Cory Johnston is a writer, editor, and teacher from northern New Jersey. He holds an MFA from Fairleigh Dickinson University and has been involved with FDU’s international literary magazine, The Literary Review, since 2012, including serving five years as Books Editor. Outside of the literary world, you’re likely to find him seeking out rare and delicious sandwiches, following the summer Phish tour, or trying to befriend the local squirrel population.
Eckleburg: What captures your interest most in your work, now, as a reader of your work?
Cory Johnston: Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about tone and voice. Mood. I tend to write about death, dying, loss, and other heavy stuff, but I really don’t want my essays to feel like relentless misery. In the real world I’m not a very serious person, so staying true to the content and themes of my work – which are serious and deserve to be treated as such – while also allowing my sillier, more playful side to come through is something I am constantly thinking about (usually with some frustration).
Eckleburg: What are you working on now?
Cory Johnston: Currently, I am working on a manuscript that I suppose is a collection of essays. I’m hoping to explore the themes of death, grief, determinism, and the limits of our ability to process and understand our own nature. In terms of structure and style, the essays often use conceits of speculative fiction, too, from outer space monsters to multiverse theory to the eldritch Old Ones. Hopefully it all amounts to something interesting.
Eckleburg: Who and what are your artistic influences?
Cory Johnston: I tend towards the strange and unusual as much as I can. Anything with a sense of mystery or uncertainty – I love feeling uncertain and have a kind of inherent mistrust of art that is overly didactic. Make me confused, make me think, make me wonder. More than anything else though, my basic sense of art and the nature of self-expression is influenced by the twenty years I’ve spent as a die-hard Phish fan. As a band, they are just pure creativity and ambition. They are constantly inspiring.
Eckleburg thanks Cory Johnston. Do you have new work published here at Eckleburg or elsewhere? Add your Selfie Interview and share the news with our 10,000+ reading and writing community. If you have a new book out or upcoming, join our Eckleburg Book Club and let our readers know about it.
by Michael Helm
This is one of the most ingeniously devised and constructed speculative novels I have had the pleasure to read. If you look to literature for curiosity, awe, and wonder – that dizzy vertigo that comes from pushing up against the limits of our world – then look no further than this novel.
(Tin House Books)
Cory Johnston is a writer, editor, and teacher from northern New Jersey. He holds an MFA from Fairleigh Dickinson University and has been involved with FDU’s international literary magazine, The Literary Review, since 2012, including serving five years as Books Editor. Outside of the literary world, you’re likely to find him seeking out rare and delicious sandwiches, or following the summer Phish tour.
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How I hate those who are dedicated to producing conformity. —William S. Burroughs
The Doctor T. J. Eckleburg Review was founded in 2010 as an online and print literary and arts journal. We take our title from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and include the full archives of our predecessor Moon Milk Review. Our aesthetic is eclectic, literary mainstream to experimental. We appreciate fusion forms including magical realist, surrealist, meta- realist and realist works with an offbeat spin. We value character-focused storytelling and language and welcome both edge and mainstream with punch aesthetics. We like humor that explores the gritty realities of world and human experiences. Our issues include original content from both emerging and established writers, poets, artists and comedians such as authors, Rick Moody, Cris Mazza, Steve Almond, Stephen Dixon, poets, Moira Egan and David Wagoner and actor/comedian, Zach Galifianakis.
Currently, Eckleburg runs online, daily content of original fiction, poetry, nonfiction, translations, and more with featured artwork–visual and intermedia–from our Gallery. We run annual print issues, the Rue de Fleurus Salon & Reading Series (DC, Baltimore and New York), as well as, the annual Gertrude Stein Award in Fiction, first prize $1000 and print publication, guest-judged by award-winning authors such as Rick Moody and Cris Mazza.
We have collaborated with a number of talented and high profile literary, art and intermedia organizations in DC, Baltimore and New York including The Poetry Society of New York, KGB Bar, Brazenhead Books, New World Writing (formerly Mississippi Review Online), The Hopkins Review, Boulevard, Gargoyle Magazine, Entasis Press, Barrelhouse, Hobart, 826DC, DC Lit and Iowa’s Mission Creek Festival at AWP 2013, Boston, for a night of raw comedic lit and music. We like to promote smaller indie presses, galleries, musicians and filmmakers alongside globally recognized organizations, as well as, our local, national and international contributors.
Rarely will readers/viewers find a themed issue at Eckleburg, but rather a mix of eclectic works. It is Eckleburg’s intention to represent writers, artists, musicians, and comedians as a contemporary and noninvasive collective, each work evidence of its own artistry, not as a reflection of an editor’s vision of what an issue “should” be. Outside of kismet and special issues, Eckleburg will read and accept unsolicited submissions based upon individual merit, not theme cohesiveness. It is our intention to create an experience in which readers and viewers can think artistically, intellectually, socially, and independently. We welcome brave, honest voices. To submit, please read our guidelines.
Over the ashheaps the giant eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg kept their vigil, but I perceived, after a moment, that other eyes were regarding us with peculiar intensity from less than twenty feet away. – The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald