On Cutting: Sharpen the Blade

That machete was my Dad’s. In the 1930s he was a mining engineer in Argentina, working pack mules in the Andes. The machete saw a lot of use then, but when Dad died neither of my brothers claimed it. Heirlooms shouldn’t leave the family; I took it myself, feeling odd that the only daughter should inherit that gigantic phallic blade.

Then I edited my first novel, Long Night Dance, and found out why an instrument of merciless reduction had come to me. Now it hangs over my desk, a reminder to cut to the chase.

Betsy James is the author and illustrator of seventeen books for adults and children. Among other honors, her books have been named: Tiptree Award Honor Book; New York Public Library Best Book for Teens; Voices of Youth Advocates Best Book; Junior Library Guild Selection; Canadian Children’s Book Center Best Book; and International Reading Association Children’s Choice. She facilitates writers’ workshops nationally and internationally. Check out her latest review here and buy her latest book here.

http://www.listeningatthegate.com (older readers)

http://www.betsyjames.com (younger readers)

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