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



Monday, June 9, 2008
Photo Contest Part VIII - Eros, Filius, and Agape

One of the original categories I proposed for this contest was "Most Sexy." This was, of course, a shameless attempt to get young ladies to send me pictures of themselves all scantily clad.

As with all of my nefarious schemes, this one met with varying degrees of success.





Oh. I remember when I had abs. *Sigh.* A decade of sitting in front of a computer writing a novel has not been good for my physique. I hope y'all appreciate what I gave up for this novel....

Similarly, as the pictures started to roll in, I realized that that "sexy" was too narrow a term for this category. I needed to broaden the field a bit, but I can't think of a single way to describe them. "Most Lovely" isn't quite right either. Perhaps what we need is not a single broad term, but a group of more specific ones....

The ancient Greeks were wise enough to have three words for love: Filius, Eros, and Agape. Filius was family love, what you feel for your mom. Eros was sweaty love of the sort that you feel for best friend's hot mom. Agape is profound and elevated. A sort of soul love, like what you feel for your PlayStation, or Natalie Portman, or Joss Whedon.

Let's do it that way, let us divide and conquer.





Some people made blatant attempts to appeal to my prurient interests. But these heavy-handed photoshoppings were the exception to the rule.






Some photos, in fact, were very high-class. Elegant, even.






Here we have the flirtation that comes at the beginning of the relationship....






.... and the romance that comes later. You sure know how to treat a book, Captain Joe.






Awwww.... the sweetest picture.






Here, apparently my book has just competed in some manner of sexual Olympics. I'm pretty sure that low score up on the board is from the East German judge....






Only rarely in my life have I been looked at with this degree of adoration. This is an agape look.






Awwww... Filius.






And there was a fair share of straight-up sexy too. Good old-fashioned Eros never goes out of style.






We've got librarian sexy.






Hip-wader sexy. (Don't judge me.)





And some bad-boy sexy. Can you feel the sheer damn manliness rolling off this? Not a lot of guys seemed interested in sending in pictures of this sort, so I think it's worth the runner-up position.






Our winner. So lovely. (I assume this was before the duck showed up...)





(Click to Embiggen)


And the picture that stunned me. The extra-winner. Winner plus. The ladies who sent this in were careful to point out that they were reading Chapter 69: Wind or Women's Fancy.

Ladies, for going to such lengths, each of you may have whatever prizes you like. Plus, I'd like to send along something special. Would you have any interest in a couple copies of the ARC I've been hording? It only seems fair that you would each get one, as this was clearly a team effort.

This picture. I... I just don't know what to say. Part of me feels like I should try to be suave here. I feel like I should pretend...

Here's the deal. I think when we're young, we all dream of being famous. We see actors or rock stars on the news, and we want some of that for ourselves. It's a dream of power. It's a childish fantasy.

I'm a grown-up. Partly. And that grown-up part of me says, "You should be mature about this. Assuming an attitude of careful appreciation to this picture. Be calm and complimentary, but don't overdo it. Remember, you don't want to seem like some immature git. Or worse, an old pervert."

I'm also a feminist. Hell, I spent years as the ADVISOR to the local feminist group. That part of me is grumbling about women's bodies as objects, and... y'know... patriarchy and stuff.

These are just a few of the ways my superego is trying to assert itself. Trying to make me feel guilty. Trying to crush my joy thin and lifeless as a dry, brown leaf.

But no. I'm going to shrug off all that responsible-minded bullshit for a moment and tell you the truth. This is cool. This is the coolest thing ever. I look at this picture and I feel like a goofy teenager again. When I first saw it, I laughed with delight and joy. I told everyone about it.

I wish I could go back in time and talk to my poor, lonely, confused teenage self and say, "Pat, things are not going to go smoothly for you over the next couple years. You will make terrible mistakes. You will spend a decade getting your college degree and writing a unmarketable behemoth of a fantasy novel. Most people, even the ones that love and support you, will think that this is a pretty stupid thing to do, and they will be right in thinking that."

Then I would lean forward and say, "But if you keep writing, you will finish that book. And if you keep revising it, a publisher will buy it. They will pay you money for the story that came out of your head. And once that book is in print, there are people who will love your book. They will love it beyond all reason and expectation. They will love your book to such a degree that beautiful young women will strip naked and adorn their bodies with the image of your book, and then they will send you a picture of it!"

In my mind's eye, I can see the smile on the face of that teenage Pat. It is the smile I am wearing now. It goes deep down into my chest, and it feels good. It feels like being a stupid kid again.

Tomorrow it will probably fade. I'll probably feel a little embarrassed about the fuss I made over this picture. But for now, I am happy in a very non-mature, non-responsible way.

For now, I know that I am very lucky. Thank you all.

pat

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posted by Pat at 52 Comments



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