PBSC professors inspire alumnus to publish first book
When Palm Beach State College alumnus and employee John Charmant came to the United States in 2009 from Haiti, he couldn’t speak English and struggled adapting to the culture.
Today, thanks to the support and encouragement of some of his high school and PBSC professors, he is the proud author of “Luxers’ Multiverse: The Grand Design,” an English book published earlier this year.
The book is set in the year 2090, where the traditional borders between countries have dissolved, leaving only a handful of large, competitive regions. Solar energy dominates, capitalizing on the increased radiation that penetrates the atmosphere due to global warming. Flying cars fill the skies and houses are carved from solid gemstones. It is into this strange and distant future that the book’s main character Adnex Courageux is born.
“It never crossed my mind that one day I would become an author,” said Charmant, who learned to speak and write English in high school ESOL classes.
“As a Haitian student, I often struggled with writing, but I was fortunate to have a very considerate teacher in my high school, Tenika Bloomfield, who taught me the right way, encouraged me, and nudged me along when I needed a push. One time, she even said to me: ‘I see a writer and philosopher in you,’” Charmant said.
After graduation, he then enrolled at PBSC but did not yet envision becoming a writer.
“I wanted to just obtain my associates degree and then move on to learn something at FAU,” said Charmant, who received his Associate in Arts degree at PBSC in 2014. “I wasn’t sure what to do although I had a passion for writing.”
One of Charmant’s English professors, Laura Dejong, took notice of his writing skills after a class assignment one day. She gave him a free thinking assignment where he chose to write a fiction and horror story on Mozart’s Requiem.
“When she read it, she talked to me after class and told me that she saw a great writer in me,” Charmant said. “However, I was still resisting my call to be a writer. I couldn’t see myself as a writer due to my fear of being judged.”
After three years at PBSC, Charmant’s math professors, including Reginald Butler and Jermaine Gordon, started making an impression on him concerning the relevance of mathematics. However, it wasn’t until he started attending several forum meetings at the Math Club that his quest for a more in-depth understanding of mathematics began. He became a leader and officer in the Math Club, which is when he met Math Club advisor and professor Alex Opritsa who pushed him to unfold his true potential not only as a leader but also as a writer.
“He motivated and encouraged me to design and conduct a number of different interactive presentations in the Math Club about the philosophy of mathematics,” Charmant said. “I then began to pull more toward exploring human life through the lens of mathematics and philosophy. Professor Opritsa would tell me how mathematics was not just about numbers and cool symbols but also related to deeper introspection and self-discovery. I kept that glued to my mind and started writing about the concept. This was for me the dawn of writing. I began to write a lot of dissertations on mathematics and philosophy.”
Inspired by his presentations and seminars in the Math Club, he began to use mathematics and physics to write fiction stories. However, he would keep all those stories to himself.
“Even after writing three hundred pages of the story that would later become my book, I would still hide it in my closet without ever showing it to anyone. I was overcome by fear and I let it consume me without opening up to anyone.”
However, in 2016, Opritsa told Charmant something that pushed him to retrieve his writing and submit it to Dorrance publishing for consideration.
“Opritsa told me that sometimes one waits until later to do things in life, but later just becomes later. He said that if you feel like you really want to do something or have a plan, do it now and plan it now. This really touched my heart, and I decided to submit an early draft of my book.”
After Charmant submitted his script, he got a message from the publisher who said they wanted to publish his story as soon as they could. According to Charmant, they sent him a letter of congratulations and lauded his novel as being a beautiful piece of fiction.
“Without PBSC, I would have never met the people who helped me conquer my fears and finally take the path of writing,” Charmant said. “I want to be a voice for not only the Haitians who are attending PBSC but also to all students who are afraid of exploring their potential. It is not easy but as long as you have the right people around you to encourage you, the walls that fear puts in front of you will be pulverized.”
Charmant is currently an FAU student pursuing a bachelor’s degree in mathematics. He has been a part-time math tutor at PBSC for the past three years and writes a blog of poetry each week. He has written three books besides Luxers’ Multiverse and also speaks Italian and French. Next month, he will give a presentation titled “The Maths of Luxers’ Multiverse” during PBSC’s Math Awareness Week. The event will be held from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. in CE 119 on the Lake Worth campus.