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