Thursday, November 15, 2007

So in half an hour or so I'm going to be getting into my car and driving up to Minneapolis for the Fantasy Matters convention I mentioned a while back.

I was pretty sure that by now, I'd be numb to the pre convention jitters. Over the years I've done a lot of public speaking in a lot of different venues. I've been a teacher for years, of course, but that's just the tip of the iceberg. Teaching is a cakewalk compared to some of the other gigs I've had.

Hell, about a year ago I was the commencement speaker at the biggest high school in the state. That was scary. Going to another convention shouldn't be making me jittery. Improv comedy. That's hard. Preaching a sermon, singing in front of judges, live radio interviews.
All of those are way more.... anxiousnessing than talking on a panel at a convention....

Shit, it's starting already. I'm losing all my words... what's the word for when something makes you nervous? Is there such a word? There has to be....

Hell, by noon tomorrow I'll be speaking like a... Labrador? What does that even mean? Fuck. Now my knack for clever analogies has crapped-out as well. Soon I'll be reduced to grunts, rude gestures, and scratching crude sketches in the dirt with a stick....

The reason for my anxiety is this. Neil Gaiman is going to be at this convention. I'm finally going to meet him.

Now over the last year or so, I've met a lot of important people. Big people. Agents. Editors. Movers. Shakers. Authors that I've read for years. Luckily, it's been a slow progression so that I was never especially overwhelmed at any point.

A couple weeks before my book came out I had dinner with Tad Williams when he was in the area doing a signing. And the strange thing is, I was cool with it. He was just a guy. I should have been a little freaked-out, but I wasn't.

But Gaiman. His writing is beyond the pale. Dude is mythic and I am seriously nervous. I'm worried that when I meet him I'm going to try to be witty and I'll just spaz out instead. It'll be like a Muppet having a seizure. A Muppet with bad language skills.

I'm guessing it would pretty much be like Grover on methamphetamine. With tourettes.

Somewhere between this:

And this:

Oh Deviantart... is there anything you don't have an illustration for?

Personal to Mr. Gaiman: If you read this, please do not call the police. I won't visit spazzy Muppet death upon you. Neither will I scalp you and wear your hair like a little hat. You have my word as a fellow fantasy author. I promise. Pinky swear.

Okay, time to get on the road. Got a long drive ahead of me tonight.

Later all....


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posted by Pat at


Blogger Hob Gammidge said...

Just think happy thoughts Pat haha. He's just another guy as well. A rather cool and prolific one, but a guy all the same

November 15, 2007 10:44 PM  
Anonymous nick said...

That is sort of scary... and funny.
See, you can still be at least sort of witty, even when filled with insanity and grunting.

Have fun, I so wish I was going!

November 15, 2007 10:47 PM  
Blogger Laurie said...

And here I am wondering what I will say to you when I meet you.... He He he... Funny how that works,isn't it?

November 16, 2007 12:07 AM  
Blogger Brian Blomlie said...

ha-ha. I wish you good luck. On the good side, if you freak out, you'll do it well. ;)

Interesting enough you seem like the guy who would freak out while commenting on his own freaking out. (Like just now) So you'll do fine, very fine. :D

November 16, 2007 12:52 AM  
Blogger CL said...

Gaiman kicks ass, Pat, so don't spaz out. It would be bad. He'll kick YOUR ass if you're not careful. But in case things should get hairy, just tell him how much you love his work and then kick him in the sack. ;)

November 16, 2007 1:36 AM  
Anonymous creepygirl said...

I haven't found a real word for that, but the one I made up is "anxietifying."

And I'm pretty sure Gaiman will be as charmed as everyone else. Or, try reassuring yourself--you can be very reassuring.

Have fun!! You're so lucky!!! Well not that you don't deserve it, but still...

November 16, 2007 5:25 AM  
Anonymous Rhona Westbrook said...

Neither will I scalp you and wear your hair like a little hat.


I wish I could be there to watch!

November 16, 2007 6:04 AM  
Blogger Haplo Peart said...

The funny part is if I was meeting you I'm pretty darn sure I'd feel the same way.

November 16, 2007 7:17 AM  
Blogger Anton Strout said...

Poor soon to be hollowed out like a Taun-taun on Hoth Neil....

November 16, 2007 9:25 AM  
Blogger noblehobo said...

alas, if i were still in mn, i could visit you in minneapolis. had to go and live in the deep, deep south though...

soon a photo of your book and the cherry striped pole that marks the bottom axis o' our planet.

good luck!


November 16, 2007 10:45 AM  
Blogger Amanda said...

Soooooooooo jealous. I can see why you're freaking out.
Then again, I was somewhat the same way when I met you, and you didn't totally hate me (to my face), so I'm sure you'll be fine.

Oh, and I've talked to lots of the kids you spoke for at the commencement, and they LOVED YOU. Just so you know :D

November 16, 2007 11:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh Pat, just the picture I wanted in my head. Poor Ernie being scalped.
But anyway... Have fun meeting Mr. Gaiman. I bet you've been having the time of your life lately.


November 16, 2007 1:55 PM  
Blogger Jordan R said...

Man if I ever saw both you and Tad in the same room I think my head would explode.

November 16, 2007 2:12 PM  
Blogger lexa said...

Were I in your position I would have made myself much, much crazier ... to the point where I would NOT be able to promise Mr. Gaiman that I wouldn't scalp him and wear his hair as a little hat. So, from where I stand, you're doing just fine.

Also? Dinner with Tad Williams and you weren't freaked out? Wow. I'm can't say whether I'm more envious or admiring of you. What an amazing time in your life this must be!

The best I can offer is my story about wandering through a friend's art opening some years ago with Tim Powers in tow. (He was very sweet, btw.)

November 16, 2007 2:49 PM  
Blogger Mary J. said...

Don't worry, Pat- you'll be great. ;-) You are witty, wonderful and kind to spazzed out fans. All good karma.
Now if Joss Whedon should suddenly appear and join the conversation.
Oh, dear... I imagine mad Muppet mayhem will ensue!

November 16, 2007 3:09 PM  
Anonymous Jenna said...

Oh wow. Neil Gaiman? He remains the one author I have not met that I have decided I must before I die (though, granted, being in my late teens hopefully gives me a fair chunk of time on that count). I reread his books periodically and they blow me away every single time...

I wish you good luck on the meeting, Pat. When I met you at WFC, I was excited but otherwise completely at ease; on the other hand, when I met Patricia McKillip at the same convention, I managed to sound like a resounding idiot ("...your tone... it's like... like WATER.") It's a flip of the coin, I guess x3

November 16, 2007 3:23 PM  
Anonymous Russo-Geri said...

All is well that ends well...I bet he's just as pumped as you are. Just like what hob said, he's just another guy. I've heard a lot of good about him mind you. Never read his stuff, but i suppose i should.

November 16, 2007 4:09 PM  
Anonymous Russo-Geri said...

And i believe the word is quite possibly, let's say... "Apprehensive"

November 16, 2007 4:11 PM  
Blogger Kelly said...

So, I got a chance to meet Phil Collins (my brother in law toured with him on his Big Band tour). All day, I'm trying to think of something pithy to say, something that won't make me a dork. Of course, my hubby and my BIN are making fun of me the whole time. Finally, I meet Phil. I stutter, I can barely speak and I say something stupid. He's really swee (and short)- like it's no big deal. Then we have a picture together and the picture says it all. He's got this look on his face, like oh dear lord, save me from this crazy person... Here's hoping it's not like that for you & Neil. Break a leg.

November 16, 2007 7:03 PM  
Anonymous thislaura said...

An open letter to the states of Wisconsin and Minnesota:

You've had enough Pat. You get to see him all the frakkin' time.

Please share.

Disgruntledly yours,
The other 48 states

November 16, 2007 9:09 PM  
Anonymous Jessie said...

I'm not so sure I'd take your pinky swears to heart....

November 16, 2007 10:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


New York adds its signature full willing.

November 17, 2007 7:15 PM  
Anonymous Arem said...

I just finished reading your novel and cannot wait for your next publication. The first was sublime; work was just breaks between chances to read! After reading, I decided to look at your blog...and wound up with tears in my eyes from laughing due to your stream-of-consciousness way with words about your meeting. Made me feel like I had just found an old friend who turned out to be a real cut-up when they say whats on their mind. Hope your meeting is, if anything, at least memorable. :-)

November 18, 2007 1:42 AM  
Blogger LoonLady said...

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November 18, 2007 2:36 AM  
Blogger LoonLady said...

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November 18, 2007 2:43 AM  
Blogger LoonLady said...

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November 18, 2007 10:54 AM  
Blogger LoonLady said...

Call me anal, I apologize for the deletes... Typos drive me nuts and this blog won't let you edit once posted.... I do believe I've got it right now. If not, I will leave it as is.... Promise!

Well today was a wonderful day! I brought my 14 year old daughter to the Fantasy Matters Conference hosted at the University of Minnesota.

We had the pleasure of listening to Pat read from his first book, a bit of the second book, a wonderful Cyrano de Bergerac piece, and a part of his advice column, regarding Slow Zombies Vs. Fast Zombies, which was truly funny!

During the very short hour we spent we had time for Q & A. The questions asked were both interesting and enlightening, as were the answers Pat had for them.

Though it really does show through, here on Pat's Blog, I have to say he's even more genuine in person.

Just as his hour of reading ended, one of the conference representatives came in to the room and told Pat that Neil Gaiman wanted to talk to him. WOW! The twinkle in Pat's eye was a sight to behold.

Rather than delay Pat with a mere autograph, we waited until after the photo session with all the other authors who participated in the conference.

When Pat graciously thanked us for "sticking around", he told us he had some time to sit and talk with Neil Gaiman.

Pat not only signed and dated our book, he also wrote a quote from the book of his own choosing...

"You are not wise enough to fear me as I should be feared."

He also drew some special places on the map, indicating what he called "Secret Atur Outposts", Vintas, The Sheev, and Eves Down.

These places I have yet to discover in the reading of the book, as I have not had the time I had hoped to have had, to read before the conference. I look forward to referencing them, as I finish reading this book which I have already fallen in love with.

My daughter was not real excited about going today, but she's got an open mind and trusted me when I told her it would be a great experience.

The signed book is now on the book shelf and will remain there as a very special collectible in our family. We have bought two more copies for reading, as my daughter was so intrigued and her interest so piqued by the reading, she could not wait to get started on the book.

Pat has a wonderful voice and my daughter wants to request that he consider and UNABRIDGED Audio CD of the books, and I must agree! It's great being read to by Pat.

Thank you Pat, for a day which has inspired me in my own writing and will remain a great memory for both my daughter and I!

Laurie & Alexis

November 18, 2007 11:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, Neil Gaiman! The butterflies would be the flesh-eating ones in me for that one. I'm sure you'll surprise yourself though. In a good way! I suppose I should add that!

I met George R.R. Martin earlier this year and I went into squeaky teenage boy mode. And I'm a woman much older than that! I was so embarrassed, but he smiled kindly and signed my books without any comment on my pitiful self.

~ Christine

November 18, 2007 11:45 AM  
Blogger Kelly Swails said...

Pat, by now it's too late for this advice, but ...

Would it help to think that Neil Gaiman poops just like the rest of us? Probably, anyway.

Hope your meeting went great!

November 18, 2007 12:43 PM  
Anonymous Gareth said...

Hey Pat,
If the worst happens you can always zombie out. BBBBRRRAAAAIIIINNNNSSSS.

Seriously though, just have fun and dont let it get to you. Just look at it from a different POV how would you react if in a few years times a new novelist comes up to you so chuffed at meeting you. Would you think cool or would you end up trying to put them at thier ease.

November 18, 2007 6:29 PM  
Anonymous sweet-eater said...

i've never read gaiman. i see his books at the bookstore every weekend, but it's not time yet to spend with him and his.

but the last three days, and nights, have definitely been time well, well spent with (your &) kvothe's words. and having read the last one of the first volume just a couple hours ago, i feel a little disorientated, and empty.

when do we get the next one?

find some snow, and i'm sure i can come up with a few who'd dance with me. naked even. just... the next volume... please.

November 18, 2007 9:06 PM  
Blogger Dan Hawkins said...

Gaiman is indeed one of the greats.

And in case you hadn't noticed (a most doubtful situation to be sure) he name-checked you on his blog today.

November 19, 2007 3:30 AM  
Blogger L. said...

(We spoke about Delany's naked picture at the conference.) Hope you didn't freak out too badly when meeting NG... he obviously wanted to meet you. I saw the blog mention, trolled over here, read this post, and thought "" Did you have something concrete to talk about?

November 19, 2007 9:48 PM  
Anonymous creepygirl said...

Myabe you already saw, but in addition to Gaiman's blog mention, there are some pics from the conference here:

and a nice discussion here: Including much discussion of Gaiman's coolness. And some of yours.

Dang I am so jealous. I wish I went to that conference.

November 20, 2007 11:20 AM  
Anonymous Taliesin said...

Hi Pat,

Can I ask a question? Amazon is now saying teh second book isn't coming out until April 2009, when earlier it was April 2008. Surely that cannot be right can it, a full year's delay? Can you confirm if that is a false date and if yes when you think it will be out?

November 21, 2007 12:20 PM  
Anonymous Caitlin Kittredge said...

Hi Pat,

Thought I'd drop by and say it was great meeting you at Fantasy Matters and doing the worldbuilding panel.

See you around!


November 21, 2007 1:05 PM  
Blogger Jackie said...

Pat, it was terrific meeting you at Fantasy Matters. And I'm only a teensy bit jealous that you got to hang with the Dream King (to quote Ms. Amos...)

November 21, 2007 5:47 PM  
Anonymous Sad Reader said...

Have fun with Neil Gaiman. And now for the reason I'm so down. I just looked at (I can really see why you find it so addictive) and it says your second book isn't going to be released til April 2009.

WHAT'S GOING ON HERE???? I really hope that's a typo, and means to say April 2008. Because 09 is too long. By then I will be of an age where I might finally have to start maturing, which means moving to Oprah Book club novels and away from the Science Fiction/Fantasy genre. Okay, maybe not, but 1.5 years is much too long to wait.

November 21, 2007 11:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let me add it was nice meeting you at the conference, Pat--and I appreciate your answering my questions on publishing and world building alike. And Gaiman was indeed amazing. Hope to see you at another conference soon!

Greg Wilson

November 22, 2007 2:19 PM  
Anonymous Andy B said...

You're not creepy at all in this photo, Pat. No, not creepy at all...

Oh, and as long as I'm linking, here's your name check on Gaiman's journal.

November 23, 2007 3:22 PM  
Anonymous creepygirl said...

I think Pat should take as long as he needs to make book 2 as good as the first book. It will be hard to wait, but worth it!

November 24, 2007 5:59 PM  
Anonymous creepygal said...

and yet another blog post that describes the conference and makes me wish i'd gone:

nothing pat-related, just discussion of the goings-on

I think i really am creepy now, three replies to one blog post...

November 27, 2007 4:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the work we're all looking for is "nerve-wracking"...

Also, you should visit Virginia so that you can sign my book.

November 29, 2007 2:32 PM  
Anonymous creepygirl said...

Ok this is putting too fine a point on it probably, but when I say "nerve-wracking," I am referring to actually being nervous during the activity. When I say "anxietifying," admittedly a lame word, I mean that I am getting anxious in anticipation of an event. Sometimes the event turns out not to be nerve-wracking at the time.

I realize this distinction may make no sense to persons with ordinary levels of anxiety. You know the Inuit and words for snow? Yeah, I guess that's me and my anxiety... :)

November 30, 2007 9:11 PM  
Blogger Kelly said...

It's been an awful long time since your last post... makes me wonder if you really did go postal on Mr. Gaiman. Do we need to call the police??? Hope all is well.

December 1, 2007 7:13 PM  
Blogger Mary J. said...

Have no fear- his facebook and myspace pages have shown more recent activity. To quote one of my other favorite books, "...unwilling to speak, unless we expect to say something that will amaze the whole room, and be handed down to posterity with all the eclat of a proverb.''

I love an excuse to bring Austen into a conversation!

December 2, 2007 10:50 AM  
Blogger unique_stephen said...

Thanks for the first book, I just finished it last night. I've not stayed up till 2am reading for perhaps 10 years.

I can't wait till you take me back

December 2, 2007 11:06 PM  
Blogger Josh said...

I will never forgive Neil Gaiman for "The Trouble with Susan". He lost at least one fan forever with that one, and gained an enemy.

October 20, 2008 2:09 AM  
Blogger Josh said...

Correction: "The Problem of Susan".

My mistake.

October 20, 2008 2:19 AM  

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