The work of Daniel Loedel is propelled most of all by a profound faith in the timelessness of literature. It is not the backgrounds of his characters that primarily concern him, nor the particular trials of their historical moment, but rather the universal trials that all characters must face regardless of background and moment. As such, what they suffer from is anonymity; what they contend with, transience. In a word, their challenge is the same as the author’s, to last in a world that does not.
Loedel’s work is unified not by form, but by content, adapting one for the sake of the other in an effort to find the right medium for each message or question. The result is prose that is sometimes terse, sometimes abundant and lyrical, and always largely philosophical. Drawing on the thought of such writers as Dostoevsky and Nietzsche, he discards the starting assumption that life, by itself, is inherently good or meaningful, and proceeds to plumb the depths left by its absence. Abounding with side-characters who strive to be main ones, and main ones who strive to be symbols, life in his stories is most difficult not because of what happens in it, but because of what does not, the failure of “what is” to meet with “what ought to be.”
Proud of his influences, he pays homage to tradition rather than experimentation, to noble failures rather than narrow, albeit edgy, successes. Indeed, nothing would give him greater pleasure, it seems, “Than to fall, stumbling, panting, and grasping, just short of eternity’s finish-line.” In the words of Horace, he tries to remind us, “We and our work are a debt we owe to death.”