The Wit and Wisdom of Jonathan Hayes

Jonathan Hayes My friend Alafair Burke has a terrific interview with my friend Jonathan Hayes up on Murderati. I first met Jonathan, a NY medical examiner and novelist, at Left Coast Crime in Hawaii and liked him instantly…he's one of those people you meet and, after about five minutes, feel like you've known them your whole life. One of my regrets about Bouchercon in SF this past year was that I didn't get a chance to spend some time with him. He's got a wicked wit, a fierce intelligence, and he's a hell of a nice guy, too. Jonathan has a new book out, A HARD DEATH, which you've got to read…

You are a fierce Facebooker.  Unlike many writers, you rarely even mention your books or your life as an author.  Instead, you really show your actual life through photos, music, and video.  What rings your bell about Facebook?

Yes, I am the bane of my publicist's existence – I'm frequently invited to comment on high profile killings on national TV, but always decline. I think it's inappropriate to hold forth on something so serious about which you only have third- or fourth-hand knowledge. All of us hate to be second-guessed; it's horrible to watch the jackals come out of the woodwork when a celebrity dies.

I've had a strong online presence for more than 20 years – I've had the same email address for all that time, and probably as many people call me "Jaze" as call me "Jonathan".

I find just about everything fascinating – seriously, I could get engrossed in an article about the history of cereal box typography design. As a result, I have the attention span of a magpie, regularly developing odd obsessions that are gushingly watered by the fountain of esoterica that is the Internet. And when I'm passionate about something, I want to share it, hear what other people think.  So I post it on Facebook, or on my Tumblr blog.

Right now, for example, I'm obsessed by a mostly West Coast niche subculture: girls and young women who've developed a style fusing psychobilly rock style (fringes, retro clothes, Sailor Jerry-style retro tattoos) with facial and body piercings, breasts plumped up by clothing or surgery, Hello Kitty-style kitschy accessories and My Little Pony hair colors borrowed from Harajuku in Tokyo. It's an odd look, a deliberate, almost angrily in-your-face miscegenation of Kiddie Cute and Hypersexualized Adult. I think it's less rock'n'roll than a new incarnation of rave style; that scene was characterized by a conscious infantilization that had kids drowning in brightly colored, deliberately oversized clothes, carrying animal-shaped backpacks and handing out candy while they chewed pacifiers. (Admittedly, those last two were to help deal with the jaw-grinding and clenching that are a side effect of the drug Ecstasy, but, still.)

Uh, here's my Facebook album for that – careful; depending on where you work, it might not be 100% safe for you.

I don't talk about my work work on Facebook because it's not appropriate; people died to make their way to me, and that should be private. This is one of the reasons I write fiction: to talk about the things I see, and the reactions they evoke, without betraying any confidence.


1 thought on “The Wit and Wisdom of Jonathan Hayes”

Leave a Comment