Stephen Wordsmith 35


Wellington NZ   Jul 2008  

Artist Bio

Influences:   Laudanum

Pronouns: He/him
Preferred pronoun: You (I'd rather be talked to than about)
Constructive criticism: Welcomed

Collaboration policy:
My lyrics should not be assumed to be exclusive (too many excellent multiple takes). However, if you are not the first to claim a lyric, I recommend checking with the other FAWMer(s) that they're OK with you jumping on board. Similarly, you can quietly ask me if you want exclusive rights to do a demo for a song, and I will likely grant you that.


18/02: 14th unique lyric completed, so I consider myself over the finish line. 8 have been put to music, with several more pledged. Can we make it 14 for 14?

Speaking of 14, this is my 14th FAWM, which means that if I had continued to write at the same pace I did in 2008, I would finish the challenge this year. Exciting, hypothetically.

Sending love from New Zealand and trying not to collapse under the weight of survivor's guilt.

Songs (35)

#1 Art by Chance 19
4 weeks
#2 Art By Chance @theresaj  53
4 weeks
#3 Breakfast Man @rosedeschamps  21
4 weeks
#4 Silence 9
4 weeks
#5 Silence @psyt 14
4 weeks
#6 Happy Little Accident 11
3 weeks
#7 Cancel Me 11
3 weeks
#8 Cancel Me @stevenwesleyguiles  22
3 weeks
#9 Living Room 3
3 weeks
#10 Starfish 11
3 weeks
#11 The Spirit of the Library 5
3 weeks
#12 Stop writing poetry, and write a bloody song 11
3 weeks
#13 Happy Little Accident @rosedeschamps  7
3 weeks
#14 No-one Lives Here 4
3 weeks
#15 Auburn 4
3 weeks
#16 Auburn (FAWM-05) @moonraccoon  9
3 weeks
#17 It Gets Better? 6
2 weeks
#18 It Gets Better? @ductapeguy  11
2 weeks
#19 No-One Lives Here @metalfoot  11
2 weeks
#20 Staring out the Window 8
2 weeks
#21 The Man in Red 7
2 weeks
#22 Silence @porkmonocle 4
2 weeks
#23 Art by Chance @andybalham 6
2 weeks
#24 Starfish @mistermann  9
2 weeks
#25 Staring Out My Window (FAWM-12) @moonraccoon  8
2 weeks
#26 The Man In Red @vainhirvain 14
2 weeks
#27 A Thousand Starfish @pearlmanhattan  7
2 weeks
#28 You're Enough @seemanski  18
1 week
#29 Silence @metalfoot  8
1 week
#30 The Spirit Of The Library @rshakesp  10
1 week
#31 Stop Writing Poetry, and Write a Bloody Song @adnama17  10
1 week
#32 Protagonist 2
1 week
#33 The Protagonist @metalfoot  4
1 week
#34 Staring out the Window @sph  12
6 days
#35 placeholder for Starfish @moonraccoon  ZONG
6 days


    Leave a message. Log in to FAWM or sign up first!
  • @aliivibrio 3 days

    Thanks for the comment on "Symmetric Monoidal"! I think that is the single best thing anyone has ever said about my music.

  • @seppo 5 days

    Thanks for comments, I appreciate it very much.
    Thats kind of own life theme song when you just must push it harder and harder till temporary losing it 😀

  • @scubed  5 days

    Thank you so much for your generous comment on “Love Lives Here”! I really appreciate it.

    Congratulations on a successful FAWM! I’ll be back in the coming days to enjoy more of your lyrics and collabs.

  • @daveyboy103  5 days

    Thank you very much for your kind and thoughtful comments. This song is one I am very proud of this FAWM.

    Geoff’s lyrics are an excellent foil for the music. A successful collaboration.

  • @rosedeschamps  1 week

    Thanks for the comment on the party pants - I found myself thinking “what would Wordsmith do?” very frequently during the process.

  • @rshakesp  1 week

    all done - over to you

  • @nancyrost  1 week

    You gotta check this one out!

  • @rshakesp  1 week

    there's my effort on your song. - hope you like let me know

  • @renegadepriest 1 week

    Thank you so much for your thoughtful words on my song, "Look Down." That song took a lot out of me and I greatly appreciate your perspective.

  • @theodamus  1 week

    THANK YOU oh man - that is through closed double glazing. I will go outside and give them a thanks by just SCREAMING AS LOUD AS I CAN back at them! Yea I am similar in my natural inclination for inference alongside a BA and Linguistics education haaaaaa but yes I really appreciate the way you break down what you see and hear - it gives me both affirmation and insight into how it transfers through space from my brain to yours, and that is supremely rare and useful feedback. While sometimes I go HUH that angle came through stronger than I anticipated (which is interesting, as I then go back and think about what made it ring) often I go YES I am not just writing circular abstracted obscurities that no one could possibly untangle in a meaningful way. So truly thank you for your generosity in in BA application <3

  • @theodamus  1 week

    Thank you so much for your insightful comment on Black Magic (and other songs but I want to respond to each of your comments because they are so rich and there are always things I want to continue the conversation about!). You always think about what I write so deeply - sometimes you find things I thought were pretty well obscured, sometimes you uncover connections I had made subconsciously but hadn't put words to yet, and every time you get what I am going for on a micro and macro level that I am in awe of. I'm simultaneously proud and humbled that you said the Cohen nods were evident lyrically - what I love about his writing and what I hoped to capture is that he inhabits a liminal space between allegory and rich metaphor, and mundane, even vulgar physicality; he seems to say we are all holy animals. And also I have to confess I have no idea what a neekerbreeker is haha help!

  • @mattpierce 1 week

    29 songs!
    Holy writers cramp!
    Well done man!

  • @donna  1 week

    Stephen, thank you for your wonderful comment on 'Sergey, What Happened'. 😊 I was wondering whether anyone would pick up on a possible element of political/social intrigue. 🙂

    And to have a lyric of mine mentioned in the same sentence as Tolstoy...goodness gracious. 😀

  • @gnashattack  1 week

    Great! No worries if it doesn't work out. Happy to have found your work, regardless. FAWM on! 😀 You can email me at, too, if that works.

  • @gnashattack  1 week

    I really love your lyrics. All of them. This is my favorite and most profound songwriting I've found on FAWM so far.

    I'd love to write music to one of your songs. But you can pick. Hit me.

  • @gnashattack  1 week

    Thanks for your feedback on "I Don't See You On the Menu!" It was my first time writing music to something I didn't pen the lyrics to myself, so it was fun.

    Unfortunately I have no idea what the 2021 equivalent of Juno is. My first thoughts are Napolean Dynamite or Punch-Drunk Love, but those are 17 and 19 years old, respectively. So I feel you.

    Love your influences.

  • @cblack 1 week

    I'm honoured. 😀

    If it wasn't so late in the month, I'd suggest a collab. As it stands, though, today is my last day to record. Busy Friday, and the weekends are a no-go...

    Perhaps if we both do 50/90, we could collab there maybe?

  • @cblack 1 week

    Thanks for the comment! I'm beyond thrilled with how Thought Valley turned out. Probably my favourite this year.

    I unfortunately never knew Hoops, but I know he was super respected here, so I take the comparison as a big compliment. 😀

  • @mandolinda  1 week

    Oh, I am in love with you. I am glad you enjoyed my little song about !!! Words. No confusion about it. Why you enjoyed fudge nuggets? I am enjoying the month of February much more than I anticipated. My snow bird wings were clipped. @crutherford encouraged me to take up songwriting at the beginning of COVID and it has been a most enjoyable pastime.

  • @coolparadiso  1 week

    I have not forgotten the lyric podcast! Been mulling a few ideas! I am away 3 weeks from the end of Fawm! So it will be post that i suspect ! I will flick some ideas when i have them a bit more ordered and am keen for you to be the inaugural guest! And also be a regular segment contributor if we find we have an ongoing audience! J

  • @coolparadiso  1 week

    It was initially an accident (i record my vocal in one DAW then move them to one were i add effects) i mistakenly recorded the vocal too low! Every time i raised the volume the hiss came up! I listened and thought i would re do it! Then i felt it sort of went with the vibe and left it! It will possibly be on my next album and am still undecided about which path to take because i do really like the song!

  • @wolfkier 1 week

    Understood. Thanks for taking the time. I hope that doesn't preclude you from listening to a few more of mine this month. I get so few dedicated lyricists (so there's always so much more (real) feedback about production, performance or music) and your input is always so incisive/thoughtful. I've also, in the general traffic of FAWM, crossed @metalfoot 's songs this month, before he joined #tit4tat, but if he goes past a first #tit4tat with me for the few outstanding songs I have to offer, or if another of your collabs joins in the exchange, I may favour some of your collaborations. The #tit4tat then, of course, would be for the other half and bestows no obligation on you.

  • @gm7  1 week

    Thx for your more than kind words on Gotta Get Better.
    I listen to it myself for a little uplifting funky guitar😜👍.. And your image of looking out over the city is a great one!

  • @wolfkier 1 week

    I read your edited post in the #tit4tat thread. Sorry you won't be joining in. Curious if there was something in the instructions (which just now I tried to simplify/clarify) that I missed or mistated that made you change your mind. Happy to hear feedback.

  • @emkaydeebee  1 week

    Thank you so much for your lovely comment on mine and metalfoot’s Questions song!

  • @mattoxic  1 week

    Hi, thanks heaps for listening and commenting on Local Paper.

    I really appreciate you taking the time to listen and of course commenting.

  • @wolfkier 1 week

    Happy to have you any which way. Thank you. Some of my best friends started as mis-clicks. I'm not kidding. Life changing stuff.

  • @mhorning 1 week

    Thanks for the really kind comments on Gypsy of the Desert. I tried to weave a story with a lot of things non-specific (and thus the listener has to fill in what might be happening), which is honestly harder than it sounds. Including, exactly how trustworthy is the narrator.

  • @daveyboy103  1 week

    Thanks for your great comments on “I can’t do happy yet”, it is certainly one of my favourite collaborations this year.

    Sometimes lyrics just suggest an arrangement to you.

  • @rshakesp  1 week

    Thanks for your well considered comment - it wss really chalenging to make sure I didn’t cross the line between waiting and wanting his parentd to die. The dark doul places section was reference to events elsewhere in the album in the context of which the song males more sense.
    Do you have a lyric you would like setting? I have a few days left...

  • @hmorg  1 week

    Thank you for the comment on "Monolithic Halls"! Even when commenting, you live up to your handle. Much appreciated.

  • @vainhirvain 1 week

    Thanks for your message! It helps me to internalize how everyone has different expectations and guidelines for collabs in their minds. Some writers don't like changes and some almost hope for them I guess.

    For me it is also always fascinating, how a poem turns into a song lyric. And why some poems can do it easier than others. I've found that a great poem is not automatically a great song lyric, and vice verca. I believe it has a lot to do with rhythm or form, of course, but also the speed of the medium. With a poem you can read it in your own pace, breath between phrases as long as you like, stop to think about the meaning, tasting the words, jumping back and forth.. with a song, the speed is fixed already.

    Also in a song text the meter doesnt need to be "correct" all the time, for example sometimes you just need one single word for the whole chorus, because music can (and will) take over the rhythmic "responsibility" in good and in bad.

    As a listener, at least me, I need time and repetitions to let the meanings sink in... i'm really slow at many things! and then there is the music which tells so much without one word. With the help of the music, the listener can for example fill in large gaps and thematic jumps, and invent a story, thinking that in was the writer who invented it. I believe this happens a lot, mostly unconciously, because that's how our brain works.

    Stephen it's been such a nice interaction with you and with your art, thanks for being here! Hopefully we can do something together later again.

  • @cblack 1 week

    Thanks for the comment, and glad uou enjoyed it!

    The dripping roof actually happened. It was a 2-storey house and the balcony leaked into the downstairs loungeroom. The builders "fixed" it twice, but it still leaked 'til the day we left.

    The cat loved knocking over the bucket of water...

  • @radioovermoscow 1 week

    haha, my finger got cut off. Let me try again. m /

  • @radioovermoscow 1 week


  • @mandolinda  1 week

    I taught a cooking class for over 30 years, and butter tarts were one of the first lessons. Unfortunately, I have never heard the song by Len that you mentioned. Thank you for the wonderful comments on my song. I had a lot of fun putting it together.

  • @metalfoot  1 week

    I am a pro at bringing the weird. cf. this year's output, musically.

  • @jamkar  1 week

    :-O Thank you in volumes for your review of our 4 persons video collab. Your words mean so much.

  • @seemanski  1 week

    It is up, I hope you like it. Thanks for the great lyrics 😀

  • @vainhirvain 1 week

    Hi, so glad to hear you liked the Man! I was worried that maybe I changed too much. Very honored that put it in the recommendation list!!! It is true that there are so many interesting artists here, and trying to finish own songs in the same time... but i'm here for the first time now and what i found is FAWM is like an amazing garden of open creativity, so nourishing for the soul

  • @vainhirvain 2 weeks

    Ok! What I'd like to do, I'd like to replace the Man in Green with "the other guy", because.. well.. this song is not about him, it's about the man in Red. And in the c-section i'd like to let the protagonist wait a little longer on the sidewalk.. first stand there and think, then sit there and think, then eventually lie there and think. Just to make it more surreal and to build momentum for the last chorus.

  • @vainhirvain 2 weeks

    Thank you! How do you feel about changes in your lyrics by the composer? If I wanted to make minor adjustments to The Red Man should I present them to you first?

  • @owl  2 weeks

    argh, it never even occurred to me that "sigil" could be pronounced like "vigil" so I didn't even bother to check, but thanks to your comment I looked it up and it seems like that is the correct or at least most common pronunciation! Thanks for bringing it to my attention--I'll fix it if I ever bother revisiting the mix! (it still sounds so weird to me that way even though I speak Italian, which is where the soft g came from in the first place...)

  • @taylortay 2 weeks

    Thanks for the high praise on "Coffee Pot Conjecture" - agree that the style of the song almost seemed to pop out of the lyrics. Looks like you're having a great FAWM!

  • @owl  2 weeks

    Thank you so much for the kind and thoughtful comment!

  • @vainhirvain 2 weeks

    Thanks for taking the time to comment on Sarah Lloyd! Such in depth analysis I did never get even from language teachers at school. You found a way to connect the dots in a manner that is brilliant. You have much more imagination than I do obviously. Now I can see that you are a writer. Do you still have a text lying around waiting to be composed? Interested in a collaboration?

  • @wazylizard  2 weeks

    Thanks the comment on Roll the Dice 16, I'm not always sure that I am not crossing the border of irrelevance in the choice of instruments, but clearly not here!
    I've used balloon in live sets, but never to the extent I did yesterday. I spent an hour or so studying the different sounds, before recording a coherent piece. (My flatmates had the pleasure to listen to a lot of squealing before I decided to minimise its use to the last moments.)

  • @scottlake 2 weeks

  • @porrectus  2 weeks

    Thanks for the kind words on.....No Words. You have words, lot's of words, good words. Thanks again.

  • @thedustcollector 2 weeks

    hey, sorry it's taken me so long to get back to you! i disappeared into a black hole of uuugh for a bit. but thank you for being lovely <3. i've missed seeing you pile up fifty billion clever songs over the course of a challenge (while i turn out, like, two).

  • @frankyfire 2 weeks

    Thanks for your comment on "Heroes". I was a bit overwhelmed with your superlative description of my guitar sound 😀

    And I'm totally with you when it comes to the lyrics, they could be better. These are definitely not final, I just needed something that fitted into my melody and told the story I had in mind somehow. So they were just a quick shot and need a revision or two.
    Plus, English is not my native language.

    Have a nice day!

  • @downburst  2 weeks

    Oh, I imagine the mine keeps all the findings. They even have a cavity search to make sure no one tries to smuggle out a stray quatrain.

    Thanks for commenting.

  • @richaaaay  2 weeks

    So glad I asked. I must have uploaded it wrong...bummer. Thanks Stephen.

  • @richaaaay  2 weeks

    Curious, did you listen to it?

  • @richaaaay  2 weeks

    Thanks For listening to my tune in your comments. Lyrics are a challenge for me. I just listen to a couple of your collaborations. I’d like to hear more in read some of your lyrics as well. Impressive have prolific you are.

  • @tuneslayer  2 weeks

    I have to wonder if there's a procrastinators' haka. They probably never got around to creating one.

  • @moonraccoon  2 weeks

    Ah yes, the LJ album with Naked Eye is the one I was thinking of.

  • @seemanski  3 weeks

    Hey, I don't suppose you have had a chance to think of some words for our random collab. If you want I can peruse you not yet collaborated words and have a crack. That works for me and saves you a job.

  • @dutch1967  3 weeks

    Hi Stephen, thanks for listening to and commenting on Yesterdays. I got a couple other comments where people adressed the 'diner' situation. Got me thinking... I was only trying to do some Show&Tell, but I kinda overshot the Show and the Tell seems to have suffered. So, off to rewrite the first lines I went. Easy enough as "Jukebox is playing a lovesong - Whitney Houston is telling us lies" fit the metre perfectly and better relates to the central idea for the song. While I was at it I might just change the first verses to Present Tense so the last verse holds more meaning when kept in Past Tense. I'm starting to ramble. Ramblin' Man. Past Tents. Pitch. Quit it! Fin.

  • @helenseviltwin  3 weeks

    I re-read it and kind of still feel like, while the protagonist certainly isn't averse to the attention being paid, it's her instigation. All in all, probably overthinking it 😝

  • @helenseviltwin  3 weeks

    I guess I just found it kind of sad how she stuck around the library never being able to move on, but never being able to grow up either. Stuck in the library and stuck in her early 20s forever.

  • @stevenwesleyguiles  3 weeks

    LOL. Your comment was absolutely fine. I question myself constantly, but then move on. I have pretty tough skin from writing and co-writing with a lot of people, so, I take most things with a grain of salt.

    I questioned MYSELF on the spoken word part. I don't know if I've done that (ever?) often. I was imaging the Canadian songwriter Bruce Cockburn. He does it so well in a lot of his songs. It's funny, in the comments that part seems to be quite controversial. That WAS the hardest part. I tried singing it as a melody, but it was too many words for the tempo/cadence I'd created. I may have backed myself into a corner. 😀

    It could also be cool with an effect, that "bad radio" thing on my voice in that spoken word part.

  • @stevenwesleyguiles  3 weeks

    Do you want to add me as a collaborator to the song or have me post it separately from the lyric?

  • @stevenwesleyguiles  3 weeks

    do you want me to email the music to you first or just post what I do?

  • @stevenwesleyguiles  3 weeks

    Can I take a shot at Cancel Me?

  • @evinwolverton  3 weeks

    Happy Little Accident has a super consistent meter — someone will adapt it easily. I'm just used to less syllables per line, as that's the max I can eek out for myself no matter my toil.

  • @evinwolverton  3 weeks

    Thank you for your comment on How 2 Care 4 U. I felt some of those adjectives, and didn’t expect anyone else to feel that way. It’s so nice to be seen articulately.

  • @majordanby  3 weeks

    Thank so very much for your comments on A Song For The Universe. You have made it sound so beautiful. I had the tune for a couple of days and the words came really quickly. I am not particularly religious, thankful and grateful are probably better words. The original opening two lines were more hymn-like, which Dan suggested changing to be more universal. I like your explanation of the song much better than this waffle.

  • @kahlo2013 3 weeks

    Thanks so much for your comments on our 10x10! It is fun to do. And yes, I thought about writing a whole song about Martina!

  • @psyt 4 weeks

    If you want me to send you the export of my take on Silence, let me know where to send it, and whether you want a .wav file or an .mp3. 😀

  • @lazyafro  4 weeks

    Alooooo Stephen! Always happy to see you return 😁

  • @gslade 4 weeks

    Hit my inbox >>

  • @theresaj  4 weeks

    Speaking for myself, there are some hesitancies that come with asking to work with someone else’s lyrics. I always fear they won’t like what I do with them. Or wonder were they secretly hoping for a specific collaborator and got stuck with me instead. I am touched by your words and am sincerely grateful. I am inspired to create more because of them. Thank you!

  • @theodamus  4 weeks

    You always leave the loveliest comments, living up to your name in both your lyrics and the comment section! I’ve never been complimented on fucking with metaphysics before and I love it ❤️ I look forward to coming and reading your work when I have time to devote full attention!

  • @seemanski  4 weeks

    Hey, sorry for the delayed reply. I'm good to have a go at whatever you send my way. If you fancy slapping somebodies name in there somewhere that would tick off the week 1 challenge for me and I would be very grateful 😀

  • @coolparadiso  4 weeks

    I was fortunate in those hazy days when we travelled to spend many hours in the Musee d’Orsay surrounded by van gogh monet and many more! And i mean in touching distance. I would go look again in a heartbeat!

  • @kingwoodkowboy  4 weeks

    thanks for reviewing "Write Me A Letter." Appreciate your input.

  • @rdopart  4 weeks

    Great collaboration! Loved it.

  • @theresaj  4 weeks

    I’m glad you like the demo! I had so much fun with it. Thank you for the pleasure of collaborating once again and thank you for your gift of lyrics to the world.

  • @timfatchen  4 weeks

    "I want to dance a jig on my desk while an Australian calls me names." Now now, you know that's for @pointlessaccount and @frogspawn to sort out between them!

  • @jacobeverettwallace  4 weeks

    I appreciated your nice comment on (re)light, sir!

  • @scubed  4 weeks

    I really appreciate your generous comment on “Fall Gently”!

  • @dzdandcunfsd  4 weeks

    Well I guess that one needs to be some kind of deep sea orca-mech fight now! 😁 Thanks! That comment cracked me up! It would make for a cracking good video!

  • @metalfoot  4 weeks

    Kelly said she was writing in your style for that one so there you go. Pun game.

  • @johnstaples  4 weeks

    Thanks for your comments on Follow Me Stephen! I deeply appreciate your thoughtful analysis. Your comments are as good as songs!

  • @radioovermoscow 4 weeks

    Thanks! I saw the film Koyaaniqatsi when I was in film school. Tutor sat us down for what we thought was going to be a 10-minute experimental short. Turned out to be full-length... never forgotten it, haha

  • @sapient  4 weeks

    What a lovely set of observations. Thank you! 😃

  • @coolparadiso  4 weeks

    Thx for the comments. I sort of worked out while bringing up kids that you have to know when to shout and when to more gently point out things! There is a time for the shout but far more is achieved by the later! It seems to be something we are forgetting!

  • @psyt 4 weeks

    Thank you for the wonderful comment on Use Your Tongue. It really made me smile. 😀

  • @ajna1960  4 weeks

    Great to see you again ! Happy FAWMing 2021 !

  • @chariotbaldwin  4 weeks

    Hey there - I've lost track of how many FAWMs I've taken part in, but it's the same number as John Staples, since he and I joined the same year. Good luck for 2021 and I'm sure there's gonna be a covid ditty or two right?

  • @barryg 5 weeks

    Hi fellow Wellingtonian, it's my first FAWM which I'm participating in with my brother @conorg, pretty exciting!

  • @petemurphy  5 weeks

    Hi Stephen! Cheers! I hope all is ok with you. I've decided that I'm going to try to take part. All the best to you and yours!

  • @hummingbear  5 weeks

    Is that your special anti-Covid hat? It seems to work very well! Have a great month!

  • @cts  5 weeks

    There's a jar a-waitin', my friend. I'm patient. And when the muse moves you, you know where to find me!

  • @cts  5 weeks

    Now THAT, sir, is a hat! How goes ya?

  • @andrewjtaylor  5 weeks

    Hey Stephen! Just 1 week till FAWM!

    With all the turmoil since last FAWM, & especially since November, it's hard to feel quite as amped up about it.

    "Unnecessary creation" just feels a little less necessary than usual.

    But...the artists (music & video creators, especially) are arguably the most influential modern-day philosophers, & every minute/hour/day/week/month/year we spend honing our craft is a minute/hour/day/week/month/year invested in contribution to culture, no matter how small our circle of influence.

    Hope you have a great Feb./FAWM, no matter how you spend it.

  • @tamsnumber4  6 weeks

    And the Word Weaver returns......

  • @tcelliott  6 weeks


  • @timfatchen  7 weeks

    @frogspawn and @pointlessaccount have now published their FAWM2020 album:

    It's had to come out under Flying Tadpole's Bandcamp site cos Bandcamp won't let them back onto their own page (