Reading whilst writing is like nutrition. You know your style will be affected by what you read. Even a vise-like grip on your intended voice will change, at least a little. So you have to read the right things, fuel yourself properly, to get what you want out of yourself.
I wanted to write lyrically. I finished rereading Name of the Rose and began prowling my shelves. A bunch of the free stuff I’ve received was too spare. Not YA but it might as well have been. Tried a few chapters of Druids, by Morgan Llywellyn, because I read it in fifth grade and remembered with amusement–though I was so outraged at the time!–arguing in the evangelical South against a ridiculously Judeo-Christian slideshow (one of the ancient ones with a cassette tape that beeped when you had to click “forward” on the carousel) about the Roman incursion into Gaul. She is not lyrical either, though. Dirt Music–too modern. I do not wish to read of websites. Wrath & the Dawn--unread, so blessedly not a reread, but too spare, still. Refiner’s Fire? Remembered too well. But something else by him, perhaps, something more distant, so as not to keep returning too quickly to the same people.
I won a prize the last time I read this. I never finished it–got wrapped up in my own story. And though I read it more recently than Refiner’s Fire, more of this slipped away in memory. More so even than Winter’s Tale, still more distant. I read this, oh, a decade ago? But still it feels–do not chastise me; I am allowed to sound written here if nowhere else–like you’re the maypole and he’s wrapping the ribbons around you with words. Delicious.