feature is literary fiction author Clarence Barbee who’s here to talk about his
new book, Chicken Soup and a Shot of
his virtual book tour, Clarence will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes and
Noble gift card (winner’s choice) to a lucky randomly drawn person. To be
entered for a chance to win, use the
form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit his other tour stops and enter there, too!
Clarence Barbee has been writing and performing poetry for over a decade. He
has produced 9 spoken word albums, under the pseudonyms Nabraska and Poet402. Clarence
is now working on self-publishing books of essays and short stories.
his professional life he has worked with, educated, and supported many
children. Clarence believes in keeping an eye on political planes and social
occurrences such as changes in world leadership, and social inequalities. These
actions of men are a huge curiosity to the author; he believes in writing about
them, and discussing them, so solutions can be made.
has taken these experiences and written about them extensively. He asks, “who
doesn’t want to be happy,” then goes about the business of finding the answer. Please
take some time to join him on this journey as they are set through words,
sometimes with music, and always taken with a grain of salt.
Welcome, Clarence. Please tell us about
your current release.
Shot of Jack,
is a work of literary fiction filled with thought-provoking essays, poetry, and
short stories. The themes range from humanity to comedy, growing up to racial
tensions in America, along with thoughts of being a youth and the most
enjoyable ways to spend time. The poetry comes from my experiences of being an
African-American male, a paraprofessional, and a supervisor with an all girls
treatment center. The book dives in the human psyche and begs to show balance
to the sometime insurmountable odds that we all face. It also allows the reader
the levity of laughing after the storm hits, and being ok with laughing at
What inspired you to write this book?
inspiration for the book came from life. I have had some success as a spoken
word poet, performing all over the country, and gaining insight from all these
experiences; but never really sat down and put it on paper. The other
inspiration came s few years ago after moving away from my family, and wanting
to really find who I was, and I fit into this greater world. I knew I was a
pretty decent human being, but I didn’t sculpt myself, by myself, I had a lot
of help in that. So I took a hard look at what a lot of my influences were and
how I tried to influence others. I learned that there is balance to everything,
and if not then there may be some issues
Excerpt from Chicken Soup and A Shot of Jack:
From “They Never Told Us”
never told us to listen to each other, never taught us to engage in the
conversation, challenging the speaker to prove that which they so confidently
stated. They never told us to dream; they told us to make goals, for those are
the building blocks to the foundation of living. Rarely did they inspire us.
They, merely, spat their philosophies of hard work paying off in the future,
yet they did not teach us to smile. They told us to adhere to the rules, honor
your mother and father, and your days would be long upon the land. They never
told us that mommy was unhappy with daddy’s infidelity, and that daddy was
unhappy with mommy’s insecurity.
never taught us to believe in each other. No one ever said, that little boy or
girl sitting next to you is your brother or sister, and you will need them, so
help them, and vice versa. They taught us to never say, “Hi”, to a stranger,
they never taught us how to make a friend, when everyone is a stranger. They
never told us what to do with the scary girl in the back of the class who wore
dark make-up, and never wore shorts in gym class. They never told us she likes
to cut herself, they never told us why. They never gave us a game plan for that
“loner” boy, who always read the advanced chemistry books, and walked around
with his head down. They never said to engage him, or talk to him; they said he
would be ok.
What exciting story are you working on
am currently working on a book of short stories. I felt I would expand on the
story-teller in me and explore what comes out. Some of the stories are about
pain and heartache; others are about the pure craziness of being locked up. Right
now these stories are all un-related, they stand alone on their own merit I
believe. However they are not short in wit, and humor. There is one story in
particular I am working on involving two youth in a treatment facility, and the
adventures they encounter in there. It is shaping up to be an adventure of a
consider yourself a writer?
began to consider myself a writer probably sometime in my twenties. At that
point in my life I was writing a lot of poetry, and performing spoken word. Well,
much of the feedback I was getting was that people could picture what I was
talking about on stage. I began developing my stage presence, but the poetry
kept getting longer and longer, like epic pieces. However the bright lights of
the stage faded, I was performing less, but writing more. I began to keep a
journal in my early thirties, and started getting more and more comfortable
with complete, concise sentences. It was like I was in 8th grade
English class all over again, but this time it felt good, and my confidence
grew. So I kept writing, and somehow got to the point now, where I’m forming
essays and working on short stories every week.
Do you write full-time? If so, what’s
your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find
time to write?
Unfortunately, I don’t write full-time. I haven’t been able to pay bills with
what I write, but it’s getting there. So what I do as a day job is work at a
youth treatment facility. It can be brutal work at times, but rewarding at
times as well. It has provided me with a lot of inspiration, and some ideas for
different stories too. I never really find the time to write, I make it. I
believe that if you really are dedicated to writing you will make time for it. You
will cut off the cell phone, unplug the Internet, or get in the car, go to the
park and make it happen.
What would you say is your interesting
of my quirks is writing in pencil. I know, I know, it’s elementary, and very analog,
but it feels good. As a kindergartener, I learned how to write with a big blue
pencil with no eraser—gotta love public schools huh? But getting a new notebook
and some fresh pencils sharpened to a ‘T’…yea, that definitely puts me in the
As a child, what did you want to be when
you grew up?
a child I wanted to fly planes. I didn’t want to go to the Air Force, but I
wanted to be a pilot. I remember taking a flight to South Carolina with my
family and just loving the feel of lifting off, and the turns in the air, it
was magic! However, by the time I was in jr. high, and was struggling in
geometry, I knew I would have to fly a different course.
Anything additional you want to share
with the readers?
believe that everyone should try something new at least once a month. Whether
it be some new food, or mountain-climbing, or reading a different author who
writes something out of your favorite genre, everyone should strive to try