Charles Slater is one of six children all born in the Great Depression, whose father repeated rather regularly, “No one goes hungry in this house.” His father’s faith as provider and his insistence that all his children accept responsibility for themselves gave Charles a sense of being in the right place with an expectation of survival.
The family moved to the little town of El Segundo, California when Charles was four and the father bought the abandoned Sand Dunes Tavern and converted it into the family home. As a child it was his adventure to live as none of his friends did and roam the dunes with a sense of freedom. He had an early passion for architecture and wanted to build things, and at age twelve designed and converted the old bandstand of the Sand Dunes Tavern into his unusual bedroom, and years later designed and built his own home.
Charles “Chuck” Slater taught high school theater and English for thirty-four years at Torrance High School in Torrance, California and frequently starred in college or little theater productions in such roles as Don Quixote in Man of La Mancha, Henry the second in Lion in Winter, Doctor Dysart in Equus, and Sakini in Tea House of the August Moon.
Retiring from teaching left a void that was filled by novel writing. He began with the life of his colorful parents in novel form, Truce. The title was more about their marriage than war, even though his father fought in the Canadian Army in WWI and was greatly influenced by the experience.
More than any other experience in his life, he wanted to be a good teacher, to emulate his own teachers who had such a strong affect on him. He felt privileged going to work those years believing deeply he had the best job possible.
His five children have given him many character models over the years.
On July 22, 1999, amid the pines of Lake Tahoe, Charles Slater became the husband of Susan Harlan. The unique ceremony included the reading to each other poems of love and commitment. Their mutuality began with the use of language which has continued through their marriage.
The most common thing in whatever house they occupy is his getting up from the computer and walking to wherever Sue is to ask her opinion of this or that phrase, or use of a particular word. Her responses, born of her poetic look at the world, disburse his doubts.
It is to her literate sensibilities, and patience with his interruptions that he attributes a kind of flow in his writing. Thank you dear wife, friend.