The Independent Author

Lessons from a Sh*t Talker

March 19, 2021 Tom Kranz Season 2 Episode 5
The Independent Author
Lessons from a Sh*t Talker
Chapters
The Independent Author
Lessons from a Sh*t Talker
Mar 19, 2021 Season 2 Episode 5
Tom Kranz

Marklyn Johnson, stage host, comedian, podcaster and author may not have invented the phrase tell it like it is, but he certainly lives by it. His new book, Lessons from a Shit Talker, tells his story of a life journey fraught with other peoples' ideas of what he should have done with himself. His lessons are surprisingly relevant to the rest of us and told in a funny, memorable way. 

Show Notes Transcript

Marklyn Johnson, stage host, comedian, podcaster and author may not have invented the phrase tell it like it is, but he certainly lives by it. His new book, Lessons from a Shit Talker, tells his story of a life journey fraught with other peoples' ideas of what he should have done with himself. His lessons are surprisingly relevant to the rest of us and told in a funny, memorable way. 

Tom Kranz:

Hello, everybody, and welcome back to the independent author podcast. I'm Tom Kranz. And I appreciate you tuning in and downloading my podcast episodes. Today I have the absolute pleasure of having as my guest, a gentleman who has had me as a guest on his show, and who is a celebrity in around of this part of New Jersey, Union County, New Jersey. He is a he's an MC, he's a host, he is a comedian. And he does several which we're going to get into podcasts and also Facebook programs. And mostly he he's he kind of is not afraid to say what's on his mind about anything and everything. And consequently, that in a way that you're going to find out in a minute makes some pretty approachable. His name is Marklyn Johnson. His stage name is Mr. Direct, because that pretty much sums it up. And he just wrote a new book that's called Lessons from a Shir Talker. And when you go on Amazon, you'll see that the, the word shit is actually s-h-asterisk-t. And that's I guess how we get past the we can put it up on Amazon and what not. Hey, how you doing Marklyn?

Marklyn Johnson:

I'm good, man, thank you so much for having me on your show. I really appreciate it.

Tom Kranz:

Oh, hey, you had me on when I had my first novel Budland back when I was on the Fanwood Council. And that was hugely helpful. And it was a great, it was great fun. Marklin has in his basement, a complete television studio, there's multiple cameras, he's got a green screen. He's got I mean, he was not only the host, he was the technical director and the lighting guy, was pretty awesome. You're still doing that?

Marklyn Johnson:

I still do it from time to time. I, it's less people involved in it was before it right? It's work. It's you know, no matter what it's work, and, you know, I enjoy doing it, you know, and I'm always looking for ways to stretch my imagination and improve it. You know, this is what I was born to do.

Tom Kranz:

Gotcha. So I, when I saw the title of your book, Lessons from a Shit Talker, two questions immediately came to mind. Question number one is, what could these lessons be? Because, you know, I've met you a few times, and I was on your show, but I don't know you all that well. And then the second question I had was, what does this have to do with me as a reader of the book? And I do have lessons I do have answers to both of those questions. So what is let's start with why. Why you wrote this book, that is something that you thought about doing for a long time? Was there something that kind of pushed you over the edge and just said, I gotta write this, what had that happened?

Marklyn Johnson:

Well, as you said, to your audience, I do stand up and as a stand up, you have to write a lot. And I'm a lazy writer. I'll admit that right off the bat. I'm a lazy writer, but I write. And I was reading a book in a, I was reading a book about, if you want to get your name out there, like little things you can do. And this one article came out was like, anyone can write a book, if they put their mind to it. It's about you just dedicating the time. I had five hours on a plane I was flying from here, to I was literally flying from here to California for a project I was working on. And I just sat down, and I just fired off the book. Literally, that's how it happened.

Tom Kranz:

So you wrote this in one sitting?

Marklyn Johnson:

I literally, everything you saw was done in one sitting.

Tom Kranz:

Wow. Awesome.

Marklyn Johnson:

And it was a, I just literally said, Well, you know, like, when you read when you when I thought about writing the book, I said, there's things that I'm doing that a lot of people don't. And a friend of mine, there's part I think I might have mentioned it in a book I forget. Right? One of my friends said, like, I don't understand how you keep going, like you just keep going like, don't stop. And he admired that about me. And I'm like, Wow, well, maybe there's other things, I can show people that they can get out of it. Because every book is Tony Robbins, and all these other guys who have been out in a world successful, but it's like they're making $8 million a year successful. What about the everyday guy who's literally still busting his behind to make a name for himself to follow his dreams? Why hasn't anyone written a book from that perspective? Because, you know, winning is not always the $8 million. Sometimes winning is finding happiness in the things that you're doing, because that's what you want to do.

Tom Kranz:

Wow, great words. So and then that leads me to the second question that I asked myself, which is, what does this have to do with me as a reader? And as I'm reading the book, and you're holding, essentially holding a mirror up to yourself? I saw that you ask a lot of the same questions. All of us either are asking ourselves, or should be, you know, one of the most important of which is, and you come back to this a lot. Don't let other people define you, you know, and that's something that so many of us fall into. You have stories about when you were in your favorite state, Minnesota. Yeah, there's a whole lot about that. And I was actually really amused by your very brief stay at the Culinary Institute of America because I've, you know, I'm, I consider myself kind of a closet chef, I guess. And I said, Wow, that, that little that incident with the with the chef making your cut that potato in a certain way, I was like, you know, that's one of those little Zen lessons. You know, if you can do that, then you can do all this other stuff.

Marklyn Johnson:

Yes.

Tom Kranz:

But but the, the lessons that I took, or you know, a lot of them aren't new, but they're lessons that none of us, none of us, many of us don't live by, which is, you know, not only letting other people define you, but going after your dream, not being afraid to ask for what you want. And then when you when you do ask for it, you better be ready to work for it. And that seems like that's been kind of a mantra for you going along?

Marklyn Johnson:

Yes ,it is. It's 100%. And I want to go backwards. What's funny about when you say the thing about Minnesota, when I first put that book out, I had worked at a few companies when I was out there, and one of the girls that I had an incident with, she was like, Are you talking about me and her and I had hashed it out. We apologize to each other and everything was cool. And you notice in a book, I didn't mention any names I just mentioned, I just mentioned. Yeah. And I was and I said to her, I said no. But I'm always reflective of when you describe situations, how people kind of see themselves, you know what I mean? Yeah, and they recognized it. And I told her, I said, you know, it wasn't you, you don't have to think it was you because it wasn't. And then she goes cuz I know what a bitch I was at he time. You know what I mean? nd it was like, one break that ou were reflective. And you saw t from my perspective, finally, ecause we apologize and verything, but she finally saw t from my perspective. And I hought to the fact that she ead it enough that it touched er to even make that comment. I hink when I wrote it, I said, 'm going to touch people, even hose that think I can't touch hem. I'm going to touch a part f them. You know what I mean?

Tom Kranz:

Yeah, good for you. That's cool. Um, so you devoted the first couple pages, I guess you pretty much devoted the whole book to your late parents.

Marklyn Johnson:

Yeah.

Tom Kranz:

I believe me, I don't go around quoting Dr. Phil, I swear to God, but he has said on more than one occasion that our parents are our single most important influences. Pretty much 90% of the across the board for most people, it seems to me like your parents, not only influenced you when you were young, but especially your dad influences you even today. Do you think that's fair?

Marklyn Johnson:

You know, as an African American, nothing is more important than having a father in your life. And a lot of things in our community is based off of us not having fathers in our lives. I had a very strong, intelligent, you know, him and I battle butted heads like you wouldn't believe. But I realized everything that I've accomplished in his life is because of what he put into me. And, you know, even when I get down on myself, I say to myself, Willie Johnson wouldn't want me to give up on myself. You know what I mean? Which is, it's weird to say it that way. But it just it makes sense when I say it that way. Because that's what it was. And most of the people that knew my dad, they're like, wow, you know, I didn't even realize what a big influence he was on your life. And it was, you know, like, even even the videos stuff that I do, like the things I do with the video, I recall when I was younger, going to the video store, and buying a camera with him. You know, like, I tell a funny story. You know, before people knew what to do on cameras, and we just had the big, you know, the big old VHS recorders. So, my dad is sitting there shaking my uncle's hands and not saying anything. Just standing there shaking me recording up, like, I'm like, Dad, you're supposed to do something. He's like, Nah, we're just gonna shake hands because that's what we do. We shake hands on.

Tom Kranz:

So you touch on a number of times, the fact that being black has led people to either marginalize you or basically, essentially prejudge what you're able to do and what you're able to comprehend that I'm sure that's, I'm certainly not I'm not a black man, but I can, I've heard it many times in my life. And I'm sure it's true. You say in your book, and I'm just reading a little bit here. "My parents always had this thing. Don't you embarrass me in front of his white folks. Today, most people would say that my mother and father were racist. Yet that notion comes from not understanding segregation, and the effects mentally it had on the victims of it. I hate to use the word victim, people always accused blacks of claiming to be victims, when they talk about not being treated fairly. It always is the default line, stop playing the victim." And you know, as again, not being a black person, just reading it in those simple words, that helps bring that a little bit into focus for me, too. It must be incredibly frustrating to live your entire life that way.

Marklyn Johnson:

It is, and you try not to think about it. And that's why you, if you see the way I react to some people, sometimes you get that, that line that you read, that explains why I react to them, there's a lack of, you know, there's a lack of understanding where it comes from. And as an African American growing up in the 80s, you know, 70s 80s, we that's really when I was in high school, I graduated 91. You know, if you had parents that were from the segregated south, and the average black person will tell you, it's one thing to embarrass your parents, it's another thing to embarrass your parents in front of, in fro t of the white people beca se white, because white peop e already for the most part from their reckoning, had such a negative stereotype or thou ht of black people. Yeah, so y u're just playing into what they perceive us to be? Sure. So you lways had to live that ment lity of, really don't emba rass me in front of these whit people. What's wrong with you?

Tom Kranz:

Well, that's a lesson that I think is really valid. I mean, it really helped me get that you know, and I think that that's one of the reasons we ought to we ought to be given some free copies of this book out to about I don't know a couple million white people maybe because that, you know, something that clear, you know, can can really help somebody you know, understand that. So today, where can we find you, whatever program and performing you're doing? And I know it's COVID so you're probably not as active as you were a year ago. But what are you doing right now that we can here see you do?

Marklyn Johnson:

Well, I'm still doing the podcast every other Wednesday. I do wacky Wednesdays that's on Facebook. Live underneath Mr. Direct JusReal. That's m i s t e r d i r e c t j u s r e a l? I do onr and I do one on Sunday called Sunday Coffee which is, you know, Sunday Coffee. It's a takeoff of the of the show I used to do called the Black Experience. But we talk about all different types of subjects. But we really try to highlight sometimes what we see going on in a black community two different articles in a different things that we're we're finding in the w orld.

Tom Kranz:

No when you say "we", do you have guests? Do you take

Marklyn Johnson:

Yes, I have, I have co-hosts on wacky phone calls, what do you do? Wednesdays I have Lainey Ventura. I call her the diva. On Sunday, I have a Detron Edwards, he's a comedian. And I have Melinda Gallagher, she's another comedian. And we really, what we try to do is we try to give a perspective of because all of our voices are different. But our voices are still the frustration and anger and the craziness of what we what we deal with. And how we really just, you know, people just need to understand what we're what we're saying and how we try to present it in an intelligent way. Not in some, not an ignorant F everyone, people are idiots. We try to present it in an intelligent way as much as possible.

Tom Kranz:

Well, and on that note, I want to encourage people to go to amazon.com and purchase Lessons from a Shit Talker and the word shit is spelled s-h-asterisk-t. It's right there. You know, I think that there are actually things in here that we can all learn or that we should all learn. It's a it's a quick read. And it's a fun read. Marklyn Johnson, I really appreciate you being with us. I wish you great success with the book, and I'll see you on Facebook.

Marklyn Johnson:

Hey, thank you so much for this interview. I really appreciate

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