Clarence Smith Jr. Inspires Me

This post is my contribution to Shot@Life’s Blogust Blog Relay For Good.

Thirty of us are sharing stories of the power of comments on our blogs or people that comment and who inspire us. All of this is to help raise awareness for the work Shot@Life does and to raise a lot of money.

Every comment left on this post will initiate a $20 donation to help immunize a child in a developing country, so please get vocal.

I chose Clarence Smith Jr. because he is a dear friend that not enough people know about. He is the founder of BOLD Edition, a photographer with a great eye and a writer of considerable skill. He has written a novel that he shared a chapter at a time online and did a limited run web comic about his family life. To put it simply, he is mad talented.

He doesn’t comment often, but when he does I know I’ve created something worthy of his attention and that means a lot. Clarence doesn’t mince words and always cuts to the point.

Over breakfast earlier this year, I dubbed him a “mixtape journalist” because of the way he loves to tell stories across multiple forms of media. He seemed to enjoy it, even if he didn’t fully embrace it.

Clarence is a busy man and father, so he doesn’t create as often as I’d like. I’m constantly pushing him to do more. The world needs to consume his words and enjoy the world through his eyes. If you need an example look to this post about the tornados that hit Monson, MA last year.

Recently he bought a beautiful new motorcycle and has been putting miles under it this summer. He’ll share the occasional Instagram photo from his journeys, but I’m hoping for more because I have a feeling on those open roads his mind wanders with words bouncing around along with the gravel under the tires.

I’m inspired by him for multiple reasons. His inability to bite his tongue when he has something to say. His dedication to the importance of barbershops and the knowledge he gains when he sits in the chair. A never ending love of Kool-aid, comic books and video games. All of these make him the unique friend that he is.

I’ll never forget the first time we met.

A mutual friend had said we should meet each other and so we got together for dinner. I’ll always remember him grinning like a naughy five year old as he told me, “watch me mess with our waiter.” He proceeded to order a veggie burger with bacon I knew I liked this guy. We’ve been tight ever since.

We don’t live that far apart, but with us both having busy family lives and other commitments we don’t see each other as often as I wished.

One of the few photos of us together that I know about is this one that Steve Garfield captured. It always makes me smile.


I firmly believe that Clarence has a bright future ahead of him.

He has the chops to be a storyteller on a whole new level and I hope someone gives him the chance to do that. When he hits the street with his Leica and Field Notes I know he is going to come back with something unique and completely him. He writes in a way that I can’t and while that irks me somedays, it more often pushes me to write better.

He is going to read this, shake his head and give me a hard time about it. But, it is from the heart and I mean every word of it.

My world is a better place because Clarence Smith Jr. is in it. I’m inspired and pushed and always love our conversations. I can only imagine what sort of comment he is going to leave here.

Keep pushing buddy and don’t ever give up!


Because this is a relay, I now have the pleasure of handing it over to Liz Gumbinner from Mom-101. She is an absolute peach and always has something great to say so definitely check her out tomorrow (and beyond).

Please don’t forget to comment, so that children around the world can benefit from the great work Shot@Life does.

Say hello, tell me someone that inspires you or make up a funny poem. Whatever you comment, it helps!

Thank you.

Learning about Shot@Life

About Shot@Life: Shot@Life educates, connects and empowers Americans to champion vaccines as one of the most cost-effective ways to save the lives of children in developing countries. A national call to action for this global cause, the campaign rallies the American public, members of Congress, and civil society partners around the fact that together, we can save a child’s life every 20 seconds by expanding access to vaccines. By encouraging Americans to learn about, advocate for, and donate vaccines, the United Nations Foundation’s Shot@Life campaign will decrease vaccine-preventable childhood deaths and give children a shot at a healthy life. Find out more on their site, Facebook or Twitter.


  • Stephanie

    Thank you for sharing about Clarence. Sounds like a cool man!

  • Vanalee Carruth

    Thanks for your post and what you are doing to help children. I need to look to my friends for inspiration.

    • C.C. Chapman

      You are welcome. Thank you for helping by commenting.

  • reneeakacutiebootycakes

    This is a great tribute to your friend. I’m glad to be joining you in this quest for 10,000 comments!

  • FadraN

    I love the topic of inspiration and I love the chance to let people know how much they impact our lives, even if they don’t feel comfortable hearing it.

    • C.C. Chapman


  • Joe Chernov

    “… I dubbed him a “mixtape journalist” because of the way he loves to tell stories across multiple forms of media.” Love that. Love the post. Love so much of what you stand for, CC. Great stuff, thanks for sharing.

    • C.C. Chapman

      Thank you Joe. It just sort of came out and I still think it fits him more than anything else I can come up with.

      I also appreciate you saying that about my work. Coming from someone like you it means the world to me.

  • Gina L. Carroll

    CC- Clarence sounds like someone I’d like to know. Thanks for sharing him with us!

  • Steven Breems

    Keep up the great work C.C. and Clarence. Good Ted Talk.

  • Julia

    This is such a great story. Let’s give kids a shot at hearing funny things like this!

  • Justin Gronfur

    Thank you for being an advocate of such a great cause as Shot@Life and thank you for your blog.

  • Carmen

    Glad to make a difference with Shot at Life!

  • Brandy Robertson

    This is my second comment because I just love this idea so much!
    I just came back from a weekend in Ottawa Canada with an organisation that is near and dear to my heart – World University Service of Canada (WUSC) that works to bring students from refugee camps in Africa and Asia to study in Canadian universities and colleges. I told everyone about Blogust in a brainstorming session and what a great fundraising initiative it is. What I wouldn’t give to find a generous donor to contribute to WUSC’s Student Refugee Program (SRP) in the same way! I am currently fundraising in my own small way for the SRP by challenging myself to run a half marathon in December and blogging about it here:
    Communities, be it online or otherwise, coming together for a cause is just so incredibly inspiring to me!
    Thank you, CC, for taking part!

  • Pratibha C

    Many people drift in and out of our lives and few leave a mark where its needed the most. In its purest form, this relationship that supports, encourages, inspires and touches one another in simple yet magical ways, is one that each one of us must recognises in our lives. It only serves to make us better human beings. All the very best to you….xx

  • WaterRat

    I love the simplicity of the story and the message. We all need to appreciate each other like this.

  • Debbie Shoultz

    Sounds like a very creative man!

  • Tina Taylor Sturgill

    I’ve always enjoy reading things from CC Chapman. I find that he is very intelligent and very humorous. When I read this article and laughed at the bacon comment. (yeah I’d totally do something like that except it would be bologna) I think this is very awesome to have friends and have such a big creative heart. So here is my comment.. Thank you!

    • C.C. Chapman

      Thanks for chiming in.

      You put bologna on a burger? Now THAT is different!

  • Elise

    How badly we need those special friendships, even when the day-to-day keeps us from getting together as much as we would like. Thanks for taking the time to celebrate and share with us.

    • C.C. Chapman

      You are welcome

      Thank YOU for commenting and helping save kids lives around the world.

  • Diana

    This is a fantastic initiative, raising awareness, raising funds and making it easy for us mouse-potatoes to get involved and help out.
    It should also encourage us to think – and discuss – the necessary education campaigns that should accompany such immunisation drives. There is still a lot of ignorance to be overcome, even in developed countries such as the USA, and unfortunately, we are now also dealing with the backlash of the covert operations in Pakistan that took place under the guise of vaccination campaigns.
    Lots of work to do, but, as the famous proverb says, “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”
    Thank you for participating!

  • Snoobob

    He sounds like a very cool guy.

    • C.C. Chapman

      He is. You should swing by his site and say hello.

      Thanks for commenting here!

  • Ashley Taylor

    Great post. I loved it.

  • Eva Fannon

    Thanks for sharing Clarence’s BlogTalk – LOVE it! In my line of work, I know many examples of barbershops as an avenue to share health information with community members.

    • C.C. Chapman

      I’ve heard about those initiatives. VERY smart!

  • homemaidsimple

    Great post! I love that shot@life is working to make kids healthier!

  • Fawn Rechkemmer

    Thanks for participating in Blogust! Kudos to you for recognizing the value of incredible friends.

    • C.C. Chapman

      Thank YOU for helping raise money for this great cause!

  • Todd Solomon

    Thanks for pointing me to a voice I hadn’t heard. I hope Mr. Smith won’t mind if I borrow his bacon-veggie burger move.

    • C.C. Chapman

      I have a feeling it is going to become a national phenomenon :)

  • Justin

    The video about barbershop knowledge is great!

  • Carolyn Ward

    Commenting to save a little life. And thinking now about those in my life that inspire me…

  • adrian

    I’m hoping that additional comments count towards the total. I’m making a second pass through the calendar to catch a few days I missed the first time around.

  • Erin Mecklenburg

    This is such a great project!

  • Jillian Hess

    Shot@Life is a great initiative, so thank you for contributing to the Blogust activity and thanks for sharing the veggie burger with bacon story too!

    • C.C. Chapman

      I’m always happy to help a good cause do amazing things!

      Thank you for doing your part and leaving a comment!!!