Preliminary notes on style as I catch up on the last four decades of fiction
So when I read Cormac McCarthy, his writing looks like a sledgehammer and feels like a sledgehammer when it hits you square in the face. His hammers have been forged with such heft that nothing can withstand them. When I read his stuff, I never want to write anything because what else can possibly be said over the unmarked graves of all of these other fallen writers?
When I read Toni Morrison, her writing looks like writing from anyone but feels like a sledgehammer when it hits you square in the heart. Her hammers aren't built for heft, though, so as much for speed and dexterity, and they always hit the soft spot, the place where the most damage can be done. When I read her stuff, I never want to write anything because I can't do anything like what she does and besides I'm bleeding out.
When I read Jeff VanderMeer, his writing looks like writing from anyone else and it feels like normal writing and not like a hammer at all. Instead you glide along from one lovely paragraph to another, not quite realizing you've been listening to uncanny but alluring poetry for a good while now, not quite understanding that some lover you have never known has slipped into your bed, and wrapped themselves around you and clutches at you now, showing you their strength and their tenderness, smelling of spices you can't name, daring you to push them away, but you don't, you never do, because how could you? You just close your eyes and embrace them back. When I read his verses, I don't ever want to anything else in the whole world but write and write and yes, and yes, and write.
— J.F. "Jeff" McCullers