Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Writer Wednesday: Stephen Black

Why I Write

Air Supply are a couple of Australian men who have written some very popular songs. On youtube they smile and/or look forlorn as they sing about being “all out of love.” For their “Making love out of nothing at all” music video they show us a painful romantic breakup, windblown 70's hair and a private jet!

The logo of Air Supply looks like Coke's.

I never drink Coke.

Air Supply is being displayed on the mobile phone on the table in front of me. The table is covered with roasted beans, Thai food and Tiger beer bottles. Buckley is using Bluetooth to wirelessly transfer Air Supply songs to another guy’s phone. This makes me smile.

I'm smiling because Buckley's job is building underwater oil rigs. His life depends on long hoses filled with gases. Buckley’s air supply is a collection of pumps, canisters and gauges, all banged up and in the hands of recently hired strangers who try to communicate in English. Buckley and his team work in storms and they work when it’s dark. A good day is when the hoses don’t tangle, the jellyfish stay away, the current's weak, the pumps work and the waves are predictable. A good day is like winning the lottery.

Buckley sees me looking at the two words glowing on his phone. He breaks into a big smile.

“You like Air Supply! Great! Karaoke! Let's go sing Air Supply!”

Buckley stands up on his stool and starts singing “Lonely is the Night.”

These “Air Supply Moments” might be the reason I write.

A pudgy diver in an orange jumpsuit terribly crooning Air Supply songs in a crowded Singaporean food court on a Saturday night- I need to record this. I cannot be Spinoza, Paul Aster, Mishima, Henry Miller nor Margaret Atwood. But I can use words to freeze the flow of life around me.

I melt these frozen stacks of words, then freeze them again. Stack them again, melt them again. Stack, melt, freeze, stack, melt, freeze.


Hopeless, as I wait for a drop of knowledge. I'm beyond hopeless as a previsioned frail stream of story ideas disappears, leaving only the sights and sounds of this room.

A man is being given a tour of writers' hell. Everywhere,writers are suffering in the great heat. Some pound their heads in frustration,some stare at blank pieces of paper. They look at their words as though they are reading their own death sentences. They are together, yet the writers are all alone. They do not speak, but the room is filled with screams of Agony.
The man is next taken to writers' heaven. He thinks a mistake has been made, for he sees nearly the same tortuous scenario that he saw in writers' hell. He questions his guide. “No sir, this is definitely writers' heaven,” the guide explains, “but these writers get published.”

So, why do I write?

One reason may be to 'make conceptual, postmodern text-based art' of the very small intersections that exist between 'words' ,what 'words' actually are, and what 'words' represent. Another reason could be that I am simply “too lazy to work, too chicken to steal.”

My father was a book salesman and this could be another reason. But I really don't think that I am writing to please him. If I wanted to please my family- and other people, I would think of a better way of earning money.

The truth is I write without thinking about why I write.

Writing happens to me.

If I were a clever, well-educated writer, I would now conclude with some sort of witty wordplay (possibly Shakespearean) comparing my need to write with a diver's need of an air supply.

But I am not a clever writer. I'm just a guy who fails to understand life. I spend days and nights rearranging words to disguise this tragedy, suffocating as I try to make it pretty to read.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Thank you Stephen for being my guest this week and thanks to all of you who have taken time out of your day to stop by my blog. You can also find Stephen on line at the following places...

-on Facebook: stephen black/blacksteps
-on twitter: mrblacksteps
-Book Merah ( a division of Blacksteps) has a number of publications on scribd and (soon to be updated)
-history/photo samples at

If you would like more info about this series, or would like to be a guest please follow this link Writer Wednesdays: The Intro .

Kristin : )


  1. The truth is I write without thinking about why I write.

    Profound, and exactly what we should all do, really.

    You're wrong, you know. You are indeed a clever writer, to have penned such a post as this. Intriguing...thanks for sharing with us. :-)

    Thanks for another great post, Kristin! ;-)

  2. thanks a lot for the great and informative post. your information was really useful for me.

  3. You don't need to be clever {and please understand that I'm not saying that you are not} when you can write like this:

    "I melt these frozen stacks of words, then freeze them again. Stack them again, melt them again. Stack, melt, freeze, stack, melt, freeze."


    "suffocating as I try to make it pretty to read."

    Writing happens to me, too, but in a different way. I really don't feel I should take credit as a writer since the poems flow of their own accord. I merely record them. I have great admiration for you writers of prose. Thanks for sharing insight into your process, Stephen.

    And thank you, Kristin, for presenting the Writer Wednesday series. I love it! {And thanks again for including me.}

  4. Ha Ha Ha i like that brand air supply and blacksteve who WE ARE HEAVEN

  5. hello everyone! Thank you for the kind words.And u, you are a poet!
    For what it's worth, I just posted a book project on kickstarter.
    Thank you again Kristin!

    All the best,

    Stephen Black