Thursday, April 17, 2008

Cleveland's Best Writer

So who is the best writer in the Cleveland area? It's a question I've been asked occasionally. And of course there's really no definitive answer. This is an utterly subjective category, and resists any authoritative answer. Besides, there are so damn many great writers in this town, who pursue such different kinds of writing. How could you parse them all down to a single best?

Having said all that, however, I do have a favorite Cleveland writer, one who I think of as possibly the best on several levels. He's a quiet craftsman who has been writing great stuff (without any personal drama or attempts to call attention to himself) for decades. While our paths have crossed through various publications, and we apparently have some mutual friends and acquaintances, I've never yet met him (though perhaps I will try to soon). But I have been reading his work for about 20 years now in various venues, and have always marveled over it. It's always interesting, fluid, sometimes (maybe often) even hypnotic. Best of all, his work always manages to accomplish that hardest thing of all in writing, a subject about which I've talked before: as a writer, he gets out of the way and lets the writing take center stage. To me, that's the mark of a consummate pro.

After that introduction, perhaps you think he's a household name. Well, perhaps to some discriminating readers, he might be. But to the vast majority of readers, it may be more accurate to call him an unknown. His name is John Hyduk. You can sample his latest work here. I've only mentioned him twice (here and here) before in this venue (shame on me, and double shame for once misspelling his name). You can also see his work here, here, here, here and here.


At 9:21 PM, Anonymous Jo said...

Grandfather story was powerfully written, hauntingly beautiful. This town has so many deep stories, I especially treasure accounts that bring to life some of the work of the underground railroad here, and stories my father has told me. I really hadn't thought about working on them. Thanks.

At 6:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I loved his used of metaphors, very rich and textured but one that stuck is, " I listened as the white passed from my aunts’ hair to mine, and as I held their hands in hospice rooms."


At 9:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi John,

Have been enjoying your links. Oh my gosh, no wonder you are so crazy about Roldo! What a guy. What a mess about so many things he has written about. I want to kill some politicians, really. Some people do not deserve a place at the table of life. ARGH!

Guessing you are friends with Diana Tittle. You have both done writing for quite a few of the same publications, though no convenient links to some of her work. May dig if you don't come up with something tomorrow.

Connie was an easy choice for your list, and I enjoyed reading and re-reading some of her work. As with your work, I don't always agree with her, but I do like someone with an opinion. It helps me figure out my own ideas, besides it is far more entertaining.

A guy who writes a blog about cooking. Is there no end to your interests? HA! I got a real kick out of that!

Ann t. something. I read one of her stories about her faith and her son. It was sweet and reminded me of some of my stories. Had to send it to Anna. We're going for a walk at the park tomorrow.

That Don something or other who writes about loss. Some of the encapsulations of his works were pretty creepy to me, but if you like him, I'm sure he's a good writer. Just didn't dig too deep, but with all the deep waters in my life, it may be he has been working through some tough stuff and may have good insights. What do you think? Am I driving you crazy?

That writer from Case looks like someone you could really dig your teeth into. Maybe I will one day since I wanted to be a spy for many years when i was a kid and read lots of spy and war books. Did I ever tell you that? Did you ever want to be a spy?

Finally, the writer of the Beauty shop of Kabul (which my sister loved) wrote another book about a spiritual journey, Stalking the Divine. Looks good to me. Ordered the book. (Sorry couldn't underline properly)

Thanks as always. Hope everyone who reads your blog doesn't bug you as much as I do. Since things on your site were quiet today I thought I'd liven things up a bit.

By the way, I ordered you a copy of my favorite book of all time. You will bust a gut. (I know I have such a way with words.) Hope you had a fun day.

At 12:14 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Thanks for adding your thoughts, everyone. And by the way, I'm "crazy about Roldo" for reasons that go well beyond his writing, which would be enough. He also happens to be one of the kindest, smartest and most loyal persons I've ever known.


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