15) Midway question! Tell us about a writer you admire, whether professional or not!
There are a lot of possible answers to this questions, such as writers I’ve grown up reading (Isaac Asimov, Frank Herbert), writers I read much of now (Terry Pratchett, Philip K. Dick, Michael Connelly), and writers who are friends of mine (Greg Fishbone, Eric A. Burns-White). In fact, once I’m through with these 30 questions, I think a regular feature here will be a writer I admire, and how his or her works have influenced me. But for this time around, let me go on about Avram Davidson.
I did not discover Davidson until well after his passing, but have spent much of the past ten to twelve years reading and re-reading a good portion of his bibliography. He is a writer with a definite voice — curmudgeonly, erudite, cantankerous, obscure, cynical, and of good humor, sometimes all within a single sentence. His erudition, particularly in areas of mythology and history, is something I admire, and am likely never to equal. His stories break many so-called rules of good prose, such as that of pushing plots forward, or having nice, trim, Strunk-White approved stylings, and ofttimes can seem to go on for pages and pages without anything seeming to happen. But things are always happening, beneath the surface, and if you can relax the part of your brain that insists that everything you read has to make sense right away, you may find much that is rewarding in his stories. In fact, maybe forget about worrying that it makes sense at all, and just submerge into the rhythms of the story, and the rhythms of his rich and generous storytelling.
I sometimes catch myself looking back over something I’ve written, and thinking ‘Davidson might have tweaked that like so.’ Not often do I let these darlings stay unkilled, because, enjoy Davidson though I do, his style is not mine and never will be. But I admire his craft and his cunning, and would have greatly liked to know him when he was alive. Until then, I do still have a few more of his works to track down and enjoy.