Kullervo and Kvothe and College
It’s fall. The big summer reading crash is over. And I’m back to the usual grind of degree-earning life.
It would be different if I were attending Roke in Earthsea or were an Elir in Imre’s University or visiting Endor College from a Ghibli Studio movie or even, to stretch it a little, studying the Elvish languages under Master Elrond in Rivendell.
As it is, I’m not one of those people who loves going to school. Sometimes I wish I were.
And then I decide that’s crazy. I prefer to be what I am.
Why, you ask, do I dislike school? Well…for a lot of reasons. For one, I’m not fond of people or being especially social.
Okay, people scare me.
For another, there aren’t nearly enough dragons in school. And I’ve got better things to do!
In The Name of the Wind, there’s a time when Kvothe just sits for hour after hour playing the lute, doing nothing else, thinking nothing else until it’s like breathing to him. There are rumors like that among musicians about Chopin, that he locked himself away with a piano and emerged sometime later the man the world reveres, like a butterfly first touching the breeze with its wings. I envied Kvothe when I read about his lute practice. At that point in time, I was in the middle of a spring semester, hurtling toward exams, and I couldn’t help thinking how wonderful it would be to do what he did, just sit under a tree, close out the world, make music and write. Nothing else. No deadlines. No stress. No people. Just music.
But in the meantime, I’m back in school. A little frustrated, perhaps, because there are too many books I want to read, stories I want to write (like my Writers of the Future entry! Aaagh!), and too much music I want to play (and voice-over jobs, and Renaissance festivals, and…you get the idea). After all those things crowding my brain, taking the last few General Education courses feels like a titanic waste of time. Even though the small responsible sliver of me knows better.
So how do I cheer myself up from this book-deprived, hyper-scheduled lifestyle?
I read another book.
I figured this would happen, so I started reading The Story of Kullervo before classes officially began (pre-review status: I love it! High epic narrative, how I have missed you! And Tolkien’s style, his flair–was it possible I was beginning to forget how much he is the best fantasy writer there is? I know, how ridiculous of me.).
Yeah. But I didn’t want to take my brand-new copy that I’d spoiled myself with to school in my backpack. The backpack that eats pencils. The backpack that still smells of peanut butter an melted plastic (yes, I think it’s gross, too). The backpack that carries all my textbooks and typically gets flung/tossed/hurled/shot/catapulted into whatever place when I get tired of carrying it. The backpack that may have an abyss or event horizon opening at the bottom–okay, I’m stretching it a bit with the last one. Point is, books don’t survive well there. I was not be about to put my pristine new copy in that dark, creepy place. No.
Luckily, I possess the ability to read several books at the same time. It’s an old habit that stems from the time when I was too young to fully understand or keep track of library book due dates.
So yesterday I started reading another book. One that I’ve had sitting on the bottom of my stack for a while, there if I need to hug it tight and feel comforted by the sheer number of pages waiting to be read, with characters I already know and love (and hate).
If you guessed The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss, you win the Bookmarked Currently Reading Guessing Game! Grand prize of…I don’t know. If you guessed, it, come up with something. And remember I’m a starving artist college student who doesn’t exactly have cash to shower on those with uncanny guessing luck. Or who cleverly cheat by checking my Goodreads profile.
I’ve been saving this one to read when I went back to school because I knew I’d need a good book to pull me out of the “I-am-so-bored-with-life” mood (since dragons are so hard to come by). Kvothe got me through finals last year, so I’m hoping he can do it again. And I also put off reading it because I’m a little scared.
Because if the book turns out to be a skunk-ready apple…
I will probably sob for several hours straight and never entirely forgive Mr. Rothfuss for the damage wreaked upon my poor bookworm’s heart, soul, and spirit.
So in the unlikelihood you’re reading, Mr. Rothfuss…
I loved the first book far more than I should have.
Don’t mess this up.