Myke Johns is a truly impressive and overall swell fellow. He’s one third of the brains behind Write Club Atlanta (the organization’s self-appointed Consigliere), a voice on WABE, and a new dad. That is a lot of things. To pile on one more thing, he’ll be reading at the next Vouched Presents here in Atlanta on Thursday, February 7th. We decided to talk about some things before the reading and this interview was the result. *SPOILER* Myke Johns may actually be a hologram.
Myke & friend
So Myke. Why Y? Why not Mike?
I credit my parents with good taste if not originality when they named me Michael. It’s a good name, a strong name, which is why it was one of the most popular name for boys for several hundred thousand years running. Everyone is named Michael. Even you, though you’ve probably already changed your name to something else by now to avoid confusion.
So when I was an idiotic high schooler, I adopted the Y to be more of an Individual and Special and Crap Like That. “Myke” just looks better on the page than it does spelled with an i and now I feel embarrassed and self-conscious about every decision I’ve ever made.
At least you’re not one of those people who tries to give himself a nickname. You remember those people? They were most abundant in High School and College. Self-appointed nicknames never stick.
It depends on how you go about it. You can’t go around telling everyone you know to start calling you “Spuds” or “Krokus” or whatever (quick aside: I just pulled up Krokus’ “Screaming in the Night” video on YouTube just now. I recommend everyone to do the same, as long as we’re talking about high school. Man, what the hell is even going on in that video?). But I had a friend in college–one of the first people I met there, before you start getting to know your classmates or doing extracurricular stuff; when you’re just adrift and trying to find your people so you just see people who look interesting and you go up and talk to them. Like what crazy people do. He was this slight, quiet goth dude. I introduced myself and he told me to call him Jorge. It took me the better part of a year to figure out that wasn’t his real name at all.
So basically, if you want to give yourself a nickname, you have to move to a different town and assume a new identity. Live in secret. Tell no one of your past. Listen to lots of Bauhaus. This is all good advice, I think.
Recently I got into a really confusing conversation. It went like this:
Me: I’m not sure I would be a good spy.
Friend: You would be a great spy. Are you a spy?
Me: You would be a great spy. Are you a spy?
Friend: NoooOOoo. I’d be a terrible spy. If I were a spy and someone asked me if I were a spy I would be all like, “NoooOOoo. I’d be a terrible spy.”
Me: Wait…so are you spy?
Friend: Wait…are you?
So, Myke. Are you a spy?
Writers kind of are in general, aren’t they? Always paying attention to our friend’s stories and watching new acquaintances for quirks–mining every interaction for material. It’s kind of despicable, really. What was the last thing you stole from someone’s real life to inhabit a story of yours?
My friend saw John Goodman eating a donut. You?
Oh man, that is good. My friend has a celebrity food story that I tell a lot: she was at Hartsfield, waiting in the terminal, in line for frozen yogurt. She gets to the counter and the woman working there has that combination of bored and pissed off that working in food service will put you in. As she’s ringing her up, she sighs and grumbles “that Rod Stewart’s singin’ again.”
My friend perks her ears up and yeah, there’s music wafting from the bar next door. She peeks around the wall and sure enough, Rod Stewart is sitting there at the piano with the same hair do he’s had since 1972, singing to a group of people gathered there. “Huh!” my friend thinks, takes her frozen yogurt, and takes a seat.
A while later, she’s walking back to her gate with her cone and here comes Rod Stewart, walking straight at her, not watching where he’s going and just clocks into her, spinning her around and nearly making her drop her froyo. She watches him walk away and as he does he glances back over his shoulder with this look like “why weren’t you watching where I was going?”
My friend was stunned. She says she regrets to this day that she missed her one opportunity to shout at Rod Stewart to go fuck himself.
Why so smug, Rod?
So many things to ask Rod Stewart! Like: why did he have to leave Faces? Why such tight pants for so many years?
If you could ask Rod Stewart one thing, what would it be? Would it be, “Have I told you lately that I love you, Rod?”
I would excitedly ask him what it was like working with Brian Adams on that song from the Three Musketeers soundtrack. Then I would ask him why he nearly made my friend drop her frozen yogurt at the Atlanta airport. Then I would ask what Sting was like. Understand that I would leave very little time for him to actually respond.
Well, naturally. Celebrities are real weirdos. If you became a celebrity, how would you go about being weird?
Oh man, if I had the money and resources to just follow my natural impulses and bring them to fruition, I think that would take care of it. WRITE CLUB bouts between senators and reality television stars? Done. That solo album of acoustic Anaal Nathrakh covers? Released on iTunes. That magazine where it’s basically just me insulting guitarists? Published and on the racks of every grocery store coast to coast. I’d basically just tumble down the rabbit hole of self-indulgence and see where it leads. Probably to collaborations with holograms.
All roads lead to collaborations with holograms. Of the readers you will be reading with on February 7th at the Goatfarm- who do you think is most likely a hologram: Jamie Allen, Rachael Maddux, or Jared Yates-Sexton? Why?
I’d go with Jamie Allen due to his involvement in the Inman Park Squirrel Census–one of the most genuinely bizarre things I’ve encountered in Atlanta. I’m kind of envious that it’s already been done or I would totally have done that when I went hypothetically celebrity cray cray. Anyway, I figure being a hologram would be helpful in doing that work. If it’s not Jamie, it really could be anyone, though you know the saying: if you look to your left and to your right and can’t figure out who is actually a hologram, it’s probably you.