Category Archives: blogging

My Fictional Nature

It’s strange to me, knowing that if I write a blog, thousands of people will read it. Thousands and thousands. A ridiculous number of people, really.

It was less strange when I wrote the College Survival Guide for the campus paper. With the column, I knew what my job was. I wanted to make people laugh, and maybe, occasionally, slip a bit of reasonable advice to my unsuspecting readership.

Pure advice is unpalatable. It’s preachy. But if you make people laugh a little, they may not notice you’ve slipped them a little bit of truth. And even if they do notice, they’re more likely to forgive you for it.

I was a tiny bit of a local celebrity when I wrote that column for the campus paper. A few hundred people read it every week. On rare occasion people would recognize me as that-guy-who-writes-that-column. Once, the guy delivering a pizza to my house looked at my name on the credit card receipt and said, “Are you THE Pat?”

I laughed. “I didn’t know I’d become superlative,” I said.

I haven’t done the column for a couple years. These days I channel my humor writing into the blog instead. But there’s a difference. Back then I was a little bit famous because people read my column. Now people read my blog because I’m a little bit famous.

There’s more to it than that, of course. People read the blog because it’s amusing, or because they’re interested in news about upcoming projects and appearances. They tune in because they’re curious about book two, or because they’re looking for writing advice.

But mostly, people read the blog because they read my book and were curious about the author.

So I tell stories and post pictures. I screed and opine. I post up little pieces of my life. Then y’all take those pieces, fit them together, and you form an impression of me in your heads.

This is the interesting thing. It’s something I think about a lot. That person you create in your head out of these bits and pieces. That Pat Rothfuss you get to know from the blog, he’s fictional.

(It’s true that you could say the same thing of anyone. You could say that you don’t really *know* any of your friends or family, you just have flawed impressions of them based on your limited perceptions and experience.

This might be true in some small theoretical way, but in a bigger more practical way it’s pure bullshit. You know your friends. Let’s not become hopelessly meta here. If you follow that line of reasoning too far you end up in the pointless philosophical morass of relativistic solipsism.)

Anyway, my point is this: I think about this fictional Pat Rothfuss sometimes. I wonder what he’s like.

I expect in some ways, fictional Pat is pretty much like me. I’m honest to the point of blinding stupidity, and I talk about things here on the blog that any sensible person would keep quiet about. Anyone who’s ever seen me speak in public can attest to the fact that I can’t help but express myself freely and clearly, even if it’s not entirely appropriate.

Still, I can’t deny that I present an edited version of my life on here. The blog lies by omission. I talk about my signings and answer fanmail. I post a cute picture of my baby and talk about the new foreign edition of my book. I link to an interview and do a fundraiser for my favorite charity.

Given all of that, fictional Pat seems to have a pretty swank life. He seems really nice. He seems kinda cool.

And that makes me feel dishonest, because it’s not really true. You’re putting together the fictional me without the grubby bits. The truth is, I am at times a contemptible human being. The truth is, I have deplorable habits.

For example, when I go on Facebook, I post status updates talking about Dr. Horrible. Or I joke about the dream where I ended up in bed with Willow and Spike. I don’t mention what happened the other day with Oot.

You see, right now Oot loves my beard. In terms of desirability, beard ranks #3 in all creation. Boobs hold the top spot, of course, and the telephone is currently a strong #2. But other than that, he loves nothing more than to clutch at my beard.

I think gripping it appeals to some primal, monkey part of him. He gets his sticky little hands tangled up in the beard, and some piece of his primal baby brain thinks: “Good. I’m safe. If we’re attacked by a predator and forced to run to safety, I won’t be left behind.”

The problem is this: if you don’t have a long beard, you have no idea how painful it is to have it pulled. He could swing from my hair from all I care. He’s even managed to kick me square in the junk several times in an ongoing  campaign of sibling prevention. Those pains are nothing by compairison. Having your beard pulled hurts as much as when you’re walking around barefoot in the middle of the night and you stub your little toe really hard against a table-leg.

Usually I’m able to head him off when he grabs for it, but his motor skills have really been developing lately. So the other day, before I know it, he has both drooly little hands in it up to his forearms, then he yanks on it for everything he’s worth.

“Ahhh!” I shout. “Stop it you little fucker!”

Oot doesn’t seem to mind in the least. For all he knows I’ve just called him by one of his other countless names, (Thunderbutt, Prancibald, The Dampener…) He just laughs and tugs the beard some more, happy to be safe from prowling lions and packs of hyenas.

Still, it’s a shitty thing to say to your baby, and I feel bad about it.

The point is this: I suspect that fictional Pat would never refer to his adorable baby as, “you little fucker.” I suspect he’s better than that. I expect he’s a nicer person than I am.

Part of me thinks, even as I write this, “Of course you don’t talk about those things on the blog. Why *would* you? That’s not why people read the blog. You’re supposed to be putting your best foot forward….”

But then I think about that fictional Pat again, and I feel dishonest. There’s a difference between putting your best foot forward and subtly misrepresenting yourself.

The thing is, professionally, I should be careful here on the blog. If I was going to be smart about this, I’d never talk about sex or politics or religion, never make any jokes that could offend anyone, never tell you a story that makes me looks like the idiot I sometimes am. The smart thing for me to do is carefully groom and maintain this fictional Pat and use him as a promotional tool.

But the truth is, the thought of maintaining that sort of professional persona makes me distinctly uncomfortable. Given the choice, I think I’d rather be too honest and have you like me a little less. I’d much prefer to look like a bit of an ass, because… well… I am a bit of an ass.

So tomorrow I think I’ll post up a story of one of the countless times I’ve made an fool of myself in public. Maybe I’ll tell a few of those stories. I don’t know if they’ll help round out the fictional Pat some of you have come to know, but I expect it will make me feel a little bit less like a poser.

Barring that, it should be good for a laugh or two.

See y’all tomorrow….

Pat

Also posted in a few words you're probably going to have to look up, BJ Hiorns Art, College Survival Guide, emo bullshit, ethical conundra, my beard, Oot, things I shouldn't talk about | By Pat113 Responses

WordPress….

Back before the book came out, the PR people at Penguin said, “Good news! We have enough money to get your a website.”

I said, “Cool.”

They said, “What would like to have on the website?”

So I thought about what might be cool. Maps. A bestiary. Samples of music. An FAQ. A way for readers to contact me…

“…and maybe a blog,” I said. “I could probably try doing that.”

Of course, it quickly became apparent that my fancier ideas were problematic because I don’t have any graphic skill or the ability to code.  but blogging comes fairly easy to me. Probably all those years I spent writing for the campus paper.

All this while, through three years and roughly 350 blogs, I’ve been using blogger. Not through any concious choice, mind you. It’s just what the website people gave me, so I used it.

The interface wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great, either. There were certain features I wanted, but they didn’t seem to be available. Eventually I did some research and discovered what I probably wanted to be using was WordPress. That’s what most of the pros and tech-heads use.

So this week the website folks migrated my blog over to WordPress. Most everything should look the same, the old blogs are still there (though we lost some comments, sorry.)

It feels a lot nicer already. Smoother. The interface is intuitive. I don’t know if this is the Cadillac of blogging tools, but it’s at least a nice Lexus. Blogger was sort of like a Geo Metro I used to drive. Serviceable but tinny.

I’ll beg your indulgence while I’m getting used to the new platform. Normal blog-service should return on Monday, but I have way more buttons and gewgaws available to me now. As I play with them, I’m bound to fuck some things up.

For example. There’s a button up on my toolbar with a honest-to-god omega on it. I’m almost afraid to push it. Do I really want to potentially Omega my blog?

I think I do.

Oh. It just adds special characters to my text. Ω. Not quite as cool as I was hoping, but not as dangerous as I feared. I can use it to spell Tinuë the right way. Functional. I like functional. ƒ

And how about a link? Let’s see what I have in my bookmarks…

Holy shit! Homestar Runner posted something new! They’ve been MIA for about four months now. I was worried about them.

Lastly and leastly, let’s see if I can post a picture.

Hmmm…. nope. Got an error message.

See what I mean? It will probably be a couple weeks before we’re back up to full speed. But once I’m over my learning curve, we’ll be better than ever. Promise.

See you soon folks,

pat

Posted in blogging | By Pat83 Responses

Being Thankful.

Quite frequently, something happens in my life and I think, “I should mention this on my blog.”

This is one of those unpleasant truths that I’m reluctant to come to grips with.

I think part of the problem is the word “blog.” I never felt this way when I would think similar thoughts about the humor column I wrote, or when I think, “I’m going to put that in the novel.”

I know a lot of people who struggle to think of material to put on their blogs. I’m the other way around. If I went with my natural tendencies, I’d be writing little stories up here every day, maybe more. Slowly I would move all my writing energy into the blog, then it would start eating into other parts of my life too. Drawing time and energy away from vital activities like eating and playing videogames. Eventually they would find my shriveled husk in front of the computer.

Because I don’t blog all the things I think of, sometimes interesting little stories get left by the wayside. This ensaddens me.

For example, months ago, I was driving around with Sarah. We were bickering, which is like arguing, but cleverer. We’re really good at bickering. We could bicker for our country if they ever made it an Olympic sport.

The key to our successful bickering is the fact that we argue about stupid shit. We’re also articulate, witty, and in love. Lastly, I am funny as hell, and Sarah is absolutely batshit crazy.

This leads to great bickerings. Honestly, I wish I had a lot of them on tape.

So we’re driving around, bickering, and Sarah says, “Whenever you call me a rule utilitarian it makes my womb clench.

And I thought, “I’ve got to mention this on my blog.”

Not the reason for the bickering, which I can’t remember. Not any of the context, which really isn’t that important. I just wanted to share that sentence because I knew if I didn’t, you’d never run into it at any other point in your lives. Ever.

Sometimes the blogs that get put off are more substantive. I put those off because they’ll take a lot of time and energy to get right.

And sometimes they aren’t hard to write, they just get buried in the ephemera of daily life. Then when I rediscover them, I think, “Shit. I can’t believe I haven’t posted anything about that yet…”

This is an example of something thus belated.

Those of you who have been on the blog for a while probably remember Captain Joe. If not for his comments on the blog, then for his strong showing in the photo contest last year….

After last year’s minor debacle with the Locus Award, I posted a blog wherein I generally lamented the unfairness of all God’s creation.

In response to that blog. Captain Joe sent me this.

And a close-up of the wordage.

Later, I found out he actually made it. Found the wood, burned it and glazed it. Installed the clock….

In short, it was some serious above the call of duty coolness.

So I just wanted to take this opportunity to share this coolness, and thank him for it in a very belated way. If I had my way, I would have them write “Winner of Captain Joe’s Most Kickass Novel of the Century Award,” on the new version of the book when it comes out. But I’m pretty sure the marketing people have their hearts set on the whole NYT bestseller thing….

Later folks,

pat

Also posted in awards, fan coolness, Sarah | By Pat71 Responses
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