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Author Archives: Chatmon's Books

About Chatmon's Books

Chatmon's Books is your online bookstore for the best in emerging authors, writers' workshop CD's and DVD's, bookmarks, poetry postcards and more. #LiteratureUnlimited

Easily Replaced (poem)

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Note: This poem is an original written by the user of this blog. Because it is posted here for the first time, it is a digital copyright.
Keep in mind any reproduction of this original work may find a challenge legal or otherwise, coming from the writer of this piece. Thank you for your time.

I’m a Black man
And you hate me
I’m judged very carefully
So you rate me
I’m measured by
All of your past experiences
With us men
So we’re regarded
In such a way
You vow never to date us again.

You prefer a pale face
Or another rib
Seeking peace
And all that is glib
I’m to you, a bogeyman
That you abhor
With a mixture
Of disgust and fright
Accused of crimes
I didn’t not commit
Unjust
But you believe is right.

I can’t call you
A queen
If you can’t accept me
As a king
So royalty has no place
All I am to you
Is only a human being
One who is easily replaced.

Charles L. Chatmon

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Posted by on July 8, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

This One Word: Author

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I had a discussion with someone I know quite well, which persuaded me to write this piece.

From 2005 to 2013 I taught writers workshops in L.A. and Oakland. I’€™ve seen my share of ‘€˜aspiring’€™ and new writers who dreamed of publishing their first book. In these workshops, I shared my notes on what is required to write a manuscript, publishing and marketing. Most of the attendees were inspired to finish their books, while those who heard the information and took notes, I never saw again. All I know is that from my two workshops, I know several people who have gone on to become published authors which makes me proud to have contributed to their success.

It’€™s been five years since my last workshop and all I can say now is that the word ‘€˜author’€™ doesn’€™t hold the same prestige that it once had. Most of you know from reading this blog I’€™ve been an author for seventeen years. The writing business has changed over time tremendously. Once upon a time, there would be a number of individuals who their books printed by traditional, subsidy publishers or printed them themselves. Thanks to the advances in technology, print on demand publishing and Amazon have been a boon to the aspiring author who realizes their dream in writing and publishing their books. Because there are more people taking advantage of this technology, there are more authors than before.

There’€™s no way I could have foreseen (as much research as I do) of the video streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu capturing the attention of our potential audiences. No doubt these platforms shorten the free time available for reading a book. The question I have to ask is: with these platforms, who has time for reading anymore? The hours spent for binge watching a favorite television show could be used to read a favorite book -€“ if anyone has a favorite book. Even with our advanced technology, what use is there for an author in the 21st Century? There have been times at a community festival someone walks up to my table and tells me, ‘€œI’€™m not a book reader.’€ As if those words would make me feel better. They didn’€™t and still don’€™t.

Looking at the present world around me with a generation that isn’€™t much into book reading and comfortable watching their video platforms, I have to wonder how much longer do I have before all of this becomes for naught? How much longer can all of these new authors who attend writers’€™ workshops with the intention of publishing a book discover the support isn’€™t there? It’€™s great we have authors such as J.K. Rowling, John Green and the rest whose works are getting the acclaim they deserve. For these individuals, the word Author has weight. For the rest of us struggling to finish our first or fifth book, our projects stalled without much to share on social media, this word doesn’€™t mean a whole lot -€“ and it should.

When you take the time to produce a written work, you should have a sense of pride that your words are for all to see. Don’€™t let this world put you down just because you are an author and there’€™s a lack of support. You have to move forward to let folks know about your website, your next book signings, poetry readings, etc. Be proud of your accomplishments and let no one take that away from you, even if you’€™re not as ‘€˜well known’€™.

For most, the word ‘€˜author’€™ is just another space on someone’€™s social resume before they direct their energies towards their next endeavor in business, entertainment, public speaking, whatever avenue they choose. In today’€™s modern climate, authors no longer have longevity their predecessors once had. Unless you’€™re a King, Rowling (again), and Atwood, I’€™ve personally seen new authors €˜give up€™ because the sales weren’€™t moving in a direction they wanted to go. They, like me, had heard enough from the non book reading crowd or the non supportive legion of folks who don’€™t place literature as a priority. There are too many media platforms fighting for their attention today.

Lastly, to be an author means to me is to love the art associated with the craft. I wonder how many literary artists love to write presently? When we can become easily distracted by social media, that time could be well spent to create our own stories, helpful non-fictional content, series, anything we want. I would wager that writing opens up a well of possibilities creatively, an untapped well social media doesn’€™t allow. Whether you’€™re seeking to write a book or if you’€™re continuing to write because you love what you’€™re doing, be proud of that word. Be proud of dreaming to be called one and be proud because you are one. The word may not matter much on a ‘€˜lower level’€™ but it means so much for those of us who’€™ve earned the right to be called that special, important word.

Charles L. Chatmon
Chatmon’s Books

 
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Posted by on March 9, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

Crispus Attucks (A Tommy Tomorrow comic)

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This Tommy Tomorrow comic book is taken from The Negro Heritage Library: Negro Heritage Reader for Young People (1965)

(Edited by Alfred E. Cain)

More details on Crispus Attucks and Tommy Tomorrow by artist Tom Feelings at the end.

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Posted by on February 5, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

A Plea for Real Rent Control in California

 

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The subject of out of control rents is a serious issue here in California, especially when landlords take advantage and raise them up to astronomical levels, making it harder to live on a meager income. It also allows gentrifiers to move in while families are displaced, increasing the homeless population.

This is why an organization called ACCE (Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment) is taking action calling for a repeal of the Costa-Hawkins act. Although vital information is found on the flyer above, it was passed in 1995 which ‘ties the hands of local communities’ in three ways that you will notice on the flyer.

This community group with chapters from the Bay Area to L.A. is calling for a repeal of the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act and asks support from people like you and me to get involved so this Act can be repealed. Because this is an issue that affects South Los Angeles, we’re asking our readers and followers to take a minute and click on the link below to see whether or not this is an issue worth fighting for. We endorse ACCE’s actions with this repeal and hope it becomes very successful.

http://acceaction.org/rentcontrolnow

Please help ACCE in the fight for better communities across the state of California, not the ones only the affluent can afford.

Charles L. Chatmon
Owner, Chatmon’s Books

 
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Posted by on January 26, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

#Hashtag Fever

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In the social media world, the most effective weapon to draw attention to a movement or issue is by way of the #hashtag. How many of us seen it in our timelines, our feeds only to wonder what this is doing in my mentions? Perhaps you reader, have used a hashtag once or twice to advocate a cause. Up until a week ago, I had used it to promote my upcoming book, Storm Over South Central. You remember when I posted #StormOverSC in my Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts? Well no more! The #StormOverSC is in indefinite hiatus for the time being. All I can say is that it didn’t get the results I wanted and I have better ways to advertise Storm until the release date. To be honest, I’ve given up on posting hashtags altogether.

Maybe for the Social Justice Warrior types, hashtags are essential to their message, but what it’s done in my humble opinion is the overreliance of creating and posting a hashtag to the masses using social media. My thought is what if peeps are unaware of The Cause of The Week or important social alert? What if they don’t use social media at all? Hashtag Fever can burn a user out if all they see on their screen is a bunch of #MeToo or #BlackLivesMatter all day long (then again, that speaks to the user staying on screen all day long too). It’s understandable hashtags are a new form of communication like-minded users will get and pass along when done right. My attempts in the past were a bit successful when I ran the book expo. Now that I’m an author, I don’t see a great need to overindulge myself online by posting #StormOverSC in posts where it doesn’t belong, like a story from a news site which has nothing to do with South Central L.A. or the subjects in the book.

The internet being what it is, hashtags have become an important tool to broadcast what regular traditional media could or will not say. They can also clutter our minds by the rate they’re posted. They’re mental candy and just like physical candy, if you eat too much….you will get sick. I don’t know about everyone else, but for the time being, I have decided to stop posting hashtags on my posts. I’d rather post a link to a story or subject that I feel needs to be shared and let you, the readers, decide whether or not it’s worth your time. Beginning now, I’m on a hashtag diet.

Charles L. Chatmon
Owner, Chatmon’s Books

Links:

Hashtag Overload: Why Your Customers Think You’re Annoying
Why I Don’t Use Tons Of Instagram Hashtags And Why It’s Not Helping Your Biz Either
Instagram #Hashtags: Use Them, Don’t Abuse Them

 
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Posted by on January 22, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

The Black Panther Discussion

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It’s been a long time since I’ve seen my friend ‘James’. On another blog we discussed M.A.N.T.I.S., a television program back in the 1990’s about a paralyzed Black scientist who puts on an exoskeleton to fight crime. It didn’t last long, of course. Don’t worry, because Marvel Studios has caused ‘woke’ Black bruthas and sistahs to dust off their dashikis, pump their fists and scream……oh, it’s not that kind of movie? So I found James after thirteen years and we’re talking about the next great Black superhero movie.

Chas: James, how’ve you been? I haven’t seen you since 2005! Remember when we talked about M.A.N.T.I.S., that Black superhero show that used to be on Fox?

James: Yeah, the one where he had two African assistants in the pilot only to have them taken out of the regular series once it was approved by two white assistants? Yeah, I remember.

Chas: What about how the show ended? Wasn’t that weak?

James: Dude, he was stomped by a dinosaur! I’ll tell you white folks play evil man. He didn’t even get to keep that trench coat he wore in the pilot! They are so wrong!

Chas: Thirteen years later, we have Black Panther from Marvel Studios. Bruthas and sistas are determined to see this movie no matter what! What about you? You plan on going?

James: Does the Black Panther wear a trench coat like my boy M.A.N.T.I.S.?

Chas: Uh nope. He does wear a bullet proof costume though. He could have used that in any issue he appeared in my stack of my 1970’s Avengers comics.

James: If he doesn’t wear a trench coat even for five minutes, I’m out. White folks need to give Black superheroes some class man.

Chas: You know how much social media is going to blow up on February 16, the release date. You wouldn’t watch it because he’s not wearing a trench coat………

James: Think about it. I’ve heard righteous brothers said they don’t plan on seeing the movie because A) he was created by a white man and b) the Panther doesn’t wear a trench coat.

Chas: I can see why folks wouldn’t go to see the film. They have their reasons, but they should let us decide for ourselves whether or not it’s worth it. They do understand that Virgil Tibbs (The Heat of the Night), Shaft and Hawk were all created from the minds of white men right? John Ball, Ernest Tidyman and Robert B. Parker. Even M.A.N.T.I.S. was created by Sam Raimi who directed the Evil Dead and Spider Man movies.

James: That dude? He’s the one who thought up our boy?

Chas: Yep, and I didn’t hear from the righteous crowd from the 1960’s to 1990’s telling us to boycott those television shows and movies. But hey, maybe one day I’ll create my own iconic character so if he or she ever makes it to film, there won’t be an excuse not to come out and support.

James: You know there are going those people who say we shouldn’t watch it. I’m still on the fence because………

Chas: The trench coat thang, yeah I got you on that.

James: Seriously though, I saw on the movie poster that the movie is going to be written and directed by a Black man. I have no problem with that. My problem is that when they change things around after the movie or TV show is out.

Chas: If I see it, I would like to see the changes later writers like Christopher Priest, Reginald Hudlin and the late, great Dwayne McDuffie contributed to T’Challa (the Black Panther’s real name) back in the early 2000’s long before there was a movie. These creative bruthas gave him an upgrade and new motivations to his character. If I plan on seeing the movie, it’s because of those writers. I follow them and they do great work.

James: I second that my brutha, but still…..they should have given him a trench coat! That would have been a sweet upgrade!

Chas: I think Marvel should be careful when trying to sneak in an agenda that not everyone is ready for, if ever. It should be all about the characters, nuff said. If there’s some political strife that threatens to tear Wakanda apart, write about it.

James: Yeah, I caught a snippet that Ta-Nehisi Coates is writing his stories now. For his sake, he better give the Panther a trench coat or I’ll be mad!

Chas: Chill with the trench coat nonsense man! LOL. Whether it’s Don McGregor or Coates, all we ask for is for great character development, challenging plots and action! Lots of it! I can’t get enough action! Marvel left that back in the early 2000’s and that was their bread and butter back in the day!

James: You mean Stan Lee was getting all the bread from the books he wrote and the butter? Anyone not named Stan Lee.

Chas: It’s only a month left, but do you plan on seeing Black Panther?

James: Still on the fence. I know there’s a ton of great actors in it, but there are some things I need to check out for myself before I decide to give the Mouse my money. I hope it’s not another M.A.N.T.I.S. or it’s like Shaft. You know it was twenty-seven years before the so-called ‘powers that be’ filmed another Shaft movie. When they did, it was WEAK!

Chas: Wesley Snipes, the candidate for that role made it plain why. It’s on the internet.

James: At least Carl Lumbly, our boy on M.A.N.T.I.S. found some work.

Chas: Yeah, ‘Alias’ was a good spot for him. That is until we hear some ‘behind the scenes’ commentary on YouTube.

James: Tru that. About that time C, we’ll find out in a month. Black Panther fans, keep calling and email Marvel to insist he wears a trench coat in the movie in memory of M.A.N.T.I.S!

Chas: You’re too much James. Hope it’s not another thirteen years before we have another conversation. Chas out!

Charles L. Chatmon
Who played the part of ‘Chas’
President, Chatmon’s Books

 
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Posted by on January 18, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

The Unpopular King

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Eloquent speaker, I Have a Dream, the marches to Selma, Montgomery, you name it we’ll tell our children about the man who was named Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr and his call of equality for all. As written before on this blog, there are supporters of the good doctor who emphasize the need to remind ourselves of the constant struggle of our basic rights as his detractors, older, richer and playfully use his quotes to further their agendas and stifle others. But this entry isn’t about that. It’s about the times Dr. King wasn’t popular, wasn’t taken seriously or that the message got ‘too old’.

When the news cameras flash, microphones thrushed to the mouths of our children, they’ll mention the typical ear-soothing comments about Dr. King in that ‘he was a fighter for justice’, ‘he wanted all people to live together’ and ‘he had a dream that we should be the same’. You know how it goes. If you don’t, watch your television screens highlighting any King Day Parade and see what the attendees say.

Back in college I remember reading Letter From Birmingham Jail and what caught my eye were the comparisons made between Dr. King and the apostle Paul. Both were thrown in jail for what they believed in, they involved in their spiritual missions met with stiff oppositions from the governments they served under. As Dr. King exhorted the churches not to ‘wait’ – a word my parents and late grandparents heard once too often – the suggestion is that we cannot wait, a very unpopular view in the eyes of Southerners who detested the so-called ‘agitators’ ruining their Jim Crow status quo, their way of life. No eloquent speech can replace the lingering frustration of the non-response of Dr. King’s noncommittal spiritual brethren.

There are a pair of clippings saved in my folder that I lifted from an old L.A. Times microfilm in my college days. One clipping is from Dr. King’s visit in the midst of the Watts Unrest of 1965. By that time, people were angry and upset. What worked in the South didn’t work for the southern section of Los Angeles, according to the hecklers who greeted the good doctor as he tried to make his appeal to the citizens in a local meeting shortly after the firestorm. Could you imagine if you were Dr. King standing in the middle of your own people and viewing from your own eyes how much they wanted to ‘burn’ rather than seek nonviolent means, a method you adhered to? It was the bittersweet of all bittersweet ironies; just as he urged the churches in his letter not to ‘wait’, the citizens of Watts didn’t want to wait either.

 

 

We’ll continue to watch films and reenactments on the historic March on Washington and the ‘I Have a Dream’ speech and in between the “Mountaintop” speech the night before he died, but we never really see what happened in the five years between 1963 and 1968. Perhaps those years are too painful to watch because it reveals a deeper truth about ourselves; we only remember the messenger at his height, but never during his descent for we are the ones who caused it. Consider: after the Civil Right measures were passed, the failed attempt to desegregate the North, the growing impatience with the nonviolent method to achieve anything past Civil Rights, the emergence of the Black Power Movement, the violent civil unrests unfolding around the country, criticizing the Vietnam War, etc. I don’t know how much of a toll I could take if I were in his shoes, but within that five year period, so much change, anxiousness, that it is a wonder he was able to continue to persevere through it all. I guess that’s the true measure of a leader; to continue the fight although the troops may not follow your example.

In order to show how special Dr. King was, we have to include it all; the joys of defeating an unjust law, winning a fight for equal rights and pushing across legislation that aimed to promote equality. We have to show the tremendous struggle against wily Northern politicians, our own growing frustration with the philosophy of nonviolence, and the result of his life’s work in this year, 2008 A.D.; one step forward, five steps back.

Continue to show the speeches, the marches, and repeat the quotes but we have to ‘keep it real’ and show that at times he seemed one man against a world he hoped to change and almost succeeded. If we’re going to remember the great Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr on this day, perhaps we should make the one courageous act we dare not try lest it would be deemed as not cool or just plain whack. Nevertheless, Dr. King didn’t try for a popularity contest, he just ‘wanted to do God’s Will’. What is that one courageous act then?

Follow his example, even in the eyes of many, seen as unpopular.

Charles L. Chatmon
President, Chatmon’s Books

 
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Posted by on January 15, 2018 in Uncategorized

 
 
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