Senior Highlight: Arrion Johnson

Interview by Ty Nagvajara

Arrion Johnson, a senior at Harriton, is one of the school’s most accomplished and gifted writers. Throughout his high school career, Johnson’s writing has been put on display various times, including during Black History Month when he shared a poem over the loudspeaker. With his poignant and socially conscientious poems and short stories, Johnson has created an undeniably distinct style that will leave its mark on the Harriton society for years to come. To celebrate his accomplishments, Zenith conducted one last interview with the young writer before he graduated.


WHERE DO YOU FIND THE INSPIRATION FOR YOUR WRITING PIECES?

Over time I have learned that expressing myself to convey ideas creatively is my purpose. I can now concur with the principle idea of existing within our now to both find and plan for the future. I have been fortunate enough to start applying this by helping to create an environment for those who feel limited or bound. This sudden realization is what produced a new notion of success or dismissing anyone else’s idea of what it was. It had been through simply experience, and human connection, and a lot of question with the circumstances in which we are put under.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE STYLE OF WRITING? WHY?

My favorite style of writing is poetry and short story/prose. I feel as though that being able to convey and spread a certain message and reveal a truth regarding identity and emotion in absurdist or other creative approaches gets the job done to tell a complex story which is what I’d like to think I am good at.

WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO IN YOUR FUTURE AND HOW DO YOU WANT TO INCORPORATE WRITING INTO THAT?

In the past, I often wondered, “How does one acquire success?”, perhaps through notions of compliance, affirmation, and encompassment. I didn’t know how to get in touch with something so complex at the time. Though eventually, I began to walk with a sense of pride and composure, something was missing – I noticed that many others were also experiencing a similar apprehension and unease with both themselves and their aspirations. If people were to see that life was not only about stressing about the future, then maybe that ambiguity wouldn’t dictate their present. I wish to express myself in a way that will allow those to connect and learn something new about the society they live in.

WHAT IS SOMETHING YOU’VE LEARNED FROM HARRITON?

Harriton High School has taught me that life is too short to be stressed 24/7 and to feel both happy and accomplished, you have to learn to both love and respect yourself.

WHAT WOULD YOU TELL SOMEONE INTERESTED IN WRITING OR ANOTHER PASSION?  

Follow your own path, your own style, and let no one deter you away from where you want to go or who you want to be. Also, you MUST be able to take constructive feedback/criticism; otherwise there’d be no means for improvement.

SELECTED WORK

Strong by Arrion Johnson


You’re fuming with resentment and a very-well-hidden melancholia.

Could it be because what you want the most is remote and stays in the abyss of an ardent darkness?

Could it be because the questions put in front of you have no sensible answer, and the reality of time itself is not relieving, instead blissfully impeding in its cynical grin – similar to the one of your father, and his cold-blooded father, and his detached-cold-blooded father?

Could it be because the forethought in continuing such an existence is almost mythical like the beasts your mother shooed away before you closed your eyes or the rain that could easily vanish if you banished it with the ambiences of your buoyancy?

Could it be because the bed you now slumber in is hollow?

Almost as hollow as every assumption made on this future you fear.

An assumption… hollow?

Yes, a conjecture without deep consideration and with deep dubiousness making all convictions of self, and that “promising” fate only ideal; fiction.

Eden’s deceased garden had you contentedly trapped in this numinous wanderlust. Veiled by an invisible and orphic apricity, everything was in a state of anomalous fulfillment.

You have loved him for the last time, and will kiss her for the first.

Life and Death.

Certitude and Hesitancy.

Touch and Regret.

Fondness and Execration.

Contrasting ideas that fall in this preposterous category: Iniquity, the immoral or grossly behavior of one’s being.

I know my child, I know. You’re fuming with resentment and a very-well-hidden melancholia, but hear this truth for you, just one of the many in this dying fraternity must see there is no more fear, no more sobs, no more emotion.

We are tough. We are virile. We are the heartbreakers, not the heartbroken.

Man up.

During such transitions, it takes nerve and a missing recognition for mercy. You must forget the sentiment of remorse as well as it’s consequent repentance. Be proud of who you will become but never who you are. Be proud of the vanity you will accomplish when your ivory complexion, cobalt eyes, edifice brawn is acknowledged. Modesty is for the weak.

From this moment on, look up.

From this sore and unendurable moment on, look up, and smile because there will be no more of these routinely hours. The only implements you’re allowed to take with you on this exotic journey is whiskey for the last resort and your broken heart as a thwarting reminder.

When you, in due course join me in Elysium, you, my child, will tell me everything.

And I will not only envy your success but your ability to no longer depress.