Contributor Spotlight: Bruce Johnson

“The Brightmore Problem,” a short story by Bruce Johnson, appeared in Issue 17 and can be read here.

We’d love to hear a little more about this story.

I believe this piece was born from the disconnection I sometimes feel from the Midwest, where I grew up. Even when I still lived in the U.S., when I visited the Midwest or talked to my friends who still lived there I found it intriguing how the lives we were leading were so different. In this story, that manifested itself as people being subject to different paces of time, depending on where they lived. At least that’s what I think now, looking back; it certainly wasn’t something I was conscious of while writing it.

What was the most difficult part of writing this story?

Honestly, this story was a lot easier to write than most. From what I remember, I started with a vague notion of the premise and little else, and it all flowed out pretty naturally from there. That’s quite out of the ordinary for me; I wish it was always so easy.

Recommend a book for us which was published within the last decade.

Pee on Water by Rachel Glaser. It’s very funny, very smart, and unlike any other short story collection I’ve read.

If you could have a drink with any living author, who would it be?

Don DeLillo. I’ve heard stories of him at literary events holding a sign that says, “No questions.” I’d love to annoy him with some of mine.

What are you working on now? What’s next?

My energy right now is divided between several different projects: a novel set in Chile, a long essay of literary criticism for my PhD dissertation, a collection of short stories, and a chapbook of flash fiction (forthcoming in a bilingual English/Spanish edition from Cactus Pink here in Quito, Ecuador).

Our thanks to Bruce for taking the time to answer a few questions and share his work. Read Bruce’s story, “The Brightmore Problem,” here:


Bruce Johnson is a PhD candidate in the University of Southern California Creative Writing & Literature program, and holds an MFA in Fiction from University of Nevada-Las Vegas. His work has appeared in Joyland, Cutthroat, The Adroit Journal, The Los Angeles Review, and The Able Muse, among other journals. He lives with his wife and two cats in Quito, Ecuador, where he is working on his dissertation.

Bruce Johnson was a runner-up in the 2017 New Writer Awards (fiction).