Charles Johnson is a novelist, essayist, screenwriter, professor, philosopher, cartoonist, and martial arts teacher—and he’s also a Tricycle contributing editor. Over the course of his career, he has published ten novels, three cartoon collections, and a number of essay collections that explore Black life in America, often through the lens of Buddhist literature and philosophy. In the February issue of Tricycle, Johnson published a short story called “Is That So?,” which is a contemporary retelling of a classic Zen tale. In this episode of Tricycle Talks, Tricycle’s editor-in-chief, James Shaheen, sits down with Johnson to discuss his path to writing, how Buddhism finds its way into his work, and why he believes that art should liberate us from calcified ways of thinking and seeing.