Finalist in the 2023 Nick Adams Short Story Contest
Read the story: Community Theater
More about CJ Johnson:
- Senior at Knox College
- Major: Creative Writing
- Minors: English Literature and Spanish
- Hometown: Little Suamico, Wisconsin
ACM: Do you have plans after graduation?
Johnson: I will attend the Denver Publishing Institute this summer to earn a certificate in publishing. From there I plan to work in the field of publishing, either as an editor or a literary agent.
ACM: What sparked your interest in writing, and how did you get started writing fiction?
Johnson: I’ve been reflecting on this question for the past few months, as it seems to keep coming up, in no small part due to Knox’s creative writing capstone course. And in all this reflection, I don’t think that I can honestly know why I first started writing, only that for many years, it seemed like the only thing that I could do. The only thing that I could do that felt worth doing, at least. I started with fiction, because it’s been home to me for many years, but I’ve recently started writing more poetry, and have found that my poetry often precedes my fiction writing in surprising ways.
ACM: How have you developed your writing while you’ve been at Knox?
Johnson: I’ve learned to prioritize not just the first draft, but every draft that follows. The subjects that I write about are often more reflective than active, and I’ve found that I can’t view a story as “finished” until it’s hit a subtle note of truth that I find hard to define outside of the story itself.