A Visitor to the Booth

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In preparation for our visit to a meeting of the Lake Travis Fiction Writers, members of Austin Indie Writers planned to gather at the Texas Book Festival for a photograph that could be used to publicize our panel presentation on “How to Publish Your Own Novel.”

We managed to get only four of us together at the same time and place, which turned out to be Sunday afternoon in the Violet Crown Publishers booth.

When my friend and fellow writer Brad Whittington saw the photo for the first time, he said, “I look slightly deranged. Where’s my sling blade?”

(Tosh McIntosh, Brad Whittington, Laura Resnick-Chavez, Cindy Stone)

In case you are wondering, a sling blade, or kaiser blade, is a heavy, hooked, steel blade at the end of a 40-inch handle that is usually made of hickory. It is used to cut brush, briar, and undergrowth. The blade is double-edged, and both sides are usually kept sharp. Other common names for this tool are ditch bank blade, briar axe, and surveyor’s brush axe.

Sling Blade is a 1996 American drama film set in rural Arkansas, written and directed by Billy Bob Thornton, who also stars in the lead role. It tells the story of a mentally impaired man named Karl Childers who is released from a psychiatric hospital, where he has lived since killing his mother and her lover when he was 12 years old, and the friendship he develops with a young boy. In addition to Thornton, it stars Dwight Yoakam, J. T. Walsh, John Ritter, Lucas Black, Natalie Canerday, James Hampton, and Robert Duvall.

[Both descriptions and sling blade image credit: Wikipedia. Sling Blade theatrical poster image credit: impawards.com]

Ever alert for opportunities to have a bit of fun at Brad’s expense and to pay him back for all the occasions in which he has done the same with me, I pondered what it would have been like if Billy Bob Thornton as Karl Childers had visited the booth. See the results below. I think it’s an improvement . . .



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