Ruining a box to extract a treasure

Okay, that title is dumb. I didn’t ruin the box at all. (My wife even complimented the pretty shipping label!) But I did cut the box open, and there’s a story there.

When my first book, Box Cutters — also a chapbook of short fiction — came out and I received my first copies in the mail, I cut open the box with a classic Stanley utility knife in honor of the title and cover image:


I used that same Stanley knife to open the first shipment of Hagridden:


And today, I used that Stanley knife to open my first shipment of Where There Is Ruin:



I love that Red Bird Chapbooks included that little handmade notebook with a red bird stamped on the cover! I also love that each copy of Where There Is Ruin is hand-numbered and includes a little drawing of this year’s red bird, an owl.



And yes, you’re reading that number correctly: this is a limited run of 100 copies, so get yours today!

But copies 1 and 2 are going to live on my bookshelf, in the fiction-collection section, right next to Box Cutters and in the company of Bill Roorbach and May-Lan Tan and Nance Van Winckel and John Carr Walker, as well as another Red Bird chapbook, Meg Tuite’s Her Skin is a Costume (that’s hers with the hand-stitching to the right of my books, just before Meg’s Bound by Blue).

Copy #3 goes to my parents (it’ll be in the mail soon, Mom!), and I have another dozen to sell, so look for me at readings in the Pacific Northwest! Or go ahead and order yours directly from Red Bird Chapbooks. What number will you get?

Published by Samuel Snoek-Brown

I write fiction and teach college writing and literature. I'm the author of the story collection There Is No Other Way to Worship Them, the novel Hagridden, and the flash fiction chapbooks Box Cutters and Where There Is Ruin.

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