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Monthly Archives: May 2019

I Wanted To Be Shakespeare

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This is not a poem or a sonnet, but a confession. I wanted to be like ‘The Bard’, William Shakespeare. For a writer or English major as I was back in college, Shakespeare was the man, the top gun of writers, poets, creative literary artists. I would say that early in my college life I had a pretty good path; I enrolled in courses concentrating on his plays and sonnets, started to ‘borrow’ his style in writing a few practice sonnets, even focused my rough drafts as Shakespearean style short stories (not to worry; there were completely different in style and theme). Why am I sharing this in public? I would guess that for a writer with a long term plan like I had at the time, it was ideal to learn from ‘one of the greats’.

At eighteen years of age, writing was a decision I made. The path was clear, the goal set. In order to be a good one, I had to study the great writers who came before me. I learned from Shakespeare, Hemingway, Hughes, Baldwin and the rest. My literary artist contemporaries stress if order to be a writer, you must read. They are so right. By the time I started college, I had already made my local library my second home, reading stories and non-fiction books by authors great and small. They helped me write my plays and short stories. These writers gave me the freedom to imagine anything I chose, putting my thoughts down on paper.

Today, there are multiple spaces in which to share your thoughts online. A blog such as the one you’re looking at now, social media and even a website to post your content and express yourself to the world. Even with all this technology in our hands, it’s easy to look up Shakespeare, his sonnets and plays, to learn and to imitate his style. The internet as you know has opened the door for new or aspiring authors to give their literary dreams a try. While there may not be a King Lear or Romeo & Juliet, there are millions of stories, poems, sonnets, commentaries for anyone to sit down in their quiet space, concentrate and write. Many years ago, I wanted to be Shakespeare but now I’m just happy being Charles L. Chatmon, author.

It’s always good to have a literary great who inspires you, but please make sure to adopt your own writing style and ideas. Who knows where the next great tragedy or classic tale will come from? If you desire to write and willing to take time to develop that dream, the next great writer could be you.

Charles L. Chatmon
Chatmon’s Books

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Posted by on May 26, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

Should The World Recognize Aspiring Authors?

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Question: should the world recognize aspiring authors?

For the sake of conversation, I say no. Take for example if someone states they’€™re an aspiring singer, the obvious question would be when will their song be made public? If the aspiring singer doesn’€™t know or they’€™re not sure only floating out the indefinite date of ‘someday’€™, then in the world’€™s eyes, this person is not ‘€˜legitimate’€™ in their eyes. This future musical artist has to produce a song in the present in order for us to recognize their published work. Personally, twenty years ago, I talked about publishing a book but I didn’€™t produce one at that time. I guess I was an aspiring author myself. I had friends who advised me on writing a book for public consumption, but in 1999 I had nothing to speak of outside of one column in community newspapers. I didn’€™t fool myself into believing I was an author of a book because I wasn’€™t published.

The words ‘€˜aspiring author’€™ trigger many a scribe today. There is on one hand the accomplished writer who remembers the days before their manuscripts turned into actual printed works. Perhaps they don’€™t want to refer to these future authors because of the experience of waiting for their literary dreams to come true after days and nights behind a desk, typing who knows what for agents, publishers and eventually a reading audience. If anyone told me twenty years ago the truth that I’€™m not a recognized author even though I planned to publish a book, I would have accepted it. It also would have made me work harder to see that dream come true. In modern times, authors will warn you in strong language on social media “€œI hate the term aspiring author! What are you aspiring to? Are there aspiring teachers or aspiring customer service reps? Why the hell should one call themselves an aspiring author for? Dumb….”€ Now although the above quote was paraphrased, it has been known to use the words aspiring author means certain vitriol to whoever says it.

In the example I offered above, a person who aspires to sing is an aspiring singer. Anyone who wants to enter the customer service field is an aspiring customer service representative. Let’€™s look at the root word Aspire to see if there’s any harm in using the term aspiring:

ASPIRE:

: desiring and working to achieve a particular goal : having aspirations to attain a specified profession, position, etc. an aspiring actor [=a person who aspires to be and is trying to become an actor] an aspiring novelist (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

This harmless adjective only tells the truth. This world will not recognize an aspiring author but the person who aspires to become one is working toward that goal. It is important to understand that this world will not recognize the aspiring author’€™s work until they are a published author. Until that moment happens, all of the news and posts about progress won’t matter if the work isn’t made reality.

What upsets other literary artists with this term is that the word aspiring conflates with the word unknown. Until the publication of my first book, all I could do was perform in poetry readings across the city. I didn’€™t have a published book to my name. To the audience who heard my words and read my poems, I was an unknown author. Established and non-established authors remember the struggle in achieving the accolades or acclaim they’€™ve worked hard to achieve and it hurts. It’€™s a pain no one wants a future author to experience for fear they possibly will be discouraged and give up on their dream. For reasons of their own, they take offense of the term aspiring even if it is the truth for future authors.

Hopefully, aspiring authors understand this piece does not come from an ‘elite’€™ point of view but a realistic look at how readers and the world in general view them in the present. Look at the aspiring singer example above. Singing a few bars on social media doesn’€™t mean you’€™re an established singer, it means you are working towards scoring that first recorded song or album. Aspiring (and other) authors should be offended if they’€™re called by that name. That individual author is taking steps from moving to the aspiring to published stage. If the drive is there, we the reading audience will see their literary works in a timely manner. For in the present, the reality is that they are not recognized by the world yet. As these authors continue in pursuit of their goal, they will be.

Charles L. Chatmon
Chatmon’s Books

 
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Posted by on May 25, 2019 in Uncategorized

 
 
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