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Contributor Spotlight: Daniel Johnson

The Abernathy contributor spotlight series shines the spotlight on our brilliant authors. If you’d like to write for Abernathy, please submit your best work here.

Why is writing important to you?
For several reasons, writing is, for me a way to both heal myself and to attempt to heal or address longstanding issues that need to be brought out into the open. I’ve often called my poetry a lifeline, and consider it one of the things which has continued to save my life. Short story writing I have found allows me to incorporate some of the real world issues into a world which is felt, understood as being of my imagining, but still grounded very much in a real experiencing of this world. So it feels like verisimilitude at times. My essay writing is largely me looking at an issue and saying in my head, okay, this is a problem so how can I address this problem in a way that keeps the onus on those who are perpetuating said problem.

What keeps you busy when you’re not writing?
I’m usually listening to music, or hanging with family, or thinking of ideas for short stories I want to write.

What piece are you most proud of and why?
That has to be the Dear Pro Black Men, You Aren’t Pro-Black if You’re Not Pro Black Women piece, both because of the response from Black Women, and the response from a lot of Black men that proved the point of the piece. Making it to Huffington Post was to me just an inconsequential part of writing something that desperately needed to be said.

What book or books have most influenced your thinking or writing?
I wouldn’t really say entire books as much as I would speeches and interviews I’ve read from Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Sojourner Truth, Toni Morrison, Angela Davis, James Baldwin, Zora Neale Hurston, and even Ta-Nehisi Coates. I’m also a huge fan of Warsan Shire and Nayyriah Waheed. The way they phrase things is incredibly impactful in such short working space.

Who is your favorite writer or author? Where should people start if they want to read this person’s best work?
One of my absolute favorite writers is and will always be Zora Neale Hurston. We share a birthday, and I would advise anyone to read what is largely considered her magnum opus, Their Eyes Were Watching God which is probably available at any public library in America, but if not, you can buy the e-book or physical copy from Amazon.

Where can our audience find out more about you?
You can probably just follow me on Twitter or Facebook to get a sense of what I care about.

Anything else?
I’m working on my third collection of poetry, things I’ve written mostly as Facebook status updates over the past year, two years. I don’t have a title, or a publisher yet, so I might save it and try to get into Cave Canem.

More from Daniel on Abernathy:

The Abernathy contributor spotlight series shines the spotlight on our brilliant authors. If you’d like to write for Abernathy, please submit your best work here.

By Daniel Johnson

Daniel Johnson studies English at Sam Houston State University. In his spare time, he likes to visit museums and listen to music. He has self-published two collections of poetry and has written several short stories.