The Wild Grass), and although I've read some of these short stories before, I must say that the collection as a whole has struck me as something quite different than what I've experienced in Davin's work before. I had not read the first story, "The Burning Girl," before, and I hope Davin doesn't take offense when I say, "Huh?"
There was something I have missed in that story, and I can't wait to talk to Davin about it. The thing is, I still enjoyed the story. Davin's descriptions and honest portrayal of human emotion and the complexity it shares with connections to the outside world and close cultural experiences are some of my favorite things about his writing. Usually, starting a story of Davin's, he slowly pulls me in, as if I'm on a string led lightly by his hand, and he always leads me somewhere familiar and unfamiliar at the same time. It's uncomfortable most of the time, but fascinating. When I read the end, I'm always left breathless and wanting more. Maybe that was the whole point of "The Burning Girl."
Scott once described Davin as "...bright and crystalline and my chest always feels a certain way, almost like I'm holding my breath, when I read it. Davin is carefully laying out a mosaic, maybe, with the pieces all end-to-end in a well-lit space, every once in a while looking up at me and saying "You get how all the pieces fit together, right?"
I recently read a post from a friend of mine about how we remember people from how they make us feel, not what they said or did or looked like. I think that is very true, and I think writing is the same way. The books I love the most dearly are books that make me feel a certain way. Sometimes I forget what they're about, really, and sometimes I forget who wrote them or what the title is, but I always remember how they make me feel. This is why I return to certain music when I want to get in the mood for specific scenes in my writing, and why on Sundays I listen to religious-themed music to get me in the right emotional place to attend church. There's something about emotions and how things make us feel that affects our thoughts and behavior. For example, whenever I hear Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 14 (Moonlight Sonata), I invariably feel soft and reflective and vulnerable. Good fiction - solid, well-grounded fiction I can sink my teeth into always leaves me with a feeling similar to eating a healthy, filling meal. I want to sit back, relax, and contemplate the experience over and over. Davin's book that does to me, and it's one I'll pick up off my shelf repeatedly through the years when I want to feel a certain way.
As a whole, the collection is a stunning reminder to pay close attention to the details and people in our lives, even if they are fleeting. Things like a dead rabbit, a missing ring, a dog barking "I love you!" For a moment, when I read Davin's work, I feel like I've finally grasped onto those fleeting things in my own life, and it feels full and satisfactory and victorious.