Author to hold book signing Sep. 11

REED CITY — Michigan author Benjamin Busch will be at the Reed City Depot from 6 to 8 p.m. on Sept. 11 to sign copies of his memoir published in March, “Dust to Dust.”

Busch is an actor, film director, and a U.S. Marine Corps Infantry Officer who served two tours of combat in Iraq. He played the role of Officer Anthony Colicchio on The Wire and has appeared on Homicide, The West Wing, and Generation Kill. He currently lives on a farm in Michigan with his wife and two daughters.

Busch shapes his memoir around elemental things—water, metal, soil, blood, ash— and in doing so, explores the themes he says are at his center: the concern with impermanence, the need for adventure, the confrontation with death.

“I believed once that I could predetermine my journey,” he writes. “I wanted to create something that could not be destroyed, and to do that I had to disbelieve the evidence of destruction. I had to look at the bone and ash around me as the yield of errors, not of dreams. But I grew up and found damage, and death, and the friction of incalculable consequences. I had mapped a path through the wild with wishful premonition in my youth, but I had come to find my way by mishap and deviation.”

“Dust to Dust” has its genesis in a number of altering events, notably Busch’s return from war and the deaths of his parents—his father was the acclaimed novelist Frederick Busch.

Busch writes of a childhood spent in rural upstate New York, replete with everyday boyhood adventures—building forts, nighttime graveyard excursions, amassing collections of bottle caps and train-flattened pennies. His parents, displaced urban liberals fresh from Vietnam War protests, were nonplussed by his soldiering instincts, but finally succumbed to his insistent pleas for a toy gun and a bullet mold where he could melt down silver and gold crayons into make- believe ammunition. Busch’s youthful encounters—with the water of the nearby river, the soil of his mother’s garden, stone retaining walls, the wood of the surrounding forests—are tied to his later experiences in war, and lead to his ruminations on the larger questions of life and death, permanence and loss.

A devoted, if perhaps atypical, solider, Busch observes the realities of war, mortality, ruin, and rebirth.

“I have seen cities destroyed in my life, people buried, graves dug up,” he writes. “I have lived outside in the elements. I know that everything is recomposed from preexisting matter, that we are all fragments from earth and life blown apart and gathered up. Pieces of us are from stars and meteors, the ocean, dirt, and the dead. We will not be able to keep these pieces either, our bodies doomed to be given back to the ground.”

The book signing is hosted by the Reed City Public Library. The event is limited to those over the age of 18.