In those couple of days, it was like we weren’t at war at all. I heard no one talk about it, and there was little mention of it on the news. In LA, nobody gives a shit about anything but LA. A ridiculous thought crossed my mind: maybe the war didn’t exist. Maybe I could just stay there or drive down to Mexico and forget about all the training, the weapons, the equipment, the men. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to go to war, but the fear was there. I was never the kind of soldier that couldn’t wait to fight in combat, but I had a talent for it, a knack for the military. I knew I would be a good leader of men, but it still scared me.
-Excerpt from The Wax Bullet War.
Late Night Library: Summarize your book in 10 words or fewer.
Sean Davis: I wrote about trying to make sense of my existence.
LNL: If this book were the lovechild of two others, who are its parents?
SD: This book is a latch key kid. We don’t know who the father is, but we do know that the single mother is The Things We Carried and was occasionally watched as a child by an old neighbor Confederacy of Dunces.
LNL: What ingredients go into the recipe of your writing style?
SD: Two cups of Vonnegut Brand simplicity, at least a litre of Magnuson’s Miracle Descriptive Narration, twelve grams of story while in reduction, and thirty-two other trace spices including but not limited to solemn pulchritudes, incredulity, capriciousness, and audacity. Always finish with a pinch of gunpowder from a Hemingway shotgun.
LNL: Name one book you wish you could read again for the first time.
SD: Easy. Slaughterhouse Five by Vonnegut.
LNL: Answer a question you wish people would ask you about writing.
SD: I want other people to know that all the money I get from the book sales goes to creating a memorial for my friend who died in Taji when I was hit. I’m donating it all and designing the memorial to be put at the Skate park that is named after him.
Get a copy of The Wax Bullet War at IndieBound.
Sean Davis is an artist, writer, and returning veteran of the Iraq War. He earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Portland State University and an MFA in Writing from Pacific University. His previous work includes the novel Motivation and Toleration, published under the name Ian Avi, as well as contributions to the Portland Mercury, Nailed Magazine, and Split Infinitive. He has appeared on 60 Minutes and is one of the cofounders of Hubris Press in Portland, where he lives with his wife and daughters.