Literally Reruns, Short Fiction

Literally Reruns – The Busker by Marco Etheridge

The Busker is the first story, but certainly not the last, written by Marco Etheridge to appear on the site. It is a simple piece that changes keys and time signatures and passes from Vienna to New Orleans and back. There’s something lost and forlorn about it and it has the magic to transport me to two places I have yet to visit, in person.

Q: This is a lovely thing that I had never read before. How much of it is autobiographical?

Q: Changing from Now to Then is often an awkward process; in pieces where that doesn’t work well, as it does here, you can almost hear the music and see the wavy lines that even Casablanca used to herald the event. Please describe what choices you made to pull that off as seamlessly as you did.

The Busker

Leila Allison

Marco’s answers:

Q one:

Hugh often cites the 90/10 rule for authors: In any given story, 90% of the tale is autobiographical and 10% is fiction, or vice versa. It is the author’s task to write the story in such way that the reader does not know whether the story is 90/10 or 10/90. In the case of “The Busker,” the story is almost wholly biographical. There really is a busker in Vienna who I see quite frequently. I really was a busker in New Orleans back in the days of my vagabond youth. The actual events that triggered this story are almost entirely taken from real life. I saw the busker kid, and in seeing him, I was transported to a former time in my life. It was one of those powerful moments when a story springs into being almost fully-formed. The part of the story that deals with Buster Holmes restaurant and bar in the French Quarter is so close to non-fiction that we could call it that without telling lies.

Q two:

I agree that shifts between present and past are a dangerous business. As you said, the urge is to cue the weird music, or scroll the subtitles across the screen… “Forty years ago in the city of New Orleans…” As the actual events that triggered this story unfolded, I felt myself slipping below the surface. The surface was of course the membrane of memory, not the actual pavement beneath my feet. I kept coming back to that feeling of submersion, the idea of sinking back. Eventually I just wrote down what seemed like the simple truth: The pavement opens up and swallows the main character. This device seemed to accomplish the task of moving the reader back in time without resorting to silly tricks that have been done so many times.  
Thanks again for featuring my story as a rerun. I am always thrilled to be a part of Literally Stories. I don’t know if you are aware of this, but LS was the very first journal to publish one of my stories. I was thrilled then, and I am thrilled now. These years later, I now have about eighty stories published and out in the world, yet Literally Stories will always have a very special place in my writing heart.

6 thoughts on “Literally Reruns – The Busker by Marco Etheridge”

  1. Dear Leila,

    Thanks so much to the whole LS crew for your continued support of my scribbles. This was, indeed, my very first story with LS. Not only that, this was my first ever accepted short story! I am so proud to be a small part of the LS pantheon.

    Very Best Regards,
    Marco

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Hi Leila,
    I’m having a flashback when I say brilliant choice. (Having the flashback, sadly has given me zilch on the inspiration front – But I am now in deja vu territory due to the flashback!!)

    Marco,
    I loved this story first time around.
    I think we are all honoured that this was your first published story.
    The biggest compliment I can give you is that is a huge surprise. The quality of your work, the writing brain that you have and the perception that you show are qualities that I would have expected from a writer with decades of stories.
    To anyone reading this, I would urge you as has Leila, to have a look at all fourteen stories of Marco’s.- You will not be disappointed.
    And I’d also like to say that Marco is a true gent and he has been an absolute pleasure to work with over these three years!!

    All the very best my friends.
    Hugh

    Liked by 1 person

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