This interview with Grace Black originally appeared at Ink in Thirds in September of 2016. It was recently brought to my attention that the site is no longer operational, so I thought I’d post our short conversation here for posterity.
Grace Black: Give us a quote that inspires you:
Scott Thomas Outlar: “If you do follow your bliss you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. Follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be.” – Joseph Campbell
GB: What is your writing process like?
STO: Schedules may vary depending on weather. Or Mood. Or diet. Or amount of rest from the night before. Or how many projects are piled up at any given juncture. However, the basic mojo remains relatively the same. Most of my work is initially written by hand, with a pen, on ancient papyrus salvaged from a tomb recently discovered under the Sphinx. It’s a vast conspiracy involving all sorts of international rogue agencies. I’ve been trying to keep it hush-hush, but I guess the cat’s out of the bag now. Just, please, for the love of God, don’t tell “Them” I told you. Anyway, after ink hits page, I’ll then type up the material while performing any necessary edits that are noticed. If it’s a poem, this will usually be the final draft, other than a minor tweak here or there that might have been initially overlooked. I do my level best to maintain the original emotional integrity and spontaneity that a poem is born from. If the piece happens to be an essay or short story, any number of further edits could be called for. I don’t mind hacking away at prose in an effort to hammer it into a more defined form. As far as time and place is concerned, I’ll write whenever and wherever an idea pops into my mind. After first waking up from dreaming, while driving along down the highway (not recommended in areas with high numbers of state troopers), after scrolling through social media and being ignited by some asinine comment or other, in the middle of a meal, or as my eyes are droopily starting to fade in the early a.m. hours while I try to scribble one last thought down. Lately, my routine has involved walking up to the local park during the afternoon where I’ll make my way into the woods and sit at a picnic table to write verse.
GB: Why do you write?
STO: To seek out fresh rhythms. To explore the depths of consciousness. To excite new neuron pathways. To ignite the pulse in the back of my brain. To bleed my mind on the page. To drain ink through a sieve. To mock the System of the Beast. To laugh. To dance. To feast. To make merry in a world full of wickedness. To burn old paradigms to ash. To build bridges between allies. To dive headfirst into the core of chaos, rupture its nexus, and rise back up to the surface sporting a renewed spirit on fire with higher order awareness. To kiss cancer. To lick disease. To scratch old wounds. To taste the salve of sympathy, empathy, and compassion. To stare suffering and sorrow squarely in the eyes. To cast stones at ivory towers. To rage righteous against fat cats and their false splendor. To strengthen a steeled will that never surrenders. To deliver the goods. To watch the chickens come home to roost. To plant seeds and cultivate their roots. To hoot. To holler. To climb mountains and yell. To trip the sky fantastic. To shun a false paradise of plastic. To gather my wits that they might be spit as flames. To send signals of smoke over the plains. To choke the enemy into submission. To shine a light of love on lies. To honor the truth at all costs. To profess a path toward peace. To rouse the rabble. To stir the nest of hornets. To express an unyielding devotion to constant, continual, progressive, evolutionary adaptation. To align with the symphony of the spheres. To tune in with the orchestra of God. To mediate. To practice mindfulness. To meander here and there … and back again. To offend. To provoke. To antagonize. To pass judgment. To test my heart against the feather on karma’s scale. To wage war against injustice. To weep in existential crisis. To flux. To flow. To ride waves of peaked emotion. To suspend disbelief. To manifest dreams. To roar with fevered imagination. To topple empires. To announce a new age of anarchy. To sing Psalms of Selah. To perhaps, one day, for one brief moment, connect with that whispered miracle of perfect peace which is rumored to be found in the kingdom within. To know the divine nature of existence. To shed this mortal skin. To rest, eternally, as One, forever.
GB: What is a recent story or poem you’ve had published elsewhere that we should read?
STO: I’ve been writing a weekly contribution for the Sunday Poetry Page at the social justice newsletter Dissident Voice for the past two years. This is a recent piece that appeared there called “Deep Infatuation.”
GB: General comments or questions:
STO: I’m honored to participate in this feature, and I would just like to say thank you for the opportunity to say a few words about my work. All the best with future issues of Ink in Thirds!