Tuesday, June 10, 2014

A Moment in Time: A Reading With Patrick Rothfuss Pt 2

As most of /r/fantasy--and the nearly 400 people who showed up last night--are aware, Patrick Rothfuss performed a reading and Q&A last night on the second floor of Book People in downtown Austin, Texas. Mr. Rothfuss stopped by on his way from the Phoenix Comic Con for a chat with his Texas fan-base. 

Patrick Rothfuss reading a rare
example of when it's okay to right
a negative book review.
The reading began at 7:00 PM, but by 5:45, the only seating available was on the floor (where I ended up). By 6:15, the many fans and excited children that were still streaming through the door were packing into every corner of the room. As I mentioned, nearly 400 people came from all over Texas to partake of the joy of hearing Mr. Rothfuss and share "a moment in time," with other fans. Among the attendees were some Reddit folks--who I was fortunate enough to meet--and several of my close friends. It was kill-or-be-killed on seating, so none of us sat together, but a good time was still enjoyed by all, especially for the young people, who probably stood to benefit the most from hearing such an author as Patrick Rothfuss, who delighted everyone with real-world advice, some useful literary criticism regarding the evolution of the Fantasy genre, and a sneak peak at Rothfuss' short story, "The Lightning Tree", his Bast novella (bringing the character, Bast, back to life-- perhaps with Kvothe thinly disguising some displeasure at the opening of the story?) which can be found in the Rogues anthology, available from Bantam Spectra June 17, 2014. 

Later, Mr. Rothfuss conducted a signing, which I did not feel it was necessary to attend, as I have a signed hardback first edition of The Wise Man's Fear, which I purchased on accident at Barnes and Noble after Mr. Rothfuss came through Austin some years back during a book tour. After having met several authors--including Neil Gaiman in 2010--I did not feel the need to stand in that 400 person-strong line. I have left off the wonderful experience of meeting Mr. Rothfuss until the future. 

Mr. Rothfuss was a wonderful speaker. He used his incredible public speaking skills to make us laugh, and to even make us cry a little with touching stories about his experiences watching his little boy grow up. I learned a lot from his discussion, and from a reading of a negative book review, in which he spoke about the impact writing negative book reviews can have on authors, and of the few times it's necessary to write a "critical" review instead of a "negative" review. This caused me to re-examine some of my past reviews and decide I need to curb the venom. Rothfuss is not the first author to hint to me, either on a personal, professional or educational level, that I need to slow my roll a bit. Mr. Rothfuss even teased us a little by reading the first few lines of several other shorts in the Rogues anothology. Ready Player One author, and Austin local, Ernest Cline also made an appearance to see Mr. Rothfuss speak. 
Ready Player One author,
Ernest Cline.

As far as I know, there is no video of this reading and Q&A, and I think that's as it should be. I even deleted what little video I took. The audience curtailed digital documentation in order to open up our hearts and minds a little to a far more intimate experience not commonly found in public readings. Instead of a generic reading, followed by Q&A about his influences and inspiration, we saw a side of an author that was equal parts success and humbling reality, while sometimes being dogged by "Mid-Western Guilt" (I think there is a Texas-sized version of that too, and an Iowa-shaped version, if I'm not mistaken). What I love and appreciate most about last night was that I didn't feel like Austin was one more stop on an author's list of tour dates. Rather, I feel I experienced something that I can tell my children about when they sit down to Mr. Rothfuss' novels, "a moment in time," that will not be soon forgotten, but hopefully will be oft repeated. 


4 comments:

  1. Hey, we're in that picture with Ernest Cline! I'm in the blue shirt black slacks, and my wife is in the white and green jacket.

    It was a great discussion. I actually went through my Goodreads reviews and ratings and cleaned them up, too. Just last night and this afternoon, after what he said. After hearing him be so personable, it made me want to be more personable too.

    Were you the woman that the employee joked with about having your laptop too close to the tape? I've seen your blog on here before, but didn't connect you to Austin.

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    1. By "blog on here", I meant Reddit. I found you through your Reddit post.

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    3. Hi, Tom! Glad to hear from fellow Austin-ites! I think I remember seeing you, though we were so crammed in, I was lucky I got a seat at all. Yes, I was the one the staff was joshing about the tape. She was a sweetheart, really. I wish I could have gotten a more polite picture of Ernest Cline, but I couldn't find him later. There were a couple other Redditors there too that I was able to meet. Luckily, we're all in the same city and there is the opportunity for more friend-making. Thanks for reading!

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