We had the good fortune of connecting with Charles L Chatmon and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Charles L, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
It started out as a hobby. I started writing when I was about twelve because it gave me something to do. I grew up an only child and very lonely so writing my thoughts in a poem or short story really helped me to become the author I am today. There’s something about sitting down and creating on paper and on screen expressing your feelings, your dreams and hopes, everything you want to describe in that space. I enjoy it now that I’m producing books and talking with readers of what they felt about what they read. That means a lot to me. Whether it’s a poem or story, I always want my audience to feel they’ve learned a lot about the written work and about me. I remember one day in a YMCA camp, a fellow counselor told me after I read a poem at the campfire the night before, “you make people think”. That quote has stayed with me from way back when I was starting out until now. If I can create an idea in the reader’s mind, then I’m happy with that. That is the main reason why I pursued my artistic career and I want to keep going with it.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’m an author who writes poems and short stories. The response I hear often from readers is that my literary works are a reflection of real life, they can see the subjects I describe as real events or circumstances. In a book club meeting, I announced during my time to read that I was looking for a publisher for my first book. An author reached out to me at the event and suggested I speak with this well known community-based publisher. After attending a class the publisher held and hearing one of my poems, she wanted to publish my book. Her team worked in the formatting, cover and editing for my literary project. When they were finished and I held that first book in my hands – there’s no other feeling in the world I enjoy the most – I smiled all day. I learned that accomplishing a dream is easy if you work to make it happen and tell others what you are looking for. If I didn’t tell the book club about my plans, I wouldn’t have started the process for me to become published, so it was a good thing I spoke up and expressed myself. I would like everyone to know that I enjoy writing. I love it and to hear readers share their positive thoughts keeps me going. I plan to keep on writing for a long time.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I would tell my best friend to start with the Exposition Park Rose Garden. If they wanted to find a place to eat, I suggest Houston’s in Manhattan Beach. That’s a great place for lunch and dinner. I would also suggest Redondo Beach, Santa Monica, and Pasadena as destination spots for my best friend. Hollywood too.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Rose Mitchell, former Black Resource Center librarian at the AC Bilbrew Library, Los Angeles
Other: Tik Tok: https://www.tiktok.com/@chatwrites