Category Archives: Rage

FAQ: Why haven’t you been posting on your blog?

Well, it looks like this blog isn’t going to write itself, so I guess I should just get it over with. Like tearing off a Band-Aid….

My dad has cancer.

That’s the reason I haven’t been writing in the blog for the last two months. It’s also the reason that I’ve canceled the European book tour I had planned for November.

That’s the short version. There’s more details below for people who want them.

Why am I writing about this on my blog?

1. I feel like people deserved an explanation.

When I canceled my European tour, it ended up inconveniencing and disappointing a lot of people. I had signings and interviews set up in England, France, The Netherlands, Germany, and Spain.

I figured I owed them more than a vague, “Mr. Rothfuss had to cancel due to personal reasons.”

Along similar lines, I haven’t been good about answering my e-mail these last couple months. There have been long delays and lost messages. A lot of you send in cool pictures for the photo contest and never saw the results that I’d promised on the blog.

I figured y’all deserved an explanation too….

2. To prevent gossip and rumormongoring.

When I stopped posting on my blog, the Facebook fan page, and Google+ people started asking questions. They wrote posts and sent me e-mails asking what was up. Not long after that, people started posting theories about what was wrong, where I was, what I was doing….

I knew that if I just came back after two months of silence and pretended like nothing happened, there would be *more* questions and guesses. So I’m deciding to nip it all it the bud by giving y’all the honest truth.

What kind of cancer does he have?

Lung cancer.

Those of you who have been reading the blog for a long time might remember the blog that I wrote a couple years ago where I talked about… well… a lot of things. Including the fact that my mom was diagnosed with lung cancer in the fall of 2006, and that she died about five months later, a couple weeks before The Name of the Wind first hit the shelves.

While that was happening, my dad was diagnosed with lung cancer too. In January of 2007 he went into the hospital to have two thirds of his lung removed.

Since then, we’ve been keeping our fingers crossed, hoping that his cancer was gone for good. Every six months he’d go in for a scan, and we’d hold our breath until the results came back, letting us know that he was clean. He passed the one year mark, the two year mark, but we knew until he hit 5 years, he wasn’t really considered “cancer free.”

We almost made it. But this summer, when we were coming up on our 4.5 year mark, something showed up on his adrenal gland. It took a lot of testing to be sure, but now we know that it’s the lung cancer that’s come back.

Essentially, it’s like this:

(For some of you, this image is going to be cut off. Just click on it to see the whole thing.)

[I’ve mentioned XKCD on the blog before, and I’m guessing the vast majority of you already read it. It’s one of my absolute favorite comics. And I dearly hope I’m not overstepping the bounds of politeness or the creative commons license by reposting the image here.

If you don’t read it, you really should. The author, Randall Munroe, in addition to having vasty stores of smarts and humor, has a profound talent for clear visual depictions of abstract concepts. I would hire him to map out the snarly meta-layered skein that is the plot of my trilogy, (it would make a really cool poster) but I’m guessing he has better things to do.]

How bad is it?

The cancer is: “treatable but not curable.” Which sounds nicer than “terminal,” but means pretty much the same thing.

That said, things could be worse. We Rothfi are hardy stock. We could get lucky. What’s more, the cancer has taken its sweet time coming back, and its moving slowly. These are both things I have come to admire in a cancer.

My dad is just starting his second week of chemo, and it’s going pretty well. No huge side effects. He’s feeling pretty good. He still plays golf and hangs out with Oot.

So what now?

Now I go back to writing the blog pretty much the same way I did before. Which is to say I’m going to mostly dick around, tell stories, and amuse myself.

I might talk about how things are going with my dad if I feel like it, but I don’t expect it to be a regular thing.

What can I do to help?

I’m putting an answer to this question up because, as a group, y’all endlessly surprise me by being amazingly decent human beings. And I know if I don’t address this here in the blog, I’ll probably get several dozen e-mails (if not several hundred) offering help of various sorts.

So let me say in advance: Thanks. I appreciate the offer, but odds are unless you’re an oncologist who specializes in adenocarcinoma, we’re covered.

I’ve turned off the comments on this post for the simple reason that I don’t have any desire to read comments. It’s not that I don’t want to hear your well-wishings, it’s that I don’t want to host a discussion on this topic right now. Doesn’t sound like a ton of fun to me.

If you *really* want to send some well-wishings, you can drop a card to my P.O. box, and I’ll pass it along to my dad.

You can address it to:

Grandfather Sir
PO BOX 186
Stevens Point, WI 54481

And that’s all for now.

Thanks for your patience, everyone. And stay tuned. I’ve got a large backlog of blogs built up, and I’ll be posting them up pretty quickly.

Also, this year’s Worldbuilders is on the way. We’ve got some cool things coming with that….

pat

Also posted in Fuck Cancer, things I shouldn't talk about, travel abroad | By PatComments closed

Election Day

Today, a lot of people will be encouraging you to vote.

Not me.

I’m encouraging you to do some research into the actual facts about the candidates up for election. I’m talking about real facts here. Not what you heard on a TV ad. Not some bullshit printed on a flier and mailed to you. Facts. Not spin. Not propaganda. Not some party line. Not some thing your friend heard about this guy this one time. Not fearmongering lies poured into your ear like some goddamn poison.  Facts, you fuckers. Facts!

Then and only then should you go out and vote.

If you vote without knowing the facts, you are barely a human being in my opinion.

This has been a Public Service Announcement brought to you by a joint effort of the Committee for You People Getting Your Heads Out Of Your Asses and Americans Tired Of Our Government Being Fucked Up Because So Many People Are Content To Remain Ignorant, Easily Manipulated Sheep.

Off to double-check my facts,

pat

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

Everyone Hates Their Job Sometimes…

Here’s the truth. Sometimes I hate writing this fucking book.

I know this isn’t something most of you want to hear. You want to hear that it’s going well. (Which is it.) You also want to hear that I love every moment of writing it. It’s my baby, right? You have to love your baby…

Well, yes. But technically I’ve been working on this trilogy since 1994. The book is more like a teenager in some ways. You love a teenager too, but you can also be angry with a teenager. And sick of its endless shit.

The problem is this. People want to believe that being a published writer is a beautiful, happily-ever-after, candy mountain place where all your dreams come true.

Unfortunately, that’s bullshit.

This is a part of something I’ve come to think of as The Myth of the Author. I’m not going to get into the details right now. That’s a blog for a whole different day. But the gist of my theory is that, in general, people think of writers as a different sort of person. And by extension, writing is a different sort of work. It’s strange and wonderful. It’s a mystic process. It can’t be quantified. It’s not chemistry, it’s alchemy.

While some of that is true, this belief makes it really difficult for me to bitch about my job.

For example, if a doctor wrote a blog saying. “Fuck! sometimes I hate being a doctor…” People would read it and say, “Yeah man. I can see where you’re coming from. Long hours. Tons of responsibility. People expect a lot out of you. That’s a rough gig.”

On the other hand, if I come on here and bitch about my job. People will be disappointed. Irritated even.

Why would people be irritated? For several reasons.

Reason #1: It’s irritating when people complain about having a simple job.


Of course, writing a novel isn’t simple. Anyone that’s ever tried writing one knows this. The problem is, a lot of people haven’t tried. They assume writing is easy because, technically, anyone can do it.

To illustrate my point: Just as I was getting published, I met one of the big, A-list fantasy authors. (Who will remain nameless here.)

He told me the story of the time he’d met a doctor at a party. When the author mentioned that he wrote for a living, the doctor said: “Yeah, I was going to write a novel. But I just don’t seem to have the time.”

The author got a irritated just telling me this story. “When you say something like that,” he said. “It’s like saying being a writer doesn’t take any skill. It’s something anyone can do. But only a very slim percentage of the population can write well enough to make a living at it. It’s like going up to a doctor and saying, ‘yeah. My appendix was inflamed. I was going to take it out myself, but I didn’t really have the time.'”

Newbie writer that I was, I simply enjoyed the story, privately thinking that surely *my* readers would never be so foolish to assume that. And even if they did, I wouldn’t mind that much…

Fast forward to earlier this year, when I got the following e-mail:

Hi Patrick,

I’m a librarian, former teacher. I just read your book, very good. But, boy do you have a problem. Finishing tasks?? Why isn’t your editor doing a better job of guiding you? Here’s my quick recommendation: stop going to conventions. Your first book is a great hit, you don’t need any more marketing there. Sit down and decide where to END the second part. You don’t need to write any more. If book two is anything like book one, it is basically chronological. You’re done with book two!! Stop in a logical place, smooth out the transitions, and begin obsessing about book three. Good luck.

For those of you who have been reading the blog for a while, this is the letter I was thinking about mocking Waaaay back in May.

Re-reading it now, most of my irritation has faded. But my profound sensation of *What the Fuck* is still as strong as ever.

Let’s not even deal with the first half of the letter. Let’s ignore the fact that this woman isn’t a publicist, an editor, or my personal life-coach. Let’s jump straight to how she explains how I should write my book:

Oh. I need to sit down. I see. I need to know where to END it. I hadn’t thought of that.

And chronological order? Brilliant! Up until this point I’d been arranging all the chapters by length.

I mean seriously. You people do know that I have to make the entire book up, right? I’m not just cribbing it out of Kvothe’s biography, right?

Right?

And I lack the words to express my stupification at the offhand advice that I should just “smooth out the transitions.”

That’s not true. I do have the words. They go like this: “If this is the sort of advice you used to give your students when you were a teacher, thank you for not being a teacher any more.”

I counted yesterday. Do you know book two has eighteen fucking plotlines? Six entirely distinct settings, each with their own casts of characters? How exactly to I smooth that out? Do you think I just go down to the writing store, buy some fucking transition putty, and slather it on?

Okay. I lied. I guess I’m still irritated.

Truth is, I know that this letter comes from a place of love. This person is genuinely trying to help me. Deep in her heart of hearts, this woman believes she knows how to write a novel. The answers are so obvious. It seems simple to her…

This is why some folks will get irritated if I complain about my job. Because they think writing is simple.

But it isn’t. Nobody’s job is as simple as it looks from the outside.

Reason #2: It’s not cool to complain about your dream job.

I’m well aware of the fact that, I’m living the dream. A lot of people want to be published. They want it so bad they can taste it. They’d give anything…

I know this because that’s how I used to feel.

I’m lucky: I got published. What’s more, I’m one of the few writers that gets to write full time. Even better, I’ve gone international, and people all over the world are waiting for the next book.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t hate my job sometimes.

It doesn’t matter what you do for a living. Ron Jeremy probably calls in sick some days because he just can’t stand the thought of getting another blowjob. I don’t doubt that Mike and Jerry over at Penny Arcade occasionally wake up in the morning and think, “Fuck, I’ve got to play more fucking video games today.”

That’s just the way of the world. Everyone hates their own job sometimes. It’s an inalienable right, like life, liberty, and the pursuit of property.

Reason #3: The Myth of the Author.

People want to believe that the act of creation is a magical thing. When I write, I am like some beardy old-word god, hewing the book from some raw piece of literary firmament. When I write, the muse is like a lithe, naked woman, sitting on my lap with her tongue in my ear.

(This would make a great bookjacket photo.)

And you want to know the truth? Sometimes it’s exactly like that. Sometimes when I write, I’m so full of adrenaline that I could lift up a truck. I can feel my my tripartite soul burning in my chest like molten gold.

But sometimes it sucks. Just like any job. I get bored revising the same chapters over and over. My back hurts from hunching over the keyboard. I am so tired of fucking spellcheck. Do you know how long it takes to run spellcheck on 350,000 words?

I’m tired of trying to juggle everything: the plotlines, the character arcs, the realistic depiction of a fantastic world, the pacing, the word choice, the tension, the tone, the stories-within-stories. Half of it would be easy, but getting everything right at once? It’s like trying to play cat’s cradle in n-dimensional space.

The truth is, sometimes I’m so sick of sitting in front of this computer I could shit bile.

There. That’s all. I’m not quitting. I’m not even taking the night off. I just needed to vent.

Thanks for being here. Remember to tip your waitress. I’ll be here all week.

pat

Also posted in BJ Hiorns Art, fanmail, the man behind the curtain, Things I didn't know about publishing | By Pat285 Responses
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