Category Archives: Surreal enthusiasm

Babies: Meet Bast, Auri, Elodin, and Kvothe

If you’ve been reading the blog for any amount of time, you probably realize that I love babies.

This wasn’t always the case. But over the last 8-9 years (mostly since I’ve become a dad) a whole world of coolness has opened up in my life. Kids are great, and I will talk parenting at the drop of a hat. If I’m out in public, I’m constantly having to restrain myself from asking people to let me play with their kids. (Because I look like a bear, or a hobo. Or a hobear.)

Another thing that’s happened over the last 8-9 years is that I’ve been constantly startled and amazed by the enthusiasm people have shown for the books. People write fanfiction, create beautiful art, they dress up, they tattoo their bodies with my words…

And where fan enthusiasm and babies intersect, we get babies named after characters in my books.

This has happened more than once. It’s startling and cool while at the same time being oddly terrifying. I got my first email about one all the way back in 2009, and I showed off little Andan in the blog. But I’ll be honest with you, even after all these years I cannot fully comprehend someone liking my book enough to name their kid out of it.

Then, the other day when I was at the park with my boys. A couple with a stroller walked up to me, told me they were big fans of the books, and mentioned that their baby’s name… was Auri.

(She obviously doesn’t really know what to think of me. Which means she’s smart.)

Then a couple weeks later, I met this little sweetheart who is also named Auri….

(I like how she seems to be saying: “Eh, you’re not that big a deal.”)

Meeting these Auris in person reminded me that I’d been compiling a blog full of baby pictures that people have sent in over the last couple years.

Keep in mind that some of these pictures are pretty old. I think the first draft of this blog might have been from back in 2014. So some of these kids are years older than what they look like here…

Anyway, allow me to introduce:

  • Baby Bast!

father's day

Letter from his dad:

“Our son (coming up on his first birthday) was named after your character Bast. We decided on the name Bast initially, but later, upon realizing with our middle name choice that would have left the poor bastard with three one-syllable names, we decided to modify it a bit to “Bastion”.  His Grandmother (on his mother”s side) calls him Bass (like the fish) which naturally drives me insane to no end. Some humans, eh?”

five months

recent

  • Baby Auri!

“Here’s a picture of our Baby Auri. Technically it’s ‘Aurielle,’ but we only call her by her full name when she’s being a dick . . . which occurs fairly frequently around mealtimes.

Just so there’s no ambiguity, I wanted you to know this is one hundred percent your name. I absolutely snagged that shit from you because Auri’s brokenly bad-assed, and that’s how we feel.”

IMG_6759 copyLooks to me like she is in the perfect place….

  • Baby Auri 2!

 

“Here is a picture of my daughter, born in April. I took her middle name from your books Auri. Her full name is Sutton Auri Prinz, I want to thank you for all that you have done and hope that my daughter will love reading as much as I do. I know that my family will have your books apart of the rest of our lives.

baby auri 2

  • Baby Kvothe!

This is Kvothe, who was originally introduced on the blog in 2013. A while back they sent some updated photos of the little guy, and I couldn’t be prouder.

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You’ll notice that little Kvothe has a badass-looking dragon foot. That’s because he was born missing one of his feet. His parents tell me that in cases like this, it’s easier for the kids to use a prosthetic later in life if they get used to it very early on…

And so, being forward-thinking parents, they got him fitted for a prosthetic. But also, because they’re awesome, one of the prosthetics is a badass dragon foot.

As a fellow geek parent, I salute you.

  • Baby Elodin!

I honestly never expected there to be an Elodin. But I was wrong….

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Best smile ever.

  • And One Final Auri…

“Some interesting facts:

1. ‘Auri’ means ‘shines like gold’ (apparently)

2. She was born with Auburn hair

3. The first track on the radio taking her home was ‘Gold on the Ceiling’ by the Black Keys (a band my wife and I saw on the first night of our honeymoon in Chicago)

So despite us having decided on the name before we even knew we were having a girl, it is a perfect fit – ☺”

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Because I’m as slow about writing blogs as I am with all other types of writing, Auri’s folks have sent some more pictures of her, now that she’s a little older….

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That smile though…

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There have been more. Many more. I’ve been introduced to Auris, Dennas, and Simmons at cons. And other parents have shared photos with me that they’d prefer to keep private, which I can totally understand.

For those of you who have stuck around to the very end of the blog, I have a special treat for you. A teaser of something that’s going to be happening soon.

In fact, it’s going to be launching on Tuesday (the 15th)…

Stay tuned,

pat

Also posted in Achievement Unlocked!, babies, naming | By Pat39 Responses

Concerning Fanmail #3

So a couple months ago, I unlocked another achievement in the great sandbox videogame that is my life.

Specifically, I hit 10,000 pieces of fanmail.

fanmail_10kWhile I occasionally answer questions people send me, or post quotes from letters up on facebook, I haven’t actually written anything about fanmail itself since…

*Pat goes to check the archives*

Wow. Since five years ago. I did two blogs back then. One talking about fanmail in general. And another giving some memorable quotes.

Back in October of 2008, I’d just hit 1500 pieces of fanmail. I was pretty sure it was impossible to get any more mail than that.

Back then, I made a point of answering every piece of fanmail. It’s something I put a lot of effort into, and a lot of time. It was really important to me…

Fast forward to today.

For those of you that are into the specifics, I should clarify that this 10,000 mark is kinda arbitrary. I’m only counting messages that come to me through my website’s contact form. (Right now, because it’s taken me a couple months to write this blog, that total is standing at closer to 12,000 messages.)

That total doesn’t count people who e-mail me multiple times. Folks that contact me through other channels, or messages sent to me through facebook, goodreads, or good old-fashioned paper letters.

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Here’s several hundred RL letters that have been sent over the years. I don’t know if it’s weird for me to keep them, but throwing them away seems unspeakable awful.

I’m guessing that if I totaled up all these varied instances of epistolary perspicacity, it would be somewhere closer to 20,000 pieces of mail.

Back in 2008, I wrote:

Fanmail is great. There have been occasional exceptions to this, like the guy who sent me a message saying that he hoped a dog would bite me on the nuts. But even that made me laugh.

This is still true today. The vast majority of fanmail I get is friendly, witty, touching, or funny. People send me useful info. People tell me stories of how my book has impacted their lives.

Here’s one I got a while back:

Your books have given me a way of communicating with a teenage son who has now metamorphosed from a complete alien to a fine young man.

As a dad myself, I can hardly think of a nicer thing to hear.

Unless it’s something like this:

I would forever live with a small piece of my heart unfulfilled had I not met Kvothe.

I have hundreds of these little snippets from messages my readers have sent me. I hoard them like treasure. Sometimes the best part of my day is a short message someone has sent me. Sometimes it’s a 15 year old girl from Brazil. Sometimes it’s a 70 year old grandmother in Virginia.

But I won’t lie to you. It’s not all good…

*      *      *

Here’s the thing. I used to respond to every piece of fanmail. Even if it was just a brief note. Even if it took me months to get the message out.

Not responding never really occurred to me at first. After all, a lot of these people had written elaborate letters, or said really touching things. Not responding would have felt unspeakably rude….

But eventually I had to give it up. If the reason isn’t obvious, here’s a visual aid to drive the point home….

email-screenshot

That’s a screen capture from my sent items folder back in 2008. If you embiggen it, it paints a grim picture of what my day was like.

So I stopped replying to everyone. It was a slow decline. At first I still replied to most of them. Then half. Then maybe a third. These days it’s dwindled to about one in ten, and even those replies are usually brief.

But the truth is, I never decided to cut back. It’s nothing I ever wanted or deliberately chose to do. It’s something I was forced into because there simply weren’t enough hours in the day. And honestly, I still feel guilty about it.

My one consolation was that I still make a point of reading all my fanmail. On facebook. On goodreads. I read it all.

Well, that’s not entirely true. Sometimes I would get a 4000 word message. Those I skim.

But I’m guessing that the math-savvy among you can see the problem looming, can’t you?

Let’s say I can read each message in just one minute. One minute x 20,000 e-mails ends up being well over 300 hours.

That means just to read that many messages takes me two months of full-time work. That’s assuming every day I did nothing but read e-mail for 8 hours.

That doesn’t count the time it might take me to occasionally respond to a message. Or reading the messages that are more than just 60-70 words long. Many of them are 200-300 words. About as much text as page in a paperback novel.

A more realistic estimate would probably be that it takes me 2-3 minutes on average to read a message.

That means that since 2007, I’ve spent between four and six months of full-time work reading messages people have sent me.

God. I’ve honestly never done that math before. I knew it was a huge chunk of time, but not that much. That’s fucking horrifying.

Because that doesn’t take into account me *replying* to messages or actually taking care of the rest of my daily e-mail. And I get a shit-ton of that, too.

I guess it does make me feel a little better about this though:

outlook screen grab

(Yes. I use an archaic e-mail program. Don’t judge me.)

Let’s ignore the 100+ regular unread messages. And the flashing danger light that is more than 100 unread messages deliberately tucked into a folder called “Important.”

Circled in red, you can see that I’ve got more than 300 unread pieces of reader mail. I’m terribly behind.

And that’s not counting Goodreads:

Good Reads

There’s 80 unread messages piled up there.

My facebook fan page has another 250….

messages tab FB

And that’s *despite* the fact that I’ve pointedly mentioned that it’s a bad place to contact me.

I’d also like to point out that these aren’t a year’s worth of messages. It’s just these last couple months where things have really started to spiral out of my control…

Here’s the worst of it:

photo-6

The stack of unread letters. 50 or 60 of them from all over the world. Probably half a year’s worth. People WROTE these on real paper. They paid money to mail them to me. These are tangible acts of affection, and I’ve been too busy to give them the time they deserve.

And I feel awful about it. All the time.

I was keeping up pretty well until a couple months ago. I jump in occasionally and prune the online messages back…. but it’s like kudzu…

No. That’s not right. Because I’ll say it again, the vast majority of these messages are friendly, or heartwarming, or delightfully eccentric.

Dear Pat,

I admitted to my boyfriend that his only real competition is Kvothe only to have him admit that my only real competition is Kvothe too. I’m simultaneously flattered that only Kvothe can outshine me and impressed that my boyfriend’s sexuality is now under question due to a couple of words you put together.

Though occasionally there are other types of messages….

But I don’t know if I want to get into that. I don’t know if y’all would be interested in hearing about the other kind of messages people send.

On to my point–

Creft. What is my point here? I don’t know anymore. When I started writing this blog hours ago, I really didn’t expect it to get as long as this.

I think these are my points:

1. Part of this is just bitching a little. I’ll cop to that.

And while I’m well aware that it’s hard to get more first-world-problem than: “Oh noes! I have too many fanmails!” the truth is that this *is* my blog. I’m allowed to kvetch a little if I want.

2. Much more than that, this is a blanket explanation and apology to everyone who has e-mailed me and never received a reply.

I am sorry. I wish I had all the time in the world so I could e-mail you back and thank you for taking the time to drop me a line. I wish we could all have lunch together and hang out and talk about fun, useless bullshit all afternoon.

3. I want y’all to know that even if I haven’t replied, I have read your e-mail, your message, your letter, your postcard, your engraved clay tablet, your origami crane, your smoke signal, your telepathic space beam.

I have these missives and appreciated them. They have made me smile and they have made me weepy. They have made me feel proud, and loved, and very, very lucky.

That said, things will have to change soon. I’m not sure *how* they will change, but I need to find a way to keep more time for myself while not feeling hellishly guilty about being selfish for keeping time to myself. This is a hard thing for me.

Until I say otherwise, know that I’m still reading your messages.

Eventually.

Fondly,

pat

Also posted in a few words you're probably going to have to look up, Achievement Unlocked!, fanmail, Things I didn't know about publishing, things I shouldn't talk about | By Pat94 Responses

A Modest Proposal….

Some things are so cool that I have nothing to say. I just have to link to them.

Congratulations.

Also posted in cool things | By Pat27 Responses

Tit for Tat

Okay. I’ll admit it, I couldn’t come up with a good title for this blog.

What we have up there isn’t just a *meh* title either. It’s a bad title. It implies things that simply are not borne out in the blog itself. This is simply a blog about tattoos.

Let me make it up to you with a utterly useless etymological fact: The phrase “tit for tat” actually comes from an old Norse expression “tip for tap” which meant, literally, “If you hit me, I’ll hit you back.”

How do I know this? Hell. I’m an endless trove of useless, fascinating information. I don’t even bother seeking it out any more. It just comes to me. I accrete it. I pluck it from the luminiferous aether. I apprehend it through examination of my Socratic soul.

It’s also possible that I make some of it up, then forget that I make it up. Or that I dream it. Or that I lie. But you know what? Sometimes I make shit up, and I *know* I just made it up, but it turns out to be real anyway. Or real enough, at any rate.

Anyway, tattoos.

Several years ago, I met someone that had tattooed my signature on their arm. An act of devotion that was equal parts flattering and flummoxing. But I assumed that that event was going to stand by itself as a statistical anomaly.

Then, a while later, someone dropped me a link to a literary tattoo page. I just went looking for now so I could link to it, and got 404’d, but I did find the photo archived somewhere else….

tumblr_m3ngblWc3e1rvxj0ko1_500

If I remember the story from that now-defunct website correctly, she’d been through a bad breakup, and got a Kvothe’s quote as a reminder for herself.

At first I thought, “Wow. That’s pretty cool.” And, of course, I was flattered, too…

…but more than that, I realized I was oddly proud. Those words are words I’m proud to have someone claim as their own.

Since then I’ve had perhaps a dozen people e-mail me or facebook me pictures of their NOTW tattoos.

Tattoo

Most of them are texty:

Tatoo - sun will shine

(“And the sun will still rise in the morning.”)

Some are no text at all…

book cover tattoo

Some have quotes I would expect….

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Some have quotes that were a surprise to me….

DSC01514

(“Vorfelan Rhinata Morie”)

And some that are as simple as they are obscure:

Tattoo - name

The horrible thing is that I know I have more pictures than these, but I can’t for the life of me find them on my computer. I haven’t cleaned up my desktop in… well… years at least. Maybe forever.

But rather than postpone this blog as I have so many others, I’ll post it up for now, incomplete as it is, with the hope that these pictures bring you some of the geeky joy that they brought me….

Wearily but with love,

pat

Also posted in a few words you're probably going to have to look up | By Pat52 Responses

Introducing….

Everyone, I would like to take this opportunity to introduce someone to you….

Meet young master Kvothe:

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(You may have heard of him.)

You can click to embiggen if you like, but he’s pretty tiny. There’s only so much embiggening that can be done….

Here’s the story, and forgive me if I’m a little vague on the details, but I’ve promised his parents I’ll keep quiet about specifics for the most part.

I was contacted by a relative of little Kvothe a couple weeks ago. He mentioned that there had been a baby born in his family named Kvothe, as far as he could tell, my character was the only Kvothe out there.

(This is true. Somewhere in my files, I have a screen capture of a pre-publication google search that showed no hits on “Kvothe.” As far as I can tell, I was the first.)

My reaction to his e-mail was pretty much along the lines of “pull the other one, it’s got bells on.”

I wasn’t quite so British about it. (I’m reading some Pratchett right now, and it’s seeped into me.)

In fact, I think my whole response to his e-mail was, “Seriously?”

I honestly didn’t believe him.

I knew it might happen eventually. Statistically, it was probably going to happen sooner or later. I’ve already had one baby named out of the book a couple years back. But that was “Andan.” His name just comes up a couple times in the book, and if you wanted, you could always claim that you pulled the name from the Swedish word for “Breath” or something like that.

I’m pretty sure there’s a little girl with the middle name “Auri” out there too. Though I lost some e-mails a while back, and I can’t find record of it right now….

But yeah. They were serious. His name is Kvothe. They even sent me a picture of the birth certificate.

So there’s a little Kvothe out there in the world. It boggles the mind a little bit.

I feel an attachment to the little guy. I feel like a godfather or something, though I’m not. I feel like I’m responsible for him in a way.

All of which is crazy, of course. I’m aware of that. But I have a problem in this regard. It’s hard for me not to feel responsible for things.

Ah well, crazy or not, all I can really do is wish him the best….

Hello little Kvothe, 

It will probably be a long time before you read this, if ever. I just wanted to give you my best wishes and fond hopes for the future. 

I hope you grow up sweet and loving. I hope you grow up clever and strong. I hope you are happy.

I hope your life is hard, but not too hard. I hope you are careful, but not too careful. I hope you make beautiful mistakes and learn things. 

I hope you always have ten good friends who are close to you. I hope you know that you are loved. I hope you make the world a better place.

Thanks for making me smile, 

pat

Also posted in babies, naming | By Pat67 Responses

My Rambling Thanks (And a Song)

Sorry for the Radio Silence here folks. In addition to the pleasant madness of the end of the Kickstarter, I also had a bunch of other things fall on me at the same time.

They included (but are not limited to) sickness, a car crash (everyone is fine), flight delays, cancellations, Worldbuilders running its first-ever serious booth at Origins, (blog to follow), seduction, piracy, storm, shipwreck….

I’m not going to dwell on any of that now. Suffice to say that in the end, it took me sixteen days to make it to Severen….

No. Wait. What was I talking about again?

Oh. Yeah. Radio Silence.

Today, I mostly wanted to thank all of you that stomped out and made the Kickstarter such a huge success.

I appreciate it. The folks at Albino Dragon appreciate it. Worldbuilders appreciates it.

And though they’ll never know the particulars, all the families that Heifer International will help with the money appreciate it too.

And it goes without saying that the success of this project will lead to more cool stuff in the future. He said tantalizingly…

There were a few things that I offered up as stretch goals in the Kickstarter. One was a video of me singing “I Crush Everything.”

The other was a video of me reading The Princess Book to Oot.

That second one will take a while, but I launched the I Crush Everything video on facebook a couple days before the end of the Kickstarter.

For those of you who missed it. I offer up to you…. this. A thing that I did.

Honestly, I haven’t listened to it, because I prefer to live firm in the illusion that the voice I hear in the shower is the same voice everyone else hears when I sing.

If it doesn’t…. well…. I would like to state that for the record, Shane kept cracking me up through the first several takes by doodling things. So my voice was pretty tired by this final take.

And also, I was sick as a dog when we recorded this. I was drinking tea with lemon and doing drugs just so I could perform.

And by drugs, I mean just regular drugs. Ibuprofen and pseudoephedrine.

And by perform, I mean sing. Perverts.

Okay. Enough equivocating.

Here it is:

Later all,

pat

Also posted in Achievement Unlocked!, my dumbness, videos | By Pat24 Responses

Video, Verse, and Veritas. (Or Verbosity, if you prefer.)

Today we have a video that tickled me more than just a little bit.

Figuratively, of course.

Also, I did an interview on SF Podcast that was a lot of fun. I had a bunch of caffeine right beforehand, so I was a chatty, chatty bitch.

So you can check that out if you like. If you’re into things that are fun….

Share and enjoy,

pat

Also posted in Interviews, podcasts, reviews, the craft of writing, videos | By Pat14 Responses
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