Wednesday, February 11, 2009
My Funny Valentine

One of the side effects of working on the book intensively is that everything else tends to fade from my awareness. I fall behind on e-mail, miss scheduled appointments, ignore Sarah, and tend to let the blog slide.

So yesterday, as I hauled firewood into the cabin, I thought, "Is it February? Isn't Valentines Day coming up?"

Then I thought, "Won't I be up here in Hayward, shackled to The Wise Man's Fear over Valentine's day?"

I realized it was true and went inside to call Sarah. I asked if she was cool with that.

She was cool with that.

I went back to carrying firewood and found that I couldn't remember when I'd last posted a blog, or what it had been about.

Then I thought, "I'm pretty sure I've written a Valentine's day column at some point in the past. If I could find it, that would save me some time."

So, after I was done schlepping in the wood. I dug through my files and found I was correct. I had written a Valentine's Day column. In fact, I had written several of them over the years.

Then I found this one. A column I had written several years ago and forgotten about until now.

This, my friends, is what we writers refer to as serendipity.

[Editor's note. For a few of the references in this column to make sense, you have to understand that by the time I did this column, I had been writing it in the local paper for over seven years and actually had a sponsor who underwrote the column. This provided me some much-needed ad revenue, and let me offer prizes to people who wrote in letters. Usually a gift certificate from a local coffeeshop.]

[Editor's note - This isn't really an editor, by the way. It's just me. But "Pat's note" doesn't sound nearly as official.]


Dear Pat,

A friend gave me a copy of your College Survival Guide Collection for Christmas and I spent all break reading it. It was awesome getting to read all the columns from back before I came to School here.

After reading those old columns, I realized your newer columns are a little... angry. Compared to those earlier ones. They're still funny, but they're also kinda grim.

I was just hoping we could occasionally see the kinder, gentler Pat. The Pat that gave advice to the girl with all the scars back when I was a freshman, or wrote the Christmas column in your book. Focus on the positive.

Kaitlin

*****

Pat,

My girlfriend keeps talking about you. All the time. She's all like, "Pat Rothfuss is the funniest guy! OMG! I can't believe the things he says!" Honestly, I'm pretty sick of it.

It's gotten worse since you put up that Myspace page. She read more of your stuff and found some pictures of you and thinks you're "the cutest." So now I'm officially pissed. I'm her boyfriend, I'M supposed to be CUTEST!

So I was thinking I only have two ways to solve this problem.

You could go out on a date with my girlfriend. It would be like a Valentine's day present to her. AND I'm guessing after she meets you she'll realize you're not all that.

We could trade girlfriends. Mine is obsessed. And I'm guessing yours is probably pretty sick of you.

Sad About My Inappropriately Excited Girlfriend

Well SAMIEL, flattered as I am by your proposal, I find myself skeptical. Lately, people have been writing in fake problems just to get free coffee from the Mission. So I suspect that this letter is pure bullshit. Well, maybe not *pure* bullshit, but at least three-nines fine.

First off, there are no photos of me up at myspace, only illustrations. Secondly, nobody says: "OMG!" And lastly, I have a hard time believing anyone would offer their girlfriend a date with someone else as a V-day present.

I expect it's much more likely that this is a blatant attempt to get close to my girlfriend.

While my cynical nature inclines me toward the first possibility, I'm going to take Kaitlyn's politely-phrased suggestion and focus on the positive in this column. I'm going to assume that you're smitten with my ladyfriend, and, with V-Day coming up, you decided to make your move.

No offense to your girlfriend SAM. She's obviously a woman of impeccable taste. But she can't hold a candle to my girlfriend.

My girlfriend's name is Sarah. She is, to put it plainly, the best of all possible girlfriends.

Some of you might remember the V-day column from a couple years back when I bitched about how girls get to cash in on Valentine's day, while guys got screwed in the deal? Well, last Valentine's day, Sarah bought me flowers and candy, took me out to dinner, and gave me a backrub. How's that for cool?

But that's only the tip of the iceberg. She's hella smart, a great writer, and better at math than me. She does community service, keeps up on current events, and makes awesome banana bread. Her hair smells really, really, good.

Sarah is also hot. Beyond hot. I'm not even kidding here. You know when you see a geeky guy walking around an absolute bombshell and you think, "The hell? How did he end up with her? She's a thousand times hotter than him!" Well Sarah and I are like that, with the main difference that I'm pretty damn sexy too.

It's like a story problem: if Sarah is a thousand times sexier than Pat, and Pat is fifty times sexier than you... Do the math: (Damn sexy x 1000 + boobs = Sarah.)





Shes so sexy that Homeland Security is worried about her falling into the hands of the terrorists. Fema has passed a special set of laws requiring her to always wear at least three layers of clothing whenever she's in public. If she wears only one layer, she causes car wrecks. If she wears a tank top, men without protective eyewear have grand-mal seizures and passing women become suddenly bi-curious.

When she gets naked, the sexiness she throws off is like the radiation from a nuclear bomb. If we hadn't lined the walls of her bedroom and bathroom with three inches of lead, no man in Stevens Point could wear tight fitting pants, and every woman in Central Wisconsin would be gay.

I'm running low on space here, so I can't go into details about the sex. So let me just say this: Damn.

Perhaps most importantly, Sarah is sweet. I have a tendency, as Kaitlyn pointed out, to get a little grim. I tend to waver back and forth between a raging inferno of furious anger, and a chilly pillar of bitter cynicism. But being around Sarah is like a drink of cool water. When she's nearby, you realize that the world is a pretty nice place after all. Sometimes her influence is all that keeps me from turning into a cussed, crotchety old bastard.





Love ya sweetie, happy Valentine's Day.

*****

Awww.... Isn't that sweet?

If you'd like to leave a comment for Sarah telling her how lovely she is, feel free.

That said, don't get too fresh. She is, after all, My Girl.

Unless you are lady-types, of course. Then you can get as fresh as you want. Be my guest.


Later all,

pat

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posted by Pat at 41 Comments



Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Convention stories


It seems like every time I'm at a convention, a thousand small, cool things happen. There's usually a dozen or so that catch at me, and I think, "I'll write about that in the blog when I get home."

But then I actually get home, and I'm tired. Then the next day I need to do laundry, and answer about 800 e-mails, and make lusty snugglebunnies with my girlfriend.

And sometimes I write, too. I don't know if y'all have heard, but there is a book that I'm supposed to be working on.

Typically, by the time I'm caught back up with my life, the memory of those cool little moments has faded somewhat. And so most of them just gently evaporate without ever being written down. Which is a shame, really.

So, instead of trying to weave all of these things into any sort of consistent narrative, I'm just going to bang a few of them out there. If you're one of those literary folks, you can think of these as vignettes. If not, you can just pretend you're reading a Vonnegut novel.


*****


I hate it when you're at a crowded convention, and people stop in the middle of the hallway to talk to their four friends.

I know that one of the great joys of the convention is running into people and having a nice chat. I myself have been known to stop and talk with friends I haven't seen in a long while. However, the center of the hallway is not the place for this conversation. A coffee shop? Yes. Over dinner at the Italian place? Certainly. How about over in the lounge there, on the couches? Why that sounds lovely too....

The hallway? No. That is not the right place for your reunion.

You see, the purpose of a hallway is to allow people to move from one place to another. That is its primary function. That is key to the platonic form of the hallway. If you stop in the hallway to talk, you are acting contrary to the fundamental nature of the hallway. This angers god and all clear-thinking individuals. Including me. Yes me, the person standing behind you. Yes me, the person standing motionless behind you in the hallway. Yes the person who looks as if he is thinking about howling with rage, punching you in the neck, then stepping over your doughy, twitching body.

In the interest of politeness and civilization, I resist my urges. However, I am tempted to do something. Like make buttons that read: "Hallways? Ask me how!" or a pamphlet entitled: "Hallways: a user's guide for getting the fuck out of my way."


*****


Bad - My cell phone went off during a panel.

Worse - I was one of the panelists.

Worst - I was the moderator.

P.S. Then it went off again.


*****

When did clocks become unfashionable? Am I the only one who remembers when you could go into a store and there would be a clock on the wall? You know, for the telling of time? Who decided that wasn't cool anymore?

Yes I know most people have cell phones these days. But that shouldn't make any difference. People used to have watches. You know what's easier than digging around in your backpack, pulling out your phone, then opening it? Looking up on the fucking wall and seeing a clock there. That's what.


*****


Fans are cool. My fans are cool to an exponentially higher degree. At gencon, after my first panel, a lovely young lady came up and handed me this....





This isn't a terribly good reproduction of the watercolour, as I just snapped it with my digital camera. But the picture is obviously a likeness of me from when I dressed up like a gnome at gencon last year.

Did I ever post up a picture of that? I can't remember. Here it is, just in case:





I never remember to take pictures of myself at these things, so I owe this picture to the fan who sent it along to me. When e-mailed it, she told me the story of how her daughter laughed when she saw it.

Her mom though that she was laughing at the obvious thing: a man dressed like a gnome. But apparently that wasn't it at all. The little girl reached out, brushed at my face in the picture, and said, "I like his fur."

Score another point for the beard.


*****


Though I've done a bunch of traveling lately, I've never flown on Southwest Airlines before. They don't have assigned seating. Every ticket has a number, you board the plane in that order, then you pick whatever seat looks best to you, depending on what's left. It was a little weird. Not bad, just unfamiliar.

Also, Southwest apparently has the only funny flight attendants in the whole business. I've tuned out the standard safety procedures for over a year now. You know what I'm talking about: that little pre-flight spiel where they explain how the seat belt works and lie to you about your seat cushion being able to float.

But on Southwest, the woman said, "Please listen closely while my ex-boyfriend and fiance demonstrate the safety procedures." And I did pay attention, especially when she started to make fun of one of the guys who couldn't get his life jacket on quickly enough for her taste. Later, when she was walking down the isle, one of the guys got on the intercom and made a boom-bada boom-bada noise in time with her walk. It was good fun.

Lastly, on Southwest, they don't cheap you on the snacks. They go around with a big box of different goodies, and if you say, "I want one of each." Then they just give you one of each. They didn't act like the CEO was going to count the packets of peanut butter crackers at the end and beat them if one is missing. Plus you got a whole can of soda and not just a cupful, which I appreciate.

These may not sound like much, but life, like writing, is built from small details. If I'm going to pay 400 bucks for a plane ticket, then I want a whole can of soda and an extra packet of peanuts. Does it make me feel better? Yes. Yes it does. It's like being given the choice between sodomy and sodomy with a little lube. You're going to have the sodomy either way, so you come to appreciate whatever small pieces of consideration the airline overlords grant you.

*****

That's all for now. More later. Off to bed.

pat

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posted by Pat at 37 Comments



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