R. Johnson: His Story
“If a story doesn’t have a special purpose, it’s not worth telling.”
R. Johnson loves a good narrative. He has been immersed in creative writing penning essays, quotes, poems, haiku, and short stories since the discovery of his affection for words. As a writer, the goal is simple: to create a story that has a purpose; a world to put on display on an entertaining, compelling, relatable, and fascinating level. As a poet, R. Johnson explores the depths of the conscious, subconscious, and emotions with their connections to the world.
Ryan Welden Johnson, also known by his pen name, R. Johnson, was born late spring on June 5, 1979 in Washington DC at Georgetown Hospital. He grew up not too far from the U.S. capital in Calverton, Maryland where he had some of the best memories of his childhood. Some of those remembrances involved emulating his older brother, playing streetball on the courts, running for touchdowns on the grassy fields, racing down streets on fast bikes, or just gaming with friends on the weekends. He had met many kids in the neighborhoods around and still has remained close to some of them to this day.
“My childhood was fun, fast, and unforgettable.”
Art Is Love
“Art, comics, and animation had always fascinated me. As a child, I often daydreamed about doing something relating to comics or cartoons as a profession.”
Even though Ryan’s passion was drawing and painting, he did take the time to create unique names and background descriptions for his characters. However, besides having school assignments that required writing or brief storytelling while growing up, those were the only moments in which he had explored any type of creative writing. Art was his first and only love all the way to and mostly through college.
Ryan graduated from Maryland College of Art and Design in 1999 with an Associate of Fine Arts in Visual Communications. His education then continued at the University of Maryland where he graduated in 2006 with a Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art. Ironically, at UMD, two classes had initiated the curiosity of prose: Intro to Poetry and Technical Writing. These classes brought out a newly discovered appetite for the art of the written word. That was the moment when literature became his second love.
“I’d never thought about becoming a writer at any time in my life. Yet the funny thing is, now I’ve become one.”
After college, Ryan left his job of 11 years as a youth group leader and mentor for the Maryland-National Capital Parks and Planning Commission and became a graphic designer and sign installer for a sign company in 2007. During the beginning of the 6th year on the job, Ryan was laid off; surviving on unemployment and freelancing for extra money while looking for work. Given that he had some prior experience with martial arts, he later landed a job as a martial arts instructor two and a half years later.
“Being jobless was mentally difficult at times. That forced me to self-reflect, strategize, and strive to become the best version of myself.”
Now and Beyond
“Creative writing is a fascination and a voice that will always be a part of me just as strong as art.”
Ryan is working on self-publishing his first book entitled, Prose and Rhythms: Portraits of Dawn, Passion, and Renaissance. This volume of work is the first of a four part compilation series of short essays, poems, haiku, quotes, and short stories.
R. Johnson lives in Montgomery County, Maryland. When not occupied in martial arts teaching or figuring out the next fantasy adventure, he creates fine art and graphic design artwork, not to mention taking pleasure in video games, movies, reading, bowling, and anything else that life has to offer.
What inspired you to become a writer? Was there anything in particular?
It’s the act of creating imaginative works of art through the use of words. Not only am I interested in different forms of literature, the mechanics of creative sentence structure, and the power in which words have, but also, I’m intrigued in crafting a vivid narrative with polarizing characters.
How long have you been writing?
I first began writing back in 2000. At that time, I wrote random thoughts relating to specific emotions and short poems in a journal. However, back then I wasn’t consistent enough, therefore, if we’re talking about a consistent basis, my creative writing didn’t kick in until 2004.
Where do your ideas come from? What is the creative process behind your works?
My ideas come from anywhere and anything can be a catalyst to ignite the writing process. Furthermore, every now and then some ideas are ones from past times now ready to be shared in the present. As it relates to poetry, the creative process is primarily about what I’m feeling at that moment or it can also be an ongoing thought that I had explored in-depth once before. As for the stories, I tend to plan and utilize templates that help organize the plot. The writing begins with an exploration of a simple concept accompanied by challenging elements that would complement the narrative. The subject matter then cultivates into something more sophisticated, yet straightforward with specific literary devices in place to help complete the piece. I find that having a template works best when writing stories.
What are your favorite genres of literature and what forms do you use?
I prefer adventure, science fiction, thriller, fantasy, mythology, horror, humor, fable, tall tale, satire, tragedy, and creative nonfiction. I find those types enjoyable. The main forms of literature I use are novel, poetry, short story, haiku, flash fiction, and novelette or novella.
How would you describe your style of writing; does it fall under a specific genre?
In truth, I’m not sure what to call my style of writing. I could write a novel, a short story, and a poem in various ways. They can be descriptive or even dialogue driven; it depends on what type of piece I want to write and how I want to convey my ideas to the reader in the most effective way possible. When reading my own work, I tend to think my work as being edgy, expressive, and extravagant with depth. As far as genres go, I would say that my stories fall under a mixture between fantasy, science fiction, adventure, with elements of thriller.
What is the hardest part about writing?
Besides fighting writer’s block and the art of writing itself, it’s the act of coming up with a story that’s gratifying, thought-provoking, and that make sense all at the same time to capture the reader’s imagination and deliver a unique experience. If a story doesn’t have a special purpose, it’s not worth telling.
This site is exclusively owned and operated by R. Johnson. All creative works and publishing rights © R. Johnson. Characters, names, artwork, writings, poetry, stories, and all other forms of literature and related works are ™ and © R. Johnson, unless otherwise noted herein. All rights reserved.
Visit R. Johnson's artist site at: www.rjohnsonartist.com