Jaime Johnesee Gets Jack’d

Ladies and gentlment, I’m thinking of something blue! Blue. Yes…it’s the color of the moment. In fact, all that remains is blue…and don’t you forget it.

And just what is it I’m thinking of that casts itself such in a lovely shade of blue? Why it’s the hair covering the head of Jaime Johnesee.

And it wants to get Jack’d.

Or, rather, the person under the hair.

And so, without further ado, let’s get to the jacking of Jaime.

JW: We sort of met through a mutual acquaintance…Armand Rosamilia. But this isn’t about him (I’m just bound by contract to mention him a set amount of times per day). This is about you. And Bob. Or zombies…or everything (and anything). In fact, let’s talk about brains. Why? First and foremost, it’s the go-to snack food of the zombie generation. But there’s much more to brains than just a delicious undead treat. There’s also the fact that we depend upon them to function. Some, believe it or not, use them for higher functions…

Such as thinking.

Something a vast majority of the world seems to not be doing at the moment. Which leads me to my point (I was hoping I’d have one sooner rather than later). The world is effing scary – so much so, it’s starting to concern me that we horror writers are becoming hard pressed to conjure up more fear than the beast that is man can summon. Living in a world where reality is more frightening than fiction…that’s tough for we writers of the dark fantastic.

jaime-blue-straight-hairJJ: It’s true, mankind is a far scarier monster than anything we could dream up. The things we do to each other are so utterly horrifying that it can only be defined as heartbreaking. I think that is why I love fiction so much. It gives us a place to escape the evils of the world and recharge our hope. Oh, and I have to mention that Armand Rosamilia is one of the greatest people in the world. (He’s got some really tight contracts.)

JW: Great. As if the great Armando doesn’t already have a big enough head. I kid, I kid. Yeah, he’s something very special, that guy. We’re lucky to have him (I happen to have him locked in my dungeon at the moment MU. HA. HA.)

I agree. One of the reasons why I love reading and writing horror is that it can be such a cathartic experience. No other genre allows you to curl up safely under your covers and venture dare to venture into the realm of your own fears. And, in the end, when/if the devil gets his due, you feel like you’ve gone on a ride you couldn’t take otherwise. If said devil comes out unscathed, you’ll spend your nights creeping away from the shadows and hoping ol’ Scratch doesn’t peer out from the darkness. That’s a thrill.

JJ: I believe that with horror we allow ourselves to get back in touch with that primal fear we have lost as we’ve been domesticated. (Sure, you can say “as we evolved”. I prefer domesticated simply because we are as different from our Neanderthal ancestors as dogs are from wolves.) Heck, look at our evolution in just the last four hundred years. I mean, there was once a time when werewolves were a real fear for people.

I think that as we’ve grown, and have discovered these boogeymen aren’t real, we’ve begun to look for that thrill of fear elsewhere. We indulge in movies and books that scare us. We take the time to set up haunted houses/forests/hospitals/etc just to feel that sense of terror again. We do all of this to distract ourselves from the simple fact that mankind is the most terrifying and viciously cruel creature that we’ve ever encountered.

JW: And with each passing year, the horror aesthetic grows more and more ineffective. I think it’s one of the reasons why I decided to toss my writing way back to the roots of horror and explore some of the classics. Strip everything down to the basics and recall a time when the very idea of corpse reanimation was enough to frighten us out of our skirts and under our covers. I also believe it’s part and parcel to how effective zombies can be. You don’t have to really re-invent the monstrous wheel all that much. Why? Because the focus tends to center around the survival of well drawn-out characters set against a dystopian backdrop where man has devolved into the monster.

I do, however, agree with you. We haven’t really evolved all that much from where we crawled out of the soupy mess of DNA. Hell, half the time I believe higher thought is actually preventing us from evolving because our propensity is to remain stuck in some rather nasty, narrow-minded mud.

JJ: We do have a habit of explaining away the things which once frightened us. Our higher thought has caused far too many to become close minded. We, as a whole, tend to look upon cultures that haven’t evolved to our standards and think them somehow less intelligent. I often wonder if those cultures that keep it simple and less material are more intelligent than the rest of us because they seem to understand that stuff doesn’t matter.

I think that’s why I love zombies so much. They’re simple beings, their sole thought (depending on the type of zombie, mine are all sentient, and voodoo born, so they’re the same people they were prior to death) being food/spreading the virus.

They don’t care how much money you have or who you are, they see you as either food or a potential host. There is something comforting in knowing what to expect from them and in knowing they don’t have any preconceived notions. Nobody is safe. Muahahahahahahahahaha!

JW: So our slogan should be “Devolve and unite!” I have to agree with you. I think we’ve layered on so much complexity in life that we’ve sort of forgotten what living is all about. There are days when I strive to keep things “zombie simple”…those days are always quite nice.

I have a bracelet on which is engraved “Conformity is for zombies!” I’ve lived by that for decades now. It has not only helped me be me, it has enabled me to retain a healthy mix of madness and sanity.

JJ: I don’t know about devolving, but simplifying life sounds like pretty good advice. I have two boys, 7 and 4, –that’s their ages, not their names– so zombie simple days happen more often than I care to admit. I get a healthy mix of sanity and madness from my time with them. Well, time with them and killing people on paper –I highly recommend paper, it really helps with the mess. *tic*

I guess if I had a message for the world it would be, let’s stop focusing on petty little details and start focusing on what we can do to make the world around us a bit better. Then again, I’m sort of an idealist. I’d like to believe that we could all eventually live in peace. Of course I also hold out hope for Data to get, and keep, a functioning emotion chip.

By the way, remind me to introduce you to my buddy Bob sometime. He is a very unsimple zombie who likes classic arcade games and has horrible luck. Think Clark W. Griswold if he were dead and raised. Before I skedaddle I just want to say thanks for having me by. (Yes, I said skedaddle. *Grin*) This was fun and really cool.


Jaime Johnesee lives in Michigan with her husband and two sons. She spent fourteen years as a zookeeper before shifting her focus to writing full time. Known for her bestselling horror comedy series, Bob the Zombie, she is also currently coauthoring the paranormal horror series, Revelations, as well as her Samantha Reece series for Devil Dog Press.