Why is writing important to you?
Writing is important to me because it’s my therapy. It’s my personal savior. It gives me a platform where my unique ideas and experiences can be expressed, and my fears challenged. Unlike any other art form I’ve explored, writing tests me the most, it holds me accountable. Writing is my mirror I look into and see my true, authentic self; bone, marrow, soul, flesh. It asks for only your truth and it exposes the fakers–quick.
What keeps you busy when you’re not writing?
What keeps me busy when I’m not writing? Good question. Most of the time, I’m thinking about writing when I’m not writing. However, aside from my day job, I binge: on wine, Netflix, books, and spending time with my tribe. In addition, I explore other art forms such as acting, theatre, and photography. I recently read Loving Day by Mat Johnson and the classic, The Fire Next Time, by James Baldwin.
What piece are you most proud of and why?
Did we try enough?
How did we lose him?
Weep at his breadth
Look over life altered
A plight like a birthright.
These are some lines taken from my poem, Vacuum. I am working on a collection of poems called, Letting Go. It’s a collection, three years in the making. Most of these poems were written after my workshop at VONA Voices, Summer 2015. There’s a poem in this collection which I wrote after I found out some heartbreaking news about a close friend of the family. This piece reminds me of my hometown roots, Vallejo, California and its reality.
What book or books have most influenced your thinking or writing?
Another Country – James Baldwin
Giovanni’s Room – James Baldwin
The Fire Next Time – James Baldwin
Where a Nickel Costs a Dime – Willie Perdomo
The Autobiography of Malcolm X: As Told to Alex Haley – Malcolm X & Alex Haley
Ishmael: An Adventure of the Mind and Spirit – Daniel Quinn
Black Feeling, Black Talk – Nikki Giovanni
A Raisin in the Sun – Lorraine Hansberry
Fences – August Wilson
House on Mango Street – Sandra Cisneros
Down these Mean Streets – Piri Thomas
Flyin’ West – Pearl Cleage
And many, many more.
Who is your favorite writer or author? Where should people start if they want to read this person’s best work?
My favorite author is James Baldwin. I would start with The Fire Next Time and No Name in the Street. However, I’d say I’m more of a fan of the writing he did abroad because currently I live abroad and can relate. I love Equal in Paris. Although, if I were to include plays, I’d have to say August Wilson is tied with Baldwin. His whole ten-play cycle-a masterpiece.
More from Charles on Abernathy: