Local author publishes life memoir

min Busch may not have done “it all,” but he has certainly done a lot. His list of credits can make other people wonder, but he himself accepts his resume rather matter-of-factly.

“It’s just what I did,” he said in his typically laid back fashion. “I didn’t necessarily plan for things to turn out as they have. They just did.”

Busch was born in New York City and grew up in upstate New York. He is an actor and had a standing role the HBO series “The Wire.” He also appeared in “The West Wing,” “Generation Kill,” and “Homicide.”

He’s been a commentator on National Public Radio.

He is a photographer, showing in exhibitions around the country.

He is a film director with a widely acclaimed work - “Bright” - under his belt, having also written the script.

He is a decorated Marine Corps officer, having served two deployments in Iraq, and being in the middle of some of the heaviest fighting in that conflict.

He is a son, a husband and father, and he’s the guy trying to bang his Osceola County farm back into shape - slowly but surely.

Now, he’s written a book. About all of the above. Busch will soon be setting out on an exhausting book tour, promoting his memoir “Dust to Dust.”

“I guess in some ways I have a strange story,” he admits. “I came out of Vassar as a studio art major, and went directly into the Marine Corps infantry. Some people think my going into the military was a crack in my soul. I actually think it was the spine of my soul. Despite my artistic, individualistic side, I was always drawn to service. I think there was and is something noble to serving in the military.”

At the death of first his father, then his mother within one year, Busch realized he needed to both create, and pass on, his version of the family record. His father was Frederick Busch, a teacher and acclaimed author.

“Our parents keep the family record. They were the first ones to know what your first words were, and how you developed into the person you would become,” he explained. “When I lost them, I lost that record to some degree. I realized I had taken some aspects of their lives for granted. It was then, when they died, I knew that I needed to gather my stories - for my wife, my kids ...for whoever.”

So he did.

“I never thought I’d write a book,” Busch continued. “I’m not really wired for this process. I’m more a visual artist - a photographer, actor, filmmaker. I had to create a visual process that would allow me to write as I saw things. As a result, this becomes something more than simply a narrative memoir. It is a progressive memoir that gets ‘leads’ through the elements that have drawn and attracted me throughout my life.”

Each chapter is based around an element - water, soil, metal, wood, bone, stone, blood and ending with ash. Each chapter begins at a point in Busch’s youth, leads to an end, and then on to the next beginning.

“It was quite a process,” noted the author. “I placed five sheets of foam insulation around my ‘office’ in an unfinished room in our farmhouse.

“I began tacking things to these boards - parts of stories I remembered, vignettes, pieces of a chapter, something I recalled but wasn’t sure of at the time. Everything went on the boards and notes were shifted, changed, removed, added, fit in and considered over and over until a book idea began to emerge.

“For half a year, I really didn’t write. Then I had a timeline. I had to get it done and I would saturate myself in the creation process.

“At the beginning, I knew I had the skeleton of a book, but I needed to flesh it out.”

“Dust To Dust” is not a memoir that offers linear progression.

Each chapter is of itself, but at the same time part of the larger whole.

There are a number of elemental memoirs within one book, progressing to a common end.

Each chapter ends, but also merge at a point pretty close to where Busch is today.

“In this book, I not only tell my story, but I think I deal with large, universal ideas,” he said. “The biggest are life, memory, and mortality.

“In writing this book, I had to really remember my childhood.

“I was all about immersing myself into the source. While writing this book, I got to live in my childhood a few hours each night. I went there. It was a wonderful thing.

“In the process of writing this book, I got to spend time with my parents again.

“The process caused me to look differently at my daughters.

“It taught me how to deal differently with the change that comes in our lives - and the ultimate end of change.”

“Dust To Dust” is completed - written, printed, bound and on the shelves Tuesday.

Now the next adventure.

Busch will be visiting 48 states over the next few months - an exhausting tour of the nation.

“I’m hitting the road,” he said. “I’ll be driving to over 100 cities in 48 states. I’ll be back in September.

“During that time, I’ll be home two weekends.

“It’s going to be ‘hard-core.

“I have to do it tough. It’s not easy to sell a book nowadays.”

Busch heads out soon, but on Saturday, before the long haul away from home, he will host a reading of his work at 1 p.m. at Great Lakes Books in Big Rapids.