Art Above: “My Hurricane Brain.” My first collaborative artwork with Danny J. Gibson (@DJGKCMOUSA). My doodles. His wizardry.
Chad Thomas Johnston is a slayer of word dragons, a guitar Charmer, a PhD dropout, a pop-culture junkie, a stay-at-home-dad/Chad, a house-husband, and a cat herder. He is also a regular contributor to Seattle-based IMAGE Journal‘s “Good Letters” blog at Patheos.com. Chad lives in Lawrence, Kansas with his wife, Rebekah Christine, their diaper-destroying daughter Baby Evie, and five felines.
Chad’s semi-illustrious writing career began in 1987 in his elementary school days. He wrote and bound books by hand with Christmas wrapping paper, and lent them to his peers as though he had his own private library. Titillating titles such as Blood Tales and Robocop (which, surprisingly, did not result in the filing of a plagiarism suit) were celebrated by his classmates, but somehow failed to crack the New York Times bestseller list.
During Chad’s senior year in high school, he submitted a number of music review samples to six magazines and wrote for three of them. His reviews were published in True Tunes Tunes, a now-defunct Wheaton, Illinois-based publication that celebrated the Christian music underground and boasted a circulation of over 25,000 rabid readers. He also wrote one review for another now-defunct magazine called Shout!, which clumsily covered a variety of incompatible genres, including country, rap, alternative rock, and electronic music. For five years, Chad also wrote a regular music column for Essential Connection magazine, which had over 120,000 readers. For more on his time in the “Chrindie,” or “Christian indie,” underground, read “(Not) Almost Famous: My Time in the Christian Music Underground.”
Chad’s first full-length book, The Stained-Glass Kaleidoscope: Essays at Play in the Churchyard of the Mind, is an essay-driven work of creative nonfiction that explores life through the lenses of theology, pop culture, and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. Cathy Preimsburger Warner, editor of IMAGE Journal‘s “Good Letters” blog, is currently editing it.
Chad is currently writing a work of Young Adult supernatural fiction with Virginia-based collaborator Amanda Lynch, author of Anabel Unraveled (which Chad titled for Amanda).
With the assistance of editor Jennifer Harris-Dault, artist Danny Joe Gibson, and eLectio Publishing, Chad is preparing for the 2013 release of a short, whimsical memoir titled Nightmarriage. The book explores the terrors of marriage and the perils of parenthood. Adapted from Johnston’s blog series of the same name, Nightmarriage proves that, when two people marry, their flaws tie the knot, too.
In essays such as “My Wife, the Black Hole,” “Putting the ‘Die’ in Diarrhea,” “Hearts and Jumper Cables,” “Knives and Wives,” and “Blessed Are the Tentmakers,” Johnston weaves stories on his literary loom that are equal parts luminous and lunatic. Writing as only a minister’s son who has Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder can, Johnston has crafted an observational ode to both the blunders and wonders of wedlock, and his writing is punctuated accordingly with absurd alliteration, appalling puns, and madcap metaphors. Pre-order Nightmarriage here.
In February 2012, Chad became a contributing writer for IMAGE Journal‘s Good Letters blog. Read his essays for the blog, which is hosted by Patheos.com, here.
In March of 2012, Chad contributed an essay to The Baylor Lariat, titled “Worshiping the Gilded Game at the 8-Bit Altar.”
In April of 2012, ex-Melody Maker music journalist and Nirvana biographer Everett True (The Legend!) opted to feature one of Chad’s blog writings on his music site, CollapseBoard.com.
In 2011, Chad illustrated the cover of Washington, D. C.-based author Dwain Smith’s most recent book, Bullheaded. In early 2012, he designed the cover of Pennsylvania-based author Shawn Smucker’s book, Building a Life Out of Words. He can be hired for a small fortune to draw other pretty pictures as well.
As a singer-songwriter, Chad enjoys playing stadium-sized arenas in his imagination. In 2011, he released a 35-song anthology of original music titled Source Materials and Sorcerer Materials. The collection is available as a free download from NoiseTrade.com.
Chad once spent months holed up in a basement with the ceiling hanging a mere six feet overhead, recording track after track for a Christmas album titled All is Calm, All is Bright. The resulting LP features syrupy layers of EBows, the codeine-infused, Mazzy Star-inspired “I’ll Be Droned for Christmas,” and a shoegazer version of “The First Noel,” among other inside-out versions of Christmas classics. After adding 7 more songs to the collection, including a song he submitted to Sufjan Stevens’s 2007 Christmas songwriting contest, which was hosted by Asthmatic Kitty Records, Chad released the 17-song collection, Stalking Stuffers: Coal for the Stocking in Your Soul, which is also available as a free download on NoiseTrade.com.
In 2011, Chad began working as a part-time publicist for Kansas City-based artist Danny Joe Gibson. Together, Chad and Danny publicized Danny’s September-November gallery show—Quietly Contributing: Poster Art of DJG Design—at the 1819 Central Event Space + Gallery in the Crossroads Arts District in Kansas City. In August, Danny and Chad were guests on Labulani Lefall’s Central Standard morning show on KCUR (Kansas City’s NPR affiliate), and the Pitch Weekly and New York City’s Felt and Wire ran features on the event.
In conjunction with the gallery event, Chad curated a 35-song double-album featuring musicians for whom Danny had designed album art or posters during his 1o-year career as a graphic designer. The Lawrence Journal-World and Ink magazine both ran features on the album. In January 2012, Chad began to assist Tulsa, OK-based author Jennifer Luitwieler with publicity.
In December 2011, Chad contributed a song (“Away in a Manger of Dreams”) and a piece of art (“The Answer is Tableau-ing in the Wind”) to Lawrence, KS-based, Sam Billen-curated holiday multimedia project alightgoeson.org, alongside Half-Handed Cloud, Japan’s The Tenniscoats, and Sam Billen of the Billions, among others.
Chad bills chadthomasjohnston.com as “The Playground for Your Mind” for good reason: It features multimedia content that includes “vlogs,” free MP3s, deliriously unhinged writings, and plenty of drawings that are born out of long meetings at work, during which Chad must doodle or die. Chad has also interviewed Mitch Easter (frontman for Let’s Active, co-producer of R. E. M.’s Murmur and Reckoning LPs), V2/Bella Union singer-songwriter Stephanie Dosen, and independent singer-songwriter/author Tara-Leigh Cobble.
Chad teaches a monthly film course at his church called Sanctuary of the Cinema. The course applies a Christian interpretive lens to a variety of critically acclaimed secular films—including David Lynch’s The Straight Story, Elia Kazan’s Face in the Crowd, and Jessica Yu’s In the Realms of the Unreal: The Mystery of Henry Darger, in an effort to develop a well-integrated view of Christian spirituality.
Chad received Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts degrees in Communication Studies from Missouri State University, where he also taught public speaking and a variety of intersession courses (including Intercultural Communication in China: The Films of Zhang Yimou, Asian Voices: Exploring Interpersonal Communication in Asian Films, and The Rhetoric of Evil: Exploring Nazi Germany Through Film) for several years. As an Adjunct Online Instructor for Drury University, he also taught Communication Ethics, Introduction to Intercultural Communication, and A Survey of Intercultural Communication through Film, which he proposed and developed for the university.
Chad is a stay-at-home-dad, and loves spending time with his little girl, Evie.
Contact Chad at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Follow Chad on Twitter at @Saint_Upid.