We’re excited to present the first installment of our newest blog series: Author Spotlight. Our clients are strong writers, so we have the benefit of seeing a lot of great work published—and we want to share it with the world! We’re very proud of our many talented and successful clients, and we know you’ll enjoy reading their work as much as we do.
This week, the spotlight is on Dwight Hilson and his short story, “His Own Best Audience,” published first in The MacGuffin.
Q: What inspired you to write “His Own Best Audience”?
A: My mother passed away during the winter of 2006; we were close but could have been more so, and I knew instinctively she would’ve approved a midlife turn toward personal expression. She died while a music therapist, provided by hospice, played a favorite hymn. The original version of this story was titled “The Music Therapist” and written as part of my application for the master of writing program at Manhattanville College. To this day I know nothing about the young man with guitar and dulcet voice soothingly guiding the ill to their ultimate release, but I wanted to imagine who he would be nonetheless.
Q: How long did it take you to write it?
A: I rewrote the story nearly two years after first thinking it complete, and its acceptance so soon thereafter felt borderline transcendent. After all, it was my mother’s death that inspired me to write through my midlife crisis, and this story, written so much in her memory, I’m sure she would’ve loved.
Excerpt of “His Own Best Audience”:
How would you feel if you never played your favorite song again?
How would you feel if you no longer played your ten favorites? Twenty?
Maybe more songs than you cared to remember?
Stage lights—those damn stage lights: didn’t matter how small the bar or club—full stage, riser, or chair in a corner—didn’t matter, they always had at least one annoying stage light aimed to expose more than just that zit on your forehead.
Tom Garvey hated stage lights, especially when he’d performed earlier in the day; but he refused to wear sunglasses. Oh sure, he could understand why a lot of up-and-comers—even established arena stars—wore them; it just wasn’t his style. Tom felt lucky to stare into a spotlight for three hours a few nights each week, and the folks in this corner of the state deserved to see his eyes—no matter how bloodshot.
The Asheville Saloon had a long row of multicolored stage lights, but Tom liked playing gigs there nonetheless. Great sound system for sure, and the place hosted an appreciative bunch of college kids and mostly young professional types—and they kept the lights low while he set up…