Author of the Week: C.R. Jahn
I don’t know much about C.R. Jahn and I’m sure he’d like to keep it that way. I can relate since I’m also an anti-social yet quasi-compassionate misanthrope. We share childhood traumas that still affect our lives and work, but no longer to a detrimental degree. We disagree on some crucial political issues but it’s the human stuff that bonds us beyond these relatively superficial barriers.
When I reached out to Clint I wasn’t sure he’d be down for this. I knew he was a writer but frankly wasn’t familiar with his work, only his sensibilities via online conversations. Some of which I agree with, some of which I don’t. But he’s always very respectful and thoughtful so he remains in my daily feed, with pride and dignity. I always find his feedback and observations interesting, so naturally I can safely assume he channels that same conscientiousness into his work.
So here’s what I know and now you know about the mysterious, reclusive, but affable author known as C.R. Jahn…
Your website makes you sound like a peaceful (yet fully equipped) vigilante superhero a la The Punisher advocating for children’s rights but also an eccentric, reclusive author in the vein of Thomas Pynchon. Without revealing your true identity, how do these two impressions inform your work as a writer?
I wasn't always peaceful. My childhood was a nightmare. My parents never wanted kids and would remind me of that often, between the constant drunken beatings and threats to have me "sent away."
The first time I was stabbed on the street, I think I was 5... the other kid was about the same age and was carrying a steak knife he had taken from home... completely random, never seen him before, never said a word to him, just stabbed me in the chest for no reason. Fortunately it was a cheap knife and the blade bent. I was always being attacked by people I didn't know. Got hit in the head with rebar, had cigarettes ground into my flesh, was garrotted with clothesline. I lost track of how many times my nose was busted. But I never ran away and I never backed down. I would fight anyone. This was all before I was ten. It got wore.
The second time I was in gaol on weapon charges, I discovered the works of Andrew Vachss, who has influenced a literal army of child advocates. That became my mission as well, and led me to ride with Bikers Against Child Abuse, and later to write the short story "Level 5" for inclusion in an anthology with other authors, including Vachss, to benefit a child protection organization. One of the proudest moments of my life was when he called me "son" and said he liked my story.
As for being eccentric and reclusive, I think in many ways I'm misunderstood. I've gotten messages from jerk-offs and trolls purporting to psychoanalyze me based on my Quora posts, and they invariably get it all wrong. Honestly, I just don't like most people. I go out to the club with my wife when we're in town, and once a year show up at an annual barbecue with some heavy hitters and retired badasses, but aside from that I really don't get out much. Apparently I scare people or something... and I don't have very good filters so I tend to say whatever's on my mind, which seldom ends well. Like telling your boss they are incompetant... there's just no way to covey that tactfully. I've never been a "people person." Writing is a good outlet for me.
You also self identify as a “hook-handed biker.” How does this factor into your writing both physically and spiritually?
Having a meathook for a hand puts me on display as a dangerous freak. I cannot easily blend into a crowd and pretend to be normal. I will always be an outsider. Subsequently, I write from that perspective, and do so authentically. I never write to appease a wide audience... I write the books that I wanted to read, but they did not exist. The things I write can completely change your perspective on reality as you know it. My books certainly aren't for everyone... in fact, I tend to caution potential readers that my books might not be right for them.
Do you have a preference for fiction or non-fiction, as both author and reader, and why either way?
I have always preferred non-fiction because reading has always been about learning for me. One of my favorite genres was autobiographies written by individuals who have experienced things that few others have: intelligence officers, war heroes, gang leaders, labor organizers, investigative reporters, occult researchers. I have learned that most people who have written novels or screenplays about such characters invariably get many important details wrong... glaring technical errors that jar me from total immersion in the story. Their words lack authenticity.
Non-fiction is easy to write if you know the subject matter well. Fiction is far more taxing. Outrider took me nearly 5 years to research and develop... then I wrote it over a period of about six months. The book practically wrote itself... a lot of it came across via automatism. Writing that novel nearly killed me. It's basically ripping out part of your soul and smearing it across a canvas. Some authors use a formula, a pattern, using cliches and tropes to rewrite a tale which has been told dozens of times before. I will only write a story that *needs* to be written because it consumes my every waking thought, tormenting me. Putting it to paper is a literal catharsis. Once it is written, my mind is at peace and I never have those thoughts again... I actually forget most of the details. Upon rereading my words I barely recognize them as my own.
What are your influences, literary or otherwise?
My biggest influence was my Grandfather who helped to raise me due to the fact that both my parents were frequently either absent or fighting. He impressed upon me the importance of reading at a very early age, getting me my first library card at the age of two. He also would take time to answer any of my questions... of course, the question would remind him of other things he wanted to talk about too, so his answer would usually consist of a three hour lesson on five divergent topics. This rambling tangential style clearly comes across in FTW Self Defense and Arcane Lore.
What’s next for you?
Currently, I'm on the road with my wife. She is a long haul trucker who's demonically possessed. She told me her life story, which was far more interesting than any of the dozens of autobiographies I read, so I wrote it down, edited it, and recently had it published on Amazon. The book is called QUEEN and the first ten chapters can be read online. My next project will be another collaboration with her, Occult Noir based on events we've experienced and witnessed over the past few years. That will probably be it. With the ice caps melting and permafrost thawing, we're expecting prehistoric viruses to cause global pandemic soon, but perhaps that's for the best.
Cheers to that. I think. Peace.
C. R. Jahn is a recognized expert in forensic linguistic analysis, occult theory, and practical self defense who has authored multiple books, been included in several anthologies, and consulted as an advisor for numerous projects.
C. R. Jahn is a hookhanded biker who has occasionally been spotted riding a V8 rat trike around the greater Denver area. He has provided investigative, security, and consulting services to the private sector, specializing in threat assessment and counter-stalking. C. R. Jahn also provides technical advice for authors and directors pertaining to improvised weapons, improvised explosive devices, deep street subcultures, and mysticism.
C. R. Jahn supports legitimate organizations which advocate for, protect, and rescue abused and exploited children. He was a member of the Rocky Mountain Chapter of Bikers Against Child Abuse for several years and assists with investigation and social media outreach for several child protection organizations.
Other than that, very little is known about C. R. Jahn... and C. R. Jahn prefers to keep things that way.
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New Orleans, LA