Philosopher Marcus Johnson

Marcus Johnson has a passion for bridging the gap between lost historical narratives and the powerful, modern resurgence of Black pride and cultural revolution in America. As a poet, historian, essayist, and author, Marcus excels at expressing deeply-rooted philosophies in such a way that any reader can grasp and appreciate them. Check him out on Instagram as well through his website: Nickel Bag Books.

Nickel Bag Books | Instagram

  1. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? I was a writer before I knew that I wanted to be. I started keeping a diary in the 4th or 5th grade. It was filled with poetry and experiences that I felt were worthy of being recorded.
  1. What do you love most about writing? Your written words can reach a larger audience and facilitate a larger exchange of ideas.
  1. What genre(s) do you write and what drew you to that? I’ve written fiction and poetry, but my primary genre is now non-fic. I appreciate fiction’s ability to offer ideas in a non-offensive way. I love the art of poetry- the structure, the rhythm. Non-fiction prose is my primary genre because I love a well-written argument, and it is less likely to be misunderstood.
  1. How long does it take you to complete a book or writing project? It’s difficult to say. I’m an essayist and constantly write essays. If something happens that calls for discourse on a topic, I’ll pull together essays that have been written throughout the years, arrange and tailor them, and create a book within a few weeks.
  1. What is your work schedule like when you’re writing? Can you describe a typical writing day? Most of my process consists of making sure that I’m not saying what has already been said in the same way that I’m saying it. I spend most of my time researching. I use academic databases, save relevant articles, and read. My computer’s desktop is covered with folders filled with drafts and sources for different ideas. If I’m actively working on a project, I keep index cards, notebooks, Oxford Ruled 3×5 notecards, and Uniball VISION Elite Rollerball pens on hand.
  1. What would you say is your interesting writing quirk? I have to have Oxford Ruled 3×5 notecards. Lol…
  1. Do you have any suggestions to help others become better writers? If so, what are they? I believe that the best writers read and write a lot. Read writers who write how you want to write; dissect their work. Throughout Art History, the “greats” have imitated the “greats.” Look at how many “great” artists created their own Venuses. 
  1. What advice would you give a new writer, someone just starting out?  Just do it. The hardest part is starting. Also, your first draft is never your final draft.  Write it. Put it up. Then, revisit it. Read it aloud.
  1. How do you handle writer’s block? I have several tools for overcoming writer’s block. The least healthy is my Dunkin Donuts iced coffee and Crown Royal Vanilla cocktail. The most healthy is bouncing ideas around on social media without people knowing why I’m talking about it. I also use my mother, younger brother, and a tight circle of friends to talk through ideas.
  1. What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing? I believe that the most important element of writing is organization. You can use any vernacular if it’s organized.
  1. What is the most difficult part about writing for you? How do you overcome it?  The most difficult part of writing for me is starting a project. I believe that you should have your purpose, first. Then, you should have your exploratory phase. Then, you write. I tend to overthink during the purpose-finding phase.
  1. Do you watch anime, documentaries, sitcoms, and/or reality TV? If so, what’s your favorite right now and why? If not, tell us what you’re into! Do you like TV? Since I’ve been locked in the house because of COVID-19, I’ve been watching some of everything on TV.  I always start and finish my days with the news.  Currently, my favorite shows are “The Last OG” and “Ozark.”

Fun, quick facts:

  1. Tea or coffee?  I love both, but I rarely go a day without at least two cups of Dunkin Donuts coffee.
  1. Cake or pie? Sweet Potato Pie, all day.
  1. Morning person or Night owl? Morning Person
  1. City or country? Country
  1. Social media or meetups? Both, but I love the asynchronous aspect of social media.
  1. Paperback or ebook? Paperback. Reading is a sensual experience for me. I like to feel the book.
  1. Spring, Summer, Autumn, or Winter? Autumn and Winter, they’re both what I call “Big Man Friendly.”
  1. Disney, Marvel, Star Wars, or Pixar? Disney, even though it makes me angry. Lol
  1. Board, card, tabletop, mobile, or console games? I do it all. I play Chess, Dominoes, Spades, and Poker on my phone. However, I love bonding over Tonk with the guys.
  1. Type or handwrite? I type my non-fic. I always handwrite poetry.

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