A while back, I read something interesting. I should have mentioned this article when I first read it. But it made me think of my current favorite author, Patrick Rothfuss, and I wasn’t sure why.
The NYT ran the article I’m talking about: It’s about urging reluctant boys to read. In it, Michael Cart has some interesting points to make, one of which was: “We need more good works of realistic fiction, nonfiction, graphic novels, on or offline, that invite boys to reflect on what kinds of men they want to become.”
Which is exactly why I thank God there are still writers like Patrick Rothfuss afoot.
Kvothe, his lead character, is the kind of man any dad would be proud to call son: Intelligent but humble, and ferocious yet compassionate.
And more importantly to young dudes: He’s cool.
But on a personal note, that’s not what made me think of him.
I started thinking of myself as a young reader. Even then, I thought about writing too. For years, though, I did nothing but think about it. But Patrick is an inspiration to the thinker and the artist alike. In fact, when he wrote “The Name of the Wind,” he inspired the hell out of me.
No, my stuff isn’t as long or, and I mean this, as good as the Kingkiller Chronicles. It isn’t meant to be. Instead, Patrick Rothfuss has shown me how to be MY OWN writer.
You might think Patrick has written a book about writing too. But as far as I know, he hasn’t. Patrick Rothfuss writes fantasy novels, and damn good ones. The Onion A. V. Club called “The Name of The Wind” the best book, in any genre, of the past decade. He also cares about readers, doing numerous signings and readings on incredibly long (and what must be incredibly exhausting) tour dates. Beyond readers, he’s genuinely concerned about humanity, donating huge chunks of his profits to Heifer International (www.heifer.org)
But, and I am kind of embarrassed to admit, being able to one day support my favorite charity is not what inspired me either.
It’s not even his epic beard.
What inspired me about Patrick Rothfuss is this: My niece.
As kids often do, she made a completely random and kind of hilarious remark about her preschool teachers. She said, "Uncle Thomas, I like my teachers."
"Yep. They both have yellow hair, but they both have a different voice."
I thought: That is it!
Patrick - He doesn’t shy away from his own voice … I swear, I think I could detect his writing if he were filling in those little circles on a standardized test. The man doesn’t just have a way with words. He has his way with words. Okay… that didn’t come out right, but you get the point. His novels, in my opinion, could never really be emulated.
And how cool is it to know your voice is your own?
So I got off my ass.
And I wrote.