BJI: Could you give us some background on Bright Lights on Broadway?
DM: There isn’t much. Well, maybe there is. The voice in the story is a recreation of the voice of an old friend of mine, deceased some years now. It’s the same voice I used in a story called “Night Is Coming,” which appeared originally in The Dalhousie Review and subsequently was in my collection Long Distance Calls (1996). A letter I had from my friend a couple of years before his death described having a heart attack, going to a hospital in the middle of the night, sitting in the car outside the emergency door and “expecting to get jumped by a mugger. I was going to go with a piece of him in my teeth.” I wrote those lines down in a notebook of “scraps.” It stayed in my mind too, and eventually triggered this story.
BJI: What was your process while writing this story?
DM: Much the same process I usually use for short stories. I do a quick first draft – a full day or less. Then I put the story away and don’t come back to it for six months or even a year. It feels pretty fresh to me when I begin the revision process, which is usually lengthy.
BJI: The strongest voice in the story is obviously Windjammer’s. How much Dave is there in that voice?
DM: None. It’s all “Charlie’s voice,” as I say above, a recreation of a friend’s voice – but, of course, filtered through my consciousness. There’s no way of avoiding that.
BJI: What’s so great about short literature?
DM: Probably merely the fact that it’s short. I can write twenty stories, or more, in the time it takes me to write a novel. And each one is a complete, satisfying writing experience. Same reason as a reader: in the time it takes me to be pulled into the imagined world of a novel, I can have a dozen or more experiences with short stories.
BJI: Last question. What excites you most about online/digital storytelling?
DM: It’s a pretty new experience for me, so I’m not sure – ask me again in a year. But I guess it’s the possibility of reaching a much wider audience. I’m still pretty committed to the physical book, but I’d like to think that readers who come to know me through “Bright Lights” will be interested in buying my next book – or old ones, for that matter. And speaking of new books, I’ll have a new story collection out in the spring: A Book of Great Worth, from Coteau Books, linked stories about a character based on my father.
stories by Dave Margoshes