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An Appropriate Dosage of Hope.

So I’m downstairs, making breakfast for me and the boys.

This is an elaborate and arcane process. It involves more wandering in and out of rooms than you might expect, and trying to remember what I meant to do there. Plus a fair amount of esoteric behavior like looking for a spoon that I’m sure I was just holding…. but it’s not here anymore. Was I holding it? Is this a Matrix thing? Was it some sort of fucking magical elf-spoon?

(It was not a magical elf-spoon. Alas.)

Some of the reason for this is because part of the breakfast I’m preparing is coffee (for me, not the boys). And that means I haven’t yet had my coffee. And that means that daddy needs his medicine. And by medicine I mean the literal drug that I literally take because I want all that ergogenic mojo all up in my headbrains and bodymeats. And by daddy I mean literally me. Because I am that.

(Who’s your parasocial daddy?)

I can’t blame it all on coffee though. Some of it is just me being groggy. And some of it is me thinking about everything at once, like I do. And part of it is probably some of the ADHD (though I still never know how much to point the finger at that, as I’m still knew to that diagnosis. And it seems unfair to lay *all* my disorganized bullshit at the feet of that particular acronym.)

Nevertheless, as I walk past the end-table, hunting elusive faerie cutlery, I see my little pill-box thing.

(Because this is my life now. This is who I am, apparently.) 

First I have to figure out what fucking day it is. And yeah. It’s Thursday. But if it’s Thursday, why are there still pills in the little Thursday pill home? But I’m pretty sure that I remember taking my meds this morning. That’s why the pill thing is here, right? Because I carried it downstairs when I was getting ready to take the pills….

But the pills are still in there.

So I look at this thing, and I say, “I don’t know if I took my meds already.”

I have to make something clear here, I’m not talking to myself. But at the same time, I’m not really asking my kids for advice on this, either. Because while I value their thoughts and feelings, they shouldn’t be making certain decisions. They’re 7 and 11 years old, respectively. They’re wise beyond their years and off-the-charts articulate, but *I’m* the one who needs to fucking figure out whether I’ve taken my meds.

But why am I saying this out loud then? I honestly don’t know. I do tend to process things out loud more often when the boys are around. Maybe that’s how we’re wired as primates, to talk around our children so we can model our decision making process.

Anyway, whatever the reason, I’m talking it through, saying, “Do I risk missing my meds entirely, or do I risk doubling up on my meds? If I double up, will that make me really scattered, or will I be Super Productive today…?”

Without missing a beat or breaking stride, Oot walks behind me and asks casually, “What’s the LD-50?”

I turn to look at him, not quite sure what I just heard. He’s doing something at the sink now. “Did you just ask me about the LD-50?” I ask.

He turns to look at me, nodding. He’s not above showboating. He likes being clever. And if there’s a pedantry gene, he has it (and he got it from me) but right now he’s not doing that. Or if he is doing it, he’s gone next level and has realized the value of the slow-play. Maybe he’s learning that less is more…

Either way, he’s just looking at me with vague curiosity in his big, serious eyes, as if he can’t understand why my tone would be incredulous. As if he doesn’t know why I would be impressed that he remembered the concept of LD-50. Something I didn’t learn about until my junior year of college. Something I’m pretty sure I only mentioned once to my boys a couple months ago, probably when I was dosing Cutie with antibiotics during a recent deeply shitty medial adventure.

“Yeah,” he says.

And I just start to laugh. I go over and hug him, laughing. And I keep laughing uncontrollably for at least a solid minute.

I know I’ve laughed in surprise before. (That’s one of the big theories about laughter, actually. Some folks believe true laughter, [Duchenne laughter] only erupts as a symptom. It’s the result of a sort cognitive fuse being blown when we experience something that goes contrary to our expectations. The cognitive and neurophysiological roots of laughter is one of the many odd rabbit holes of research I’ve gone down over the years, as I used to consider myself a bit of a humorist. But that, as they say, is a blog for a different day…)

Anyway. I’m laughing. And while part of this *is* surprise. It’s also just joy. I don’t remember laughing out of real joy before I became a dad. It’s been happening a fair amount this last year as these boys continue to startle me with their kindness and honesty. They startle me by actually remembering things I’ve told them. And not just remembering. They actually understand and internalize and make use of this stuff, too….

You might wonder why this surprises me. I mean, why on earth would I be dadding so hard if not to this exact purpose? Why would I be spending so much time and energy trying to teach them stuff, if not so they would learn it?

And… yeah. I mean. Of course. That’s the dream.

But if I’ve learned anything over the last decade, is that you can care a lot, and work really hard, and do your level best… and in the end all you get for your trouble is double therapy and trouble sleeping at night. So these days I fight to keep my expectations modest. It’s the whole Buddhist thing: Taṇhā leads to dukkha. Desire causes suffering. Hope is the highwire without which you need not fear a fall.

So I try not to hope too much for the boys. The world is hard enough, and life is heavy enough. They don’t need my expectations weighing them down. I just try to take them as they come and enjoy them for who they are.

But oh it’s hard. These boys, they’re pretty great.

It occurs to me that I sat down to tell a cute (if slightly braggy) story about my kids, and it’s turned into something else. I can’t be surprised at that, though. Most people think that writing is just expressing what you already think or feel. It’s transcription. It’s explanation. I used to think that, too, way back in the day. But not for decades. Now I know better. For me, writing is almost always a process of exploration and discovery. Not always, but often.

You want to know the *real* truth? I originally started to write this little story as a *tweet* and instead it turned into a thousand word maunder where the upshot is that I’m surprised my boys actually listen to me. In some ways that doesn’t seem like much. Hardly worth the work or words.

But on the other hand, what’s better than your kids listening to you and then turning around and reminding you of what you’ve shared? What more could I hope for?

And there we are gain. Back at hope. And hope, you see, is a hell of a drug, and while that doesn’t make hope bad, it does make it dangerous. Maybe it’s just that way for me though. Maybe I have hope sensitivity. Or whatever the hope-appropriate version of drug-intolerance is. Maybe it’s that when it comes to hope, the Effective Dose is way too close to the Lethal Dose for me.

But these boys. I tell you. They are such a wonder and a delight. And so, despite myself sometimes, I hope.

pat

Also posted in a few words you're probably going to have to look up, Because I Love, day in the life, musings, Oot, The Art of Letting Go, the man behind the curtain | By Pat58 Responses

Ain’t no Party like a Worldbuilders Party ’cause a Worldbuilders Party don’t….

Hey there everybody!

Yesterday, on the final day of the Worldbuilders Fundraiser, we crossed the line into a million dollars. For real.

Despite the trash fire of 2020, this year’s fundraiser has been our most successful in years. (It’s even possible it’s our most successful *ever* but I won’t know that until I’ve gone back and looked carefully at all the numbers.) And, of course, the day isn’t over yet, there’s still time to jump in….

All this success is because you folks, of course. Y’all have stormed in, donated, boosted our signals, and told your friends.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Last year we did an experiment that went quite well. So this year, we’re turning it into a tradition.

You ready?

(Bam!)

Or, for those of you who prefer more info in your info-graphic:

Simply said, today (December 16th) we’re going to celebrate this year’s amazing success by doing a bunch of livestreaming. We’ll have guests stopping for discussions, I’m going to play Minecraft with the boys, we’re going to show off videos for the stretch goals we’ve achieved, and tell some old, beloved stories…

…and talk about the amazing things Heifer does, like turn poop into fuel.

And we’ll show off some of the amazing donation incentives that are available in this year’s prize draw, like the Wyrmwood tables…

Wyrmwood Asset

And our unlocked stretch goals/prizes.

After Party Unlocked Stretch Goals

And our other more different extra double prizes…

After Party Splash Image 2020

(Did I mention there’s a lot of prizes?)

There’s even more prizes over on the page, and as the donations keep coming in, I keep pulling more stuff out of the vault and offering it up.

There’s already a favor ring in the mix, by the way…

If you just want to jump on over and see what we’re doing, here’s our rough schedule:

Pat's 2020 EOY Fundraiser After Party Schedule

If you just want to head over to the stream, here’s the link…

The reasons we’re doing the Afterparty are manifold, but here are the main two:

1. Tradition.

Those of you who have been following Worldbuilders for a while know that our end-of-year fundraiser used to look a lot different than it does now. For one thing, it used to be exclusively run off of my blog, and it used to run for an entire month.

Except it didn’t. For years and years, we ended up extending the fundraiser out past our initial ending date. Sometimes it was because we had a last minute sponsor we wanted to showcase. Sometimes it was because some chaos or catastrophe threw us off schedule. Once it was because we got offered some matching money and we couldn’t bring ourselves to say no to that. Once things got so out of hand we extended *past* Christmas and the whole fundraiser spanned over seven weeks…

And some times we did it just for fun, or because we’d gotten into the habit.

This year, we’re deciding to continue the tradition in a different way. We’re taking one final day just to appreciate how lovely this community is. To put a bow on it. To show off some of the lovely things people have done. To relax and have fun and enjoy our success.

And, of course…

2. To give the latecomers one last chance.

What usually happens the day after the fundraiser is that I go into a deep, healing Odinsleep. When I emerge, I peek on social media and I invariably see dozens of people saying, “Oh no! Worldbuilders is over?!? Did I miss it? Can I still donate?”

And I get that. This is a busy time of year. Finals. Holiday planning. Family travel. Or maybe you’re just like me and tend to put things off to the last minute and then kinda forget about them.

But still, it breaks my heart to see those messages.

So. One extra day. If you were meaning to donate. Now’s your chance. If you were going to tell your friend about us, you’ve got a few more hours. If you were going to spread the word on social media, now you can use this amazing gif to do just that.

(Ooontz Ooontz Ooontz Ooontz Ooontz.)

* * *

So yeah. C’mon over and take one last chance to win fabulous prizes while making the world a better place…

Remember, every $10 you donate still gets you a chance to win all manner of coolness. And if you donate on my team page, you’ll be eligible to win even more.

Hope to see a lot of you over on my livestream tonight.

pat

 

Also posted in cool things, Interviews, Oot, Worldbuilders 2020 | By Pat9 Responses

We all need Something To Look Forward To…

Hey there!

You’ve known it was coming, and now it’s here.

A heaping helping of Worldbuilders EOY goodness.

That’s right. It’s time for the Worldbuilders Fundraiser.

The Fundraiser is running from Dec 1st to Dec 15th, and it’ll be an all-out sprint complete with death-defying obstacle courses, feats of strength, and livestream festivities, and fabulous prizes.

I’m kicking things off with 14 hours of straight livestreaming on my twitch channel.

Kickoff Livestream Schedule that shows what Pat will be doing on 12/1

Also? Special guests!!!

You read that right: I’ll be streaming for 14-straight hours. Swing by and hang out with me and some friends, or head straight over to the fundraiser and help us make the world a better place.

Did I mention we have matching money? We do, so if you head over now, your donation is going to get doubled.

See y’all soon….

pat

Also posted in Acts of Whimsy, being awesome, cool things, Geeks Doing Good, Heifer International, Interviews, Me Interviewing Other Folks, Worldbuilders 2020 | By Pat8 Responses

A beautiful board for a beautiful game

I am constantly blown away by the amazing things you kind folks make, and even more impressed that you donate those works of art to Worldbuilders.

If you join me on Twitch you may have seen me share a lovely Tak board donated by Aaron Schmersal.

If you haven’t seen it you can get a good look here:

I’ll be giving this away as a prize for folks who donate to my page through the course of the fundraiser. Thanks to our super fun Afterparty you still have chances to donate and be entered into the drawing for all of the fun stretch goals!

Take a look at this lovely thing. It truly is a work of art.

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | By Pat115 Responses

For Authors, From Authors, or: Critiques and Tuckerizations

Every year, authors and editors donate critiques and tuckerizations to help us raise money for Heifer International. These authors and editors are offering their time and expertise and that spirit of generosity is deeply moving to me.  It’s also a service that’s tough to come by if you’re just starting out. What exactly are they offering? Let’s take a look, shall we?

Critiques

With a critique, the author or editor will read your finished manuscript and give feedback. They do this for a living, so they have a good feel for what works, what might need work, and what you excel at. And everybody donates a service they’re comfortable with–some authors will read and critique the first few chapters of your book to make sure it grabs the reader from page one and keeps escalating. Some authors will read the whole manuscript (which is rare!). Some offer to critique the first couple chapters as well as your query letter, which is the letter you send to an agency or publisher to get them hooked and draw them into your manuscript. We even have a couple auctions for brainstorming and worldbuilding sessions. So you can choose the pro and the service you need!

April White
Anna Smith Spark
Brooke Johnson (she offered a query letter and short story critique)
Randy Henderson
Bishop O’Connell
Bradley P. Beaulieu
Carol Berg
Cassie Alexander
Django Wexler
Editor John Adamus
Joe Ducie
Agent Seth Fishman
Michael J. Martinez
Pamela Freeman
Prof. Eric Dahl (build your SF world with an actual rocket scientist!)
Sebastien de Castell
RJ Barker
Sherwood Smith

There are so many moving pieces in the industry, and if you don’t stand out from the crowd, you run the risk of being overlooked. That’s why having a professional read your submission and give constructive feedback is awesome! Critiques are a great gift for a writer!

We know how valuable critiques are as a service, and how expensive they can be, so to open up the opportunity to some folks who can’t bid on auctions, we have some Critiques in the lottery–just go to the Critiques team page and bid through there to have the chance to win one!

Tuckerizations

The tuckerization is a tradition that got its name from science-fiction author Wilson Tucker, who would consistently use his friends’ names for minor characters in his work. Authors will name-drop their family and friends, sometimes altering the names a little so while the person in question recognizes themselves, the name still fits the genre. It’s a fun, original way to get a callout, and if you know someone who is a fan of an author, it makes a great gift idea!

Alma Alexander (she donated two!)
Kevin Hearne
Nicholas Eames
Bradley P. Beaulieu
Tim Pratt
Carol Berg
RJ Barker

We don’t have tuckerizations in the lottery, since it’s a more personal thing, but you can find all of them on auction. This is something usually reserved for the author’s friends and family, so we’re thrilled to be able to give everyone the chance at a little bit of literary immortality!

Thanks as always for joining us for our annual fundraiser. May all your criticism be constructive, and may your tuckerizations be…um…tucked?
Well, that fell apart. But thank you!

Posted in Uncategorized | By Pat6 Responses

The Prize Vault!

As I write this Worldbuilders is just about to finish up the first full week of it’s two-week-long fundraiser. We’ve also raised over $385,000, which isn’t too shabby.

Now that I’m back from unplugged, I’ll be livestreaming over on twitch every day through the end of the fundraiser. If you haven’t joined us there yet, you should stop on by!

Here’s the streaming schedule we have for the rest of the fundraiser:

If you want to give the channel a follow, you’ll get notifications of other things that happen outside those official streaming times. Like, for example, the D&D game we’re playing tonight on Tuesday Dec 10th at 9:00 CST. (I’ll be hosting that on my channel.)

Check out this awesome trailer:

By now, I hope you know that for every $10 dollars you donate to Worldbuilders, you get a chance to win fabulous prizes…

But what some of you might not know that in *addition* to those prizes, over the years I’ve gotten into the habit of giving away stuff for people who donate on my twitch team homepage.  In the past, I’ve picked prizes fairly randomly. But for the rest of this year’s fundraiser, we’re going to experiment with something I’ve wanted to try for a long time.

Instead of me just picking things off nearby shelves all higgledy-piggledy. We’re going to let the winners choose what they’d like. Some are cool things available from our online store. But other prizes will be items I’ve had made over the years, or things that have sold out in the store, or just odd treasures that I’ve hoarded so that I could give them away some day…

Here’s our current list of things in the treasure vault:

  • Gold Talent Pipes

I had these special made by Badali Jewelry to give to people who make my life better. If you ever see someone wearing one, you know that they’ve done something that made me happy.

  • My signature Pat Rothfuss Bullshit Card

  • Personalized books

I’ll deface it with my signature and write a message in it too, if you like….

  • A D&D card of your choice 

You can see them all over here.

 

  • Signed copies of The Adventures of The Princess and Mr. Whiffle.

  • An Eolian mug

  • Any t-shirt from Worldbuilders Market

(Two of my favorites….)

  • Vintish court rings

  • An Iron Drab

This is one of the prototypes we’ve made for the next set of Cealdish currency.

  • A Draccus King of Tokyo card

For when you absolutely need to eat a tree and destroy a city.

  • Art Decks

(Except you’ll get the cards in the boxes, too.)

  • Signed Rick and Morty Comics

Cause y’all know I wrote one, right?

  • One of the few remaining Owlbear Plushies

If you’d like to get a piece of this action, now’s the time to do it. I’m doing a bunch of catch-up draws on today’s stream (Tuesday Dec 10th) So for every $10 you donate on the page before then, you’ll be eligible for all the 10 extra draws we’re doing, as well as all the rest of the goodies we’ll be giving away through the rest of the fundraiser.

And no, you don’t have to be present on the stream to win.

Here’s a link to the page one last time, just in case you need it for anything….

See you on the stream…

pat

Posted in Uncategorized | By Pat11 Responses

Unplugged in The City of Brotherly Love

As I write this, the Worldbuilders Fundraiser has raised more than a quarter million dollars in its first three days. Specifically, we’re at $283,000 dollars. Which I have to say, is pretty awesome.

(If you don’t know what I’m talking about, wander over there and have a little look around. The upshot is if you donate to our fundraiser, you get to make the world a better place while having the chance to win a bunch of awesome prizes at the same time. More on that below…)

As I write this, I’m also out in Philadelphia so that I can do some charity rabble-rousing here at PAX Unplugged. And it have to tell you, It feels wild to me to be anywhere but glued to my desk, calling people, having meetings, orchestrating donations, doing livestreams to promote the charity, and refreshing the fundraiser home page like a rat pressing a feeder bar in a psych 101 textbook.

We always have wonderful partners that help us during the fundraiser, and you can visit some of them if you happen to be at Unplugged with me!

First and foremost, we have Brotherwise Games. We’ve worded together several times over the years. Perhaps you know about the Kingkiller Hero Pack they made for their game Boss Monster.

More recently, I got on board when they created Call to Adventure, a storytelling game I absolutely adore. And now that The Name of the Wind Expansion has been released I’m going to be playing it live on stage on Friday. And because they’re awesome people, they’ve started their own fundraiser page for the charity, which has some great stuff on it, including this Worldbuilders-exclusive card.

Another friend of the charity is the fabulous Wyrmwood, which makes the sexiest gaming tables I have ever seen. They’ve come through for us again, and every $10 bucks you donate to the fundraiser gets you a chance to win an amazing Black Walnut Prophecy gaming table.

If you haven’t seen one yet, and you’re here at PAX, you should stop by their booth and drool a little, just please don’t drool onto the table.

(this could be you)

Last but not least, have our awesome collaborations with the D&D community that we debuted at Unplugged last year, and we’re happy to be giving away more of those this year! In fact, donations made to these three teams will during Unplugged will go into special prize drawings that we’ll do on Monday for fabulous bonus prizes!  Of course, all of those donations also enter you into the overall lottery as well.

If you’re looking for me, here’s where I’ll be:

Friday, December 6th

  • 2:30 pm – 4:30 pm Acquisitions Inc Signing
  • 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm Patrick Rothfuss and Friends play Call To Adventure at the Main Theater

Saturday, December 7th

  • 11:00 am – 12:00 pm – Signing at Brotherwise, Booth 3037
  • 12:30 pm – 1:30 pm – Signing at Table Titans, Booth 3701
  • 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm – Signing at Brotherwise, Booth 3037
  • 8:30 pm – 11:30 pm – Acq Inc at the Main Theater

Sunday, December 8th

  • 11:00 am – 12:00 pm – Signing at Table Titans, Booth 3701

Hope to see a bunch of you there.

pat

Also posted in appearances, conventions, gaming, Worldbuilders 2019 | By Pat27 Responses
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