Long ago, I wrote a blog answering the question, “If I mail you a book, will you sign it?”
It that blog (which included a flow chart that I’m still pretty proud of) I explained the truth of the situation. Specifically, that I’d be happy to sign your books, but there are complications. Books get lost in the mail. Books get damaged. It takes time for me to sign a book, time to package and unpackage it, time to go to the post office, money to ship it, etc.
Generally speaking, it’s easier, safer, and faster to just buy a signed book in our online store: The Tinker’s Packs. Plus the money you spend there goes to charity, so it’s a double win.
Still, I know what it’s like to become attached to a book, and to want to have that particular book signed. So in that blog I told people if they *really* wanted to send me a book, I’d sign it, provided they followed certain rules. Most important among these is that they include return postage and send me something cool.
I expected the requests to kinda die down after that. But I was wrong. Very, very wrong.
In the years since I posted that blog, I’ve received hundreds and hundreds of gifts. So many that I can’t even begin to put an accurate number on it.
And for years, as I’ve opened the packages, I’ve thought to myself, “This is so cool. I’ve got to show this to people on the blog….”
Unfortunately, with rare exception, I never get around to it. There just aren’t enough hours in the day.
But a couple weeks ago, I got something I really want to tell you about.
The package showed up, late in the afternoon, and I dug through it looking for the toy surprise. A lot of times, getting a package or a letter from a fan can be the high point of my day.
At the bottom of the box I found something heavy wrapped in cloth. When I picked it up, my first thought was, “It’s a knife.”
Now this isn’t a first for me. Folks have sent me knives before. Someone sent me a knife they’d carved themselves out of wood. Someone else sent me a skinning knife from Alaska once.
But this was *really* heavy. So heavy that I almost thought it couldn’t be a knife. I have a knife made from a railroad tie, and this was heavier than that.
When I unwrapped it, I found this:
The entire knife was metal. Everything. Blade, guard, handle. Everything out of solid metal.
I looked at it and thought: Did someone make me a copper knife?
Then I thought: No. Nobody would do that.
Then I thought: This really looks like a copper knife.
Then I thought: Seriously?
So I brought out the letter and read it. It was from a guy named Tait and his friend Loren (no relation). Who run a little site called Esoteric Garage. They explained that they they liked to goof around with forging things as a hobby. And when they were talking about my books they came to the conclusion that, “a copper knife could be really useful if you wanted to kill a namer.”
Then I thought, These guys have been reading the books really closely.
I geeked out pretty hard. I called Tait and told him that this was the coolest thing I’d seen in months. He confirmed that the entire thing was copper. Even the rods that hold the handle together. Clever stuff.
After I got off the phone, I was still all excited about my knife. And I started to think, “I think I’ve been wrong about copper weapons. I think you could probably really fuck somebody up with this.”
So there I was, at the work house, holding a knife. And you know what it’s like when you’re holding something like that. When you pick up a nice baseball bat, you want to swing it around. You pick up a hatchet, you want to cut some wood. Some things yearn toward their purpose. Some things are the embodiment of a purpose. Some objects are practically crystallized verbs.
What I’m getting at, is that I was filled with a powerful urge to stab something.
This is not my best expression ever. Apparently, this is what I look like when I’m trying hard to repress the urge to stab.
I should stress that this urge was, first and foremost, scientific. You see, this sort of thing is research for me. The more experiences I gather, the more effective I am as a writer.
Luckily, I’m able to control my scientific urges to a certain degree. This is especially fortunate, considering Amanda, one of my assistants, was in the workhouse with me.
So, in the interest of science, I stepped back and stabbed the nearby doorframe as hard as I could. Because, y’know, it’s my house, and I can do whatever the hell I want.
What did I learn from the experiment?
1. I made a good choice in hiring Amanda. As I stood there, looking at the knife sticking out of the wall, she said. “I kinda figured you were going to do that.”
2. You can definitely fuck somebody up with a copper knife.
3. Copper’s more durable than I suspected.
Also, I was reminded that my readers are very cool. Because not only did Tait send me a knife as a present, but he mentioned he might have something to donate to worldbuilders in a couple of months….
Thanks so much, Tait. Rest assured that I’m pretty sure you’re not legally responsible for anything I do with this. At worst, you’re accessory-before-the-fact.
Have a good weekend everybody,