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Charley Johnson
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Charley Johnson works in international development, writes for fun and dances harder than you do. He’s a Seattleite, an uncle and a graduate of Harvard Kennedy School. He writes with a few friends at

Entries by Charley Johnson

Stories in Development

(0) Comments | Posted March 10, 2014 | 12:20 AM

Charley Johnson and I met as classmates at Harvard Kennedy School in 2009. At that time, we both believed that we were obligated to live lives of 'public service.' Like many of our classmates, though, we had very little idea what that meant; the feeling of obligation came first, and...

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Raise Your Hand

(1) Comments | Posted November 18, 2013 | 3:17 PM


Raising my hand in school was terrifying. Like standing-onstage-naked terrifying. Back in the day, I raised my hand with such limp timidity that the teacher had to guess whether I had something to say. "Is that a hand, Charley, or are you just stretching?"

It was a...

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See What I See

(1) Comments | Posted July 16, 2013 | 12:45 PM


Back in the day, I used an acerbic wit to get by. I was what your Grandma Mia called a "smart ass." It seemed legit in a Darwinian sense. I was a fat kid who peaked in coolness and athletic dominance in the sixth grade. By middle school, I...

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When I

(0) Comments | Posted March 17, 2013 | 9:38 AM


You're about to turn 2 years old. It drives me crazy that I won't be there to celebrate you like last year. Thank god for childhood amnesia and Facetime, I suppose. Point is, you're growing up fast. Like Usain Bolt fast. Soon you'll want to speed things up even...

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A Letter to My Nephew

(0) Comments | Posted February 19, 2013 | 10:20 AM


In 14 quick years, you'll enter high school. It might not seem "quick" to you, but trust me, 14 years is nothing. Regardless, don't sweat it. It will be fine. Even when it's not, even when the air feels so thick it is hard to breathe, know that you'll...

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An Edited Life

(0) Comments | Posted February 4, 2013 | 2:44 PM

Back in the day, I couldn't write for shit. From time to time, when lightening would strike, I picked the right words and put them in the right order. But they weren't my words. Nah, I abused the thesaurus like whoa. And I had only a formulaic, high school English...

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Stars as My Guide

(10) Comments | Posted January 26, 2013 | 9:52 AM

I sat in a training on decision making, daydreaming like I tend to.

"Eighty percent of conversations are about the past."

Say what? I sat up straight in my chair. A 6'4", former Green Beret with a pot-belly and a Mr. Clean sheen stood towering over me. He had one...

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(0) Comments | Posted January 9, 2013 | 3:50 PM

My pre-school teacher once told my mom that I would never succeed in school. I spent too much time chasing girls on the playground and too little coloring in the lines. In the lines, I thought, was for other people.

I was too young for this storyline to stick. I...

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(0) Comments | Posted January 2, 2013 | 9:49 AM

Sometime in September

My alarm sounds at 7:00, just like it did the day before. I shower, put on a new suit that fits but doesn't fit me, and nuke a bowl of instant oatmeal. I walk to work.

Nine or so hours later I walk home along the same...

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