Part of a series of blog posts that chart my progress from couch potato to published author. See Perspiring Authors page for a sequential list.
Just as I was at my apex of Thinking About It, I read one of the best books I’ve ever read in my life. It’s called THE NAME OF THE WIND, by Patrick Rothfuss. I picked it up because it had a label on it “Susie Recommends” (which means that the salesclerk Susie had read it and thought it swell). I turned it over and read the blurb. Whoever wrote the blurb on the back of that book is one hellishly good blurb-writer. In addition, the novel was heavy, which was good, because it wasn’t too badly priced, which meant, hey, I got a deal. And better yet, there was no bare-chested guy with a sword on the front of the cover. Okay. Sold.
It was, and is, a superb book. Imagine yourself sitting in your favourite chair at dusk. A man begins to tell you a story. His voice is deep and soft and layered, and you just find yourself transfixed in your chair, inwardly praying that he’d never stop talking. Hoping beyond hope, that the story will never end. That’s the type of book Patrick Rothfuss wrote.
I liked the book so much that I got out of bed at 1:00 a.m. and went down to the web to find out when book two would come out. And then, because I was so totally bowled over by Kvothe’s story, I wrote my first fan email. I let myself go on that email. I told him exactly why I liked the book, and why I was thrilled to have read it, and a whole bunch of other stuff. It was, as emails go, fairly long. I hit send and felt relieved.
A week later, I opened my email. Patrick Rothfuss had written back. Real authors do that? I sat down. Read the entire email so slowly, my dog aged another canine year. He said, (and yes, I still have the email), that it was a ‘lovely, lovely email’, and that — oh wait this deserves its own line —
“you’re not a bad writer yourself.”
There it was. In black and white. He thought I could write.
And you know what? That tiny whisper in my ear was all I needed to start again. I wasn’t just a wordless matron with a tribble who’d forgotten her dream and was standing on the crossroads between a lifetime of Oprah and a life-quest of writing. I was someone who’d written a ‘lovely’ email, and Patrick Rothfuss thought I wasn’t a bad writer. Small words, written by a kind man, but for me, it was a moment. Another one of those ‘well, look at that’ moments.
I was looking for a omen, and I had found it. So, the next step?
Look for inspiration and believe in yourself.
Of course, I did more than clutch a crystal in my hand and hope for good stuff to come my way. Next time I’ll tell you what work I needed to do toward payment for my inspiration. In the meantime, go read The Name of the Wind. You’ll like it, even if you don’t like fantasy.