by Josh Gross
Benajmin Busch is perhaps most widely known as the actor who played Officer Anthony Colicchio on HBO's The Wire. But he's also a war veteran, a stone mason and a published author. And even with all that, he's still stuck in the shadows.
"I'm impressed," a young audience member said to Busch at his reading on May 29 at Hyde Park Books. "I really like your dad, though."
The dad in question is celebrated novelist Frederick Busch. Someone who Busch said he was not looking to imitate.
"I didn't have any interest in writing. I was just too kinetic as a kid," he said. "I would be in the yard digging holes, and my father would watch me and then write stories about digging holes."
Busch was at Hyde Park Books to promote his new memoir, Dust to Dust, which he says was written to encapsulate elements and tap into the idea of associative memory. The book contains few quotes because Busch said he wasn't able to recall them clearly enough to do them justice. Instead, it is a rolling web of memories that cover growing up and going to war and meditating on life and loss and everything in between.
"I had a fascination with permanence, and I wanted to believe that if I built something, it would remain," he said.
That belief lead Busch to pursue stone masonry at a very young age because he perceived it as solid and enduring. But then he went to Kuwait and saw mountains of sand that used to be stone.
"I realized the only thing that is lasting is language. Stories endure. So I made a story about everything we're losing. And that is this book," he said.
But then to summarize his nearly ADD approach to giant life decisions like going to art school, joining the Marines, becoming an actor and more, he added: "You'll also discover reading this book that I'm an idiot."