Author Arthur Black has quite the story to tell of how he became a writer.
From doing commentaries for radio to a weekly syndicated column that goes across the country, Black is one busy man.
“Basically, it’s a case of plucking apples. I pick the ones that stand up and the better ones from the year or two years before and put them together into a book,” he said of his writing process.
His journey into writing began in Spain of all places.
“I was hitchhiking and I got stranded in Madrid and I found a magazine called Guide Post, which was an english language magazine for tourists, basically, and they paid me two per cent … a line so I learned to use a lot of adjectives,” he said of his most memorable introduction to writing.
Black later came back to Canada around 1970 and worked on a couple of magazines in Toronto. He then got into CBC Radio as an agriculture reporter in Toronto which parlayed into a position as a commentator. Black also had a radio show called Basic Black, a national show that aired once a week. His first book was titled Basic Black in the 1980s.
In terms of what inspires Black, there is a technique he has, involving beer.
“I have a technique that I call Buy Me A Beer. I don’t even drink but I used to, and my idea was that when I write something, I imagine I’m sitting in a beer parlour
and there’s somebody across the table with more money than I have and I want to get him to buy the next beer so I have to be entertaining enough to make that happen.”
Black will be doing a reading from his latest book Paint the Town Black at the upcoming fall reading series, which is Black’s 16th or 17th novel now and is a book of short, humorous essays about living on the west coast. He will be joined by another author — Susan Juby — who will be doing a reading from her most recent book The Woefield Poultry Collective.
Black still writes a weekly syndicated column and will continue to do so, he said, as long as he still has things to write about.
“Until my audience dies off I guess I’ll just keep plugging away.”
For more information on Black, people can visit basicblack.com.
The fall readings will begin on Sept. 30 at 7 p.m. at the SHOAL Centre.
Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at Tanner’s Books or online at sidneyliteraryfestival.ca.