it out. 

Sorry that I haven’t mentioned it before now, but like I said. The blogs… they haven’t been coming so easy lately.

Maybe I’ll try to do a little blog where I show off some off some of the cards they’re prototyping for the game tomorrow. That might be an easy one to do… Help me get back into the swing of talking about fun things.

Anyway. Yeah. If you’re curious, here’s your link.

Later Edit: I just left a comment on my blog for the first time in a while. That new Gapcha is…. interesting. I think it’s going to be irritating in the long run though. I’ll see if I can find something a little less time consuming….

Also posted in emo bullshit, gaming, musings, the man behind the curtain | By Pat421 Responses

The Obligatory Election Blog.

Well. Here we are.

I approach this blog with all the eagerness and delight of a man about to shut his dick in a car door. But if I don’t write it, I won’t feel good about myself.

The problem is, I don’t even know where to start. So I guess I’ll do what I always do, and just tell a story….

*     *     *

About a month ago, I got to hang out with one of my fellow authors. Partway through the conversation he turns to me and says, “You’ll appreciate this. I turned in my manuscript two months late.”

I did appreciate it. He’s one of the workhorses of the genre. Gets his job done on time. He’s a machine. Him turning in a book two months late is like me turning in a book fifteen years late. “Congratulations,” I said.

“I apologized to my editor,” he said. “Told her that it was this election. It’s ruining me. It’s all I can think about.”

“Was she pissed?” I asked.

He shook his head. “She told me pretty much every book for the spring lineup is getting turned in late. Everyone’s brainsick. Everybody’s a wreck about the election.”

I hadn’t known, but I wasn’t surprised. You can’t chop wood with a broken collarbone. And when your head is in a bad place, it’s hard to do work that requires your head.

Writing, if you hadn’t guessed, is pretty head intensive.

It’s cold comfort, I suppose. My writing hasn’t been going well either.

I’m scared. My faith in humanity has been shaken kinda badly. I am afraid for my country.

I’ve been thinking about the election a lot, too….

*     *     *

I don’t talk about politics on the blog very much. Not because I don’t care, but because at my heart I’m a teacher. And deep down in my heart of hearts, I know that talking about this election is kinda pointless, because everyone is way too hot right now. Everyone’s way too emotional. Everyone is way too certain of themselves.

This means that very little actual learning can take place. The people who agree with me aren’t going to agree with me *more.* And the people who disagree with me probably aren’t going to change their minds.

So why would I write this? God knows I’ve got better things to do. I mean, Worldbuilders is right around the corner. We’re crazy busy gearing up for that.

So why do this?

Well… because with moderate power comes moderate responsibility, I suppose. People read this blog, so if there’s the chance even a handful of you might find some merit in what I say… I kinda have to try.

So let’s tell another story….

*     *     *

Earlier this year I was on an airplane sitting next to an older guy. Sixties or so. Retired. We talked about Wisconsin, and farming, and charity, and eventually things wandered into the realm of politics.

It was a pretty easy conversation. This was maybe six months ago, before the primaries, so things weren’t nearly so crazy.

“Who are you for?” I asked.

“Clinton,” he said. “You?”

“Bernie,” I said. “I’d vote for Clinton though.”

He nodded agreeably. “I’d vote for Bernie.”

And that was about it. It was a nice conversation. It was nice to have a gentle disagreement with another human, but to know that ultimately we were both on the same team.

I’ll admit that I was kinda pissed that Bernie didn’t get the nomination. I had my heart set on him, and part of the reason is that I knew he would take Trump apart at the seams because… well… partly because he was an old white guy. And generally speaking, people are more likely to vote for an old white guy. We’re used to it.

Since then though, I’ve had a straight-up change of heart. These days, I admire Clinton.

Sure I disagree with some of her policies. Sure I disagree with some things she’s done.

But fuck. Show me someone I *don’t* disagree with from time to time.

This woman has been through hell and she is still in there swinging. She’s carved out of wood.

I’d be proud of our country if we elected her president.

*     *     *

At one of my events this week, someone asked me if I died, who would I want to finish my book?

It’s not an uncommon question. And I have thought about it. My books are important to me. They’re precious, and they need to be taken care of.

Despite this, when I was asked that question recently, I couldn’t name anyone.

But I can tell you this, I would rather it be someone with experience writing books. A Jemisin. A Sanderson. A Butcher. A Kowal.

If I die and someone says, “I’ve never written a book, but I’m sure I’d be super great at it!”

Please don’t let them write my book. Because that person would be an idiot. Writing a book is hard.

I’m pretty sure being a politician is harder.

*     *     *

Want a confession? Back in 1992, I voted for Perot.

It was a long time ago. 25 years. And I don’t remember much about the election. I was 19 years old, which is pretty much the same thing as saying I was a huge goddamn idiot.

Oh I didn’t *feel* like an idiot. I was completely self-confident. But trust me when I say this: self-certain is the worst kind of idiot you can be. (Think about Kvothe, folks. I kinda know what I’m talking about here.)

I don’t remember my reasoning for that vote, but I do remember feeling REALLY smug. Because I’d stuck it to the man. I’d rebelled. I’d shown the world what I thought of their fucking politicians! I’d voted for an outsider! I was a rebel! A free thinker!

Here’s the thing: if everyone’s trying to order pizza, and they’re either going to get pepperoni thin crust or plutonium deep dish, and you vote for “elephant” you’re not a free thinker. At best, you’re wasting people’s time. At worst….

*     *     *

My point is this: if you’re thinking of voting third party. I understand. I really do.

But distrust of *all* politicians is…. well… it’s kinda bullshit thinking. Politics is a special type of administration. It’s a job. It’s a set of specific skills.

Y’know why I like my therapist? Because he’s super fucking good at his job. And he’s good at his job because he went to school for it, and he’s been doing his job for over 30 years.

When I hire a plumber or a painter or an illustrator, you know what I look for? Experience.

You know why I decided to publish The Name of the Wind with Betsy Wollheim at DAW? Because she has a lifetime of publishing experience.

Hillary has a *ton* of experience in politics.

Trump has *no* experience. Not just less experience. No experience.

He has no experience in politics or international diplomacy.

No experience.

*     *     *

I know if you’re voting for Trump, there’s probably nothing I can do to change your mind.

But could you do me a favor?

If you’re only voting for Trump because of something Clinton did, could you head over to Snopes and see if maybe she really did it?

I would really appreciate that.

*     *     *

If you are thinking of sitting out this election, can I ask you for a favor?

Could you please vote?

If you trust me, I’ll vouch for Hillary. And for Feingold, if you’re in Wisconsin.

I wouldn’t ask if it wasn’t important.

*     *     *

If you’re voting for Hillary, can I ask you a favor?

Can you call some of the people on your phone who might be sitting the election out? Give them a nudge? Maybe offer them a ride to the poll they need one?

Maybe send them a link so they can find out where to vote? How to vote? What they need to vote?

That’s what I’m doing today. It will be hard.

Everyone is so tired of the election. Nobody wants to talk about it any more.

But we have two more days to make a difference.

This is really important.

Thanks,

pat

Also posted in things I shouldn't talk about | By PatComments closed

My Kind of Crazy

Back around 1995 or so, in my early college years, I went over to a friend’s house and sat down on the couch next to him. He was watching a documentary about David Bowie.

I didn’t listen to much music as a kid, and I grew into an adult that doesn’t listen to much music, either. Back then, I didn’t have the slightest idea who Bowie was. After watching this documentary for about 45 seconds, I made some sort of snide comment about this person on the screen. Just shooting my mouth off. I probably said something about how this guy was obviously just a attention whore, and a garish, desperate one at that.

My friend, who knew a *lot* about music turned to look at me for a long moment. And while he didn’t look at me in disgust… well… his expression was a close cousin to disgust.

“Dude,” he said. “David Bowie is you. If you had money and talent,” he hesitated for a moment, looking me over, then added. “And style.”

At the time, the comment did what it was meant to do: it put me in my place and shut me up. Later in my life, I took it as a huge compliment, even if my friend hadn’t meant it that way.

Today, I just learned that Bowie died. I’ve been thinking about him, and reading about what people are saying about him online. And here’s the truth: Bowie didn’t have a huge impact on my life. I’ve never owned one of his albums, or even listened to one of them all the way though. (Like I said above, I came to music late in my life, and .)

But I always was glad he was out there, doing his thing. Looking at the two of us, at our lives or our careers, there’s not much similar there. But I like to think we were on the same team. That we were fighting the same fight.

As to what that fight is… well… that’s hard to articulate. Every time I try to simplify it, it doesn’t sound right. This particular sentiment doesn’t lend itself well to slogans, but “Get down with your bad self” and “Let your freak flag fly” come pretty close.

In an odd connection, as I write this, I find myself thinking of John Green’s phrase, “Imagine me complexly.” I think that Bowie was the crystallized embodiment of that concept. He defies simplistic reduction. It is impossible to think of him in a simple way.

(Also, John. If you’re reading this, I think you’d be a great Bowie for Halloween some year. You should really consider it.)

That’s all. I don’t really have a point here. No thrilling conclusion. No narrative arc. No anagnorisis. Just musings.

Be good to each other, people.

pat

Posted in a ganglion of irreconcilable antagonisms | By Pat40 Responses
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