Many people learn to perform to avoid confrontations. I’ve been doing it daily for twenty years

“#Olympus #em10 #vsco” by alubavin is licensed under CC BY 2.0

I think I was fifteen years old the first time someone told me that I wasn’t what they were expecting.

It came from a girl about the same age who lived fairly close by (at least by the standards of the rural Midwest) but went to a different school. We…

Small teams have made a big impact in recent years, but will they ever truly rule the roost?

In January 2021, Steam welcomed a game called Dyson Sphere Program to the platform. The inaugural game by Chinese developer Youthcat, it was an unassuming yet ambitious entry into the factory management subgenre, pioneered by big indie hits like Factorio and Satisfactory. Less than a year later, Dyson Sphere Program

In 2021, I had a manuscript that failed in every conceivable way. Here’s what the autopsy turned up

Photo by being an octopus on Unsplash

I’ve been scratching around in the literary world for ten years now, and 2021 has been far and away my worst year to date.

I don’t know if the markets are getting harder or if the gatekeepers are starting to hate me, but the numbers speak for themselves. I made…

It can be a real struggle to get even a simple opinion out of some Chinese people. Here’s why

Student raising hand
“Student Raising Hand” by UC Davis College of Engineering is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Ask someone to talk about the differences between two cultures, and you’re likely to get a list of highly visible, easy to categorize things. I’m talking food, clothing, architecture, art — things that you can sort and display side-by-side for the sake of ready comparison. …

It’s possible that doctors were missing autistic features for years. The question is how far I should pursue this

Photo of the author, age 5

A few weeks ago, I took an evening and filled out the AdAS Spectrum, one of a number of instruments proposed for diagnosing autism spectrum conditions in post-adolescents.

The impetus for this was my work on a writing project with some autobiographical elements, which had started me on a research…

Put yourself in a character’s shoes, and their voice will come naturally to you

Photo by Akson on Unsplash

For me, dialogue has always been the most interesting part of any narrative. Spare me your tedious descriptions of rooms and clothing or page-spanning dives into the psyche of some antisocial loser — I want to see arguments, confessions, banter, and anything else with a little emotion behind it. …

Andrew Johnston

Writer of fiction, documentarian, currently stranded in Asia. Learn more at

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