I wrote a letter to Pat Rothfuss.

So, if you’ve followed my blog for a while, you know I’m a huge fan of Pat Rothfuss.

For folks who are new here: well, I am a huge fan of the author Patrick Rothfuss.

I don’t think I’d necessarily call myself a rabid fan, like how I used to be with Sailor Moon back when I was a teenager, but I am definitely a huge fan. I have almost every book he’s ever written (aside from the short story anthologies he’s contributed to and Your Annotated, Illustrated College Survival Guide – the former because I am a slacker, the latter because it’s ridiculously rare) – and most of those books are signed. I have prints of artwork based on The Kingkiller Chronicles – again, most signed by Pat. (The one that wasn’t signed by Pat was signed by the artist, Echo Chernik – and I’m ridiculously happy about that too.) I have almost all the jewelry that Badali Jewelry sells that’s based on the books. I’ve backed a bunch of Kingkiller Chronicle-related Kickstarter campaigns. I’ve owned three Eolian t-shirts (the first one I wore it so much it started falling apart, the second one just disappeared one day and I still haven’t found it). My car has talent pipe decals in the back windows. I cosplayed as Denna once. I quoted a line from The Name of the Wind in my wedding vows when Rana and I got married, and quoted The Slow Regard of Silent Things in the eulogy I delivered at her funeral. And I’ve been lucky enough to run into Pat at Gen Con three times – in 2013, 2015, and 2017.

… okay, seeing all of that written out kind of makes me feel a little ridiculous. Hey, when I get into something, though, I get into it.

So, what prompted me to write Pat a letter?

Anyhow. I’ve been reading The Slow Regard of Silent Things to my anxious cat Anya, to help her calm down after moving to the new house. She ended up moving a little later than the rest of us – there’s been a lot of reconfiguring of living situations among me and my chosen family lately, and J wanted to see how she acclimated to new people and new cats at the house after I moved out. Long story short: she had been stressed out due to sharing a house with five other cats, and not eating much due to one of the other cats bullying her away from her food, so we decided to move her here. After all, we’ve only got Peggy and Hannah here – and while they’re remarkably energetic for senior cats (Hannah is almost 13 and Peggy turned 15 in February, and they both still act like kittens at times), they’re also a lot calmer than the other cats Anya was living with.

Anya was not thrilled with having to move and hid in her crate here for a few days. Then it hit me: I saw a suggestion about reading to cats to help them get acclimated to new owners/homes/other stressful situations, so I pulled out my copy of The Slow Regard of Silent Things and read to Anya. It really helped her come out of her shell.

Photograph of me reading the book "The Slow Regard of Silent Things" to Anya, a small black and white cat. Anya and I are sitting in a large walk-in closet.

Yes, I am reading to my cat from the inside of a closet. Closets are Anya’s favorite places to hide.

The Slow Regard of Silent Things is one of my favorite books ever, for a couple of different reasons. Firstly, I identify rather strongly with the main character, Auri. We are both anxious and easily overwhelmed. We both feel things a little too strongly at times. We both have trauma in our past that’s shaped who we are today. In addition to identifying with Auri, I also love the book because of Pat’s wonderful way with words. It is an absolute delight to read, and reading it out loud is an experience. The way Pat uses words to describe Auri’s thoughts, her feelings, and her view of the world is lyrically beautiful. I absolutely love this book.

Artwork of Auri from the book "The Slow Regard of Silent Things". Auri is underground, looking up towards a grate overhead.

Artwork of Auri from the author’s foreword in The Slow Regard of Silent Things.

It’s no surprise that I’ve been in rough shape lately. I’ve been healing from a lot of grief and trauma from just the past six months alone. Reading a book that I already had such an emotional connection to nudged me towards the point where I ended up overwhelmed with emotions, and I felt that I had to tell Pat just how much of an impact his books have had on my life.

So I wrote Pat a letter.

Writing to an author: not something I’ve done much of

I’ve only ever written to an author once before. I sent an email to Anne Bishop, another author whose books I’ve enjoyed, at one point back in 2007 (if I remember right). It was just a short thing about how I really enjoyed her books and thanked her for writing them. She actually responded to my email! I was so surprised – and so happy – to see that she’d read my email and made the time to respond.

Writing to Pat, though? That was an entirely different experience.

The letter I wrote to Anne Bishop was a short, couple-of-paragraph thing that I wrote while I was in a good emotional headspace. The letter to Pat is a four-page single-spaced hot mess of emotional rambling. I was crying by the time I got done writing the damn thing. I was very much not in a good headspace when I was writing it.

But you know what? It felt good to get all those thoughts and feelings down on paper. It’s something I’d been meaning to do for years – tell him what his books mean to me. I guess it took an emotional breakdown brought on by reading The Slow Regard of Silent Things to my anxious cat to finally get me to do it.

Dang, when I phrase it like that, my life sounds like a ridiculous hot mess right now. Having a breakdown brought on by reading a book to my cat is not a thing I thought I’d be experiencing in 2022, not if you’d asked me last year what I thought would happen this year. (I can say that about a lot of things that happened over the past six months, though.)

The letter itself

Anyway, back to the letter. It’s long, and rambling, and it talks about how much of an impact he and his books have had on me. About how him hugging me at Gen Con 2013 made my entire year, and how I was so thrilled that he took a picture of my Denna costume in 2017. How I identify with Auri, how much I love Slow Regard, and how I sat in the closet and read it out loud to little Anya to encourage her to come out of hiding. I wrote it last week, but haven’t mailed it yet – I keep meaning to, but I also keep getting distracted. (It’s also been way too hot to leave the house the past few days.) Besides, even if if it makes its way to him (who knows, it could get lost in the mail), I don’t know if he’ll actually read it. And even if he does read it, I doubt he’ll write back. After all, he’s a busy guy, and I’m just a small-time nerdy blogger who’s had a pretty terrible year that was made better by his books.

Even so, the simple act of writing the letter helped me feel better. I’ll take that as a win.

And who knows, maybe he will read the letter. Maybe he’ll even come check out the blog. (I pointed him to a post I wrote in late 2017 at the end of the letter, one where I rambled about how much I liked him.)

Well, Pat, if by some crazy twist of fate you do end up reading both my letter and this post: thank you for taking the time to read this small-time blogger’s letter, and for caring enough to come look at my blog.

(And I hope I haven’t scared you off. I know I can be a bit…extra. It’s the ADHD.)

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