Recently, my husband and I went to the Decatur Book Festival. One of my favorite things to do at the DBF is head over to Java Monkey and check out some amazing poetry and spoken word. This year while I was there, I got to see a few poems from the talented, Talicha Johnson. I reached out to her, and she was kind enough to do this creativity interview for the blog.
So, here you go, everyone! An interview with Talicha Johnson.
What is your main form of creative expression?
Writing has always been the number one outlet for my creativity. I love creating songs and stories, but poetry has definitely been in the top spot ever since I was a little girl.
Do you work as an artist/creative full-time or do you have a different day job?
I have a day job right now, working at a logistics company, but I’m making the necessary moves to become a full-time poet next year. I remember thinking as a child, I want to be a poet when I grow up, and then learning somewhere in adolescence that poetry wasn’t really a feasible career goal. Imagine my surprise during college when I learned about how large the poetry community was! There’s not a ton of opportunities like you’d find in other professions, but I’ve been witness to the fact that if you’re dedicated, willing to hit the road, and have the desire to teach the craft as well, it can happen.
How long have you been creating music/books/plays/films/etc.?
I’ve been writing poetry since I was young, it all started when we read a poem in Kindergarten called “Being Five.” At that point I wrote mostly about small stuff like the cute stray kittens in my backyard, it then grew into something angsty in my pre-teen/teen years, and finally developed into something decent that made me think. maybe I can do this, when I reached college.
I’ve only been writing stories for a few years now. I used to participate in a writing prompt called Free Write Fridays on the blog of a lovely writer named Kellie Elmore. She’d post every Friday and a group of us would write our little hearts out and then share. It was a great community. But I found myself blocked one day on the prompt, uncertain of how to make it into a poem and I wound up writing my first short story. I was hooked after that and now consider myself an aspiring novelist!
How do you find time to be creative when you have a separate day job?
That’s a good question, it’s pretty hard to find the time when juggling work that has nothing to do with writing, that’s for sure. I try to go out to open mics to get inspiration and share as often as I can (which is definitely not as often as I’d like). I think the thing that keeps me inside my bubble of creativity is reading. I have a very small but growing collection of poetry that I read from whenever I have some time and that’s really the way I stay connected.
Do you engage in any additional creative hobbies? Are there any you’d like to try?
Sadly, my creativity kind of caps out with writing. I enjoy painting, playing the keyboard (by ear), I’ve knit one scarf before, I’ve made bracelets, the list goes on of the creative things I enjoy but unfortunately don’t have much talent in. But it’s all about the ride, not the destination, right?
I’d love to try my hand at pottery one day!
Who are some other artists and creatives that inspire you to create?
There’s a pretty long list! To shorten it I’ll just say that there’s a lot of poets in Charlotte and Atlanta from whom I’ve learned and drawn inspiration on a daily basis. I also want to point out that the youth poetry scene in our nation is bananas! The talents that have come from that environment are breathtaking. Check out Lydia Havens and Ninel Nekay to get a taste of how intimidating it is to be the aging poet I am at a time like this!
Why do you create?
Sometimes it’s intentional, because I have some strong emotion happening within and I need to let it out. To be cliche, it’s therapeutic in a sense. Other times it’s simply that a word, concept, or a line has popped into my brain and won’t leave until I sit down and try to flush it out. I’ll also admit that I create because I like the way sharing my work makes me feel when others let me know they can relate to what I’ve gone through, a validation you could say. I’ve learned that even when I think the poem is for me, it’s not. There’s someone in the room or holding my book that needed to hear what I had to say. I don’t know how to begin describing that feeling.
What advice do you have for other creatives?
To any and all creators, I say this: Keep learning. There’s always something within your craft that you can expand on. Strive to be well rounded within it. You don’t have to be the best at every aspect but going the extra mile to be as educated as you can within your art form just feels good and gives that extra boost of confidence!
What are you working on now?
Currently, I’m working on my second book of poetry. I’m converting a school bus into a tiny house so I can travel as a full-time artist next year. I can’t wait to travel! I’m developing workshop curriculums because I really enjoy teaching about poetry. Really, I’m just doing my best to live the kind of life that feels good.
Where can people find you and your work?
I’m on all the things (okay not all of them), you can find me here:
Poetry Instagram: www.instagram.com/
School Bus Conversion Instagram: www.instagram.com/
Thanks for letting me pick your brain, Talicha! I love your advice to other creatives. I think one of the most important things to do as an artist is to constantly be growing and learning.