In our last episode, we mentioned that as an author, nothing else should be expected of me rather than what you read in my books and to keep the discussion there. I prefer to speak about the imagery in “Take a Minute and Pause” in the Voices of South Central than to discuss endlessly about the subject matter in the book. I’m trying to sell it to you, the reader, not to start a rant outside of the pages of that book as many armchair activists have done online.
Armchair activists. If you have a Twitter and Facebook account, you too can play this game by constantly posting what’s wrong with our world and society that spirals out of control. However, as an author, my job is to tell you what’s going on in this world and that’s by talking about the themes and topics in the things I’m passionate about. This may offend a great deal of friends who are already posting current news and/or opinions from the philosophers or great men and women of influence in the past, but newsflash: your ‘fans’ are interested in YOU, not the postings of an anti Obama tirade. Yes, you may appeal to your fans who are just as interested as ‘freeing the sheep’ but unless you talk about your book, the same book you put an effort to produce and eventually publish, then outside of that circle, chances are the gains to attract new readers will fall short.
Look, if you’ve read my posts this far (over a thousand) then you know on what issues I stand and where my heart lies with the subjects that concern me the most. But I am a poet and author who speaks on life’s foibles, not an armchair activist who posts something on social media which eventually will be pushed further down in the news feed within a manner of seconds. If any reader wants to know who Charles L. Chatmon is, I have a website, an updated bio, even a guestbook if they want to maintain in touch (and I do suggest you sign the guestbook, smile) with me. Chatwrites2@yahoo.com is my email address. The one thing I am not nor will ever be, is an armchair activist. I have good speaking ability, but not of the legendary quality. I have stood behind a pulpit and preached a sermon twenty years ago, and while my gift of writing may be used as a ‘bully pulpit’ on paper and on screen. My job as an author is to share with you, the reader what I wrote in my published books and keep a dialogue with you in this forum about future appearances, etc., rather than recreate the Civil Rights Movement here. As I said last time, better and greater men and women than I can succeed in that task.
In a forum like this, a blog (how many folks continue to read blogs anyway?) it’s my responsibility to provide content that reveals my thoughts and feelings. You, the reader must decide if future visits here are worth your time. In a past article, I referenced websites such as the old Black Voices and Net Noir where folks had their say about Presidents Clinton and Bush, touched on the same issues as Black people we’re still going through and yet…..those websites are closed, shut down. So our armchair activism really didn’t account for much, did it?
Social media is all the rage right now, but as an author it is my hope that it doesn’t take away the human factor in going out for book signings and/or events such as the L.A. Black Book Expo. It’s created a monster in that everyone, everyone has an opinion, an agenda, a cause, a mission, you name it, everyone’s on the internet distracted from the things that matter including ‘pulling out of thin air’ philosophies that make no sense at all. Personally, I will continue to use my social media pages to post important news stories while focusing on the book scene. I seriously doubt my tirade to the president, congress or even Shoe Shine Boy will make a difference. The machinations of men will continue to grind with or without an insightful and conscious probing post. Perhaps those memes of Kermit the Frog sipping some tea while telling you whatever is none of his business will make our ‘leaders’ quake in their boots. An author shouldn’t waste time dealing with foolishness like that, nor he or she should encourage it.
Reminder: I’m an author, not a world leader, revolutionary or armchair activist. I write books and articles, not social policy.
Charles L. Chatmon
Note: The following is from Thoughts On A String, July 16, 2014