Interview: Troy James Weaver’s Obsession

Editor Matty Byloos, Interview, March 21st, 2016

"Something like a drug in the hunt for the truth within the psyche."

faith 47 troy james weaver obsession
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NAILED MAGAZINE: If there’s something that you’ve long been obsessed with, especially if it’s something dark or otherwise deemed possibly unacceptable or morbid by society, when did you first realize this could be a problem or an issue for you? What happened as a result? How do you deal with it?

TROY JAMES WEAVER: The first time I realized there was an issue was right after coming home after a particularly long, dreary day at work, and settling down into bed with my laptop to research Albert Fish. My exploration never varies much. It’s always the same things, sometimes the same articles and essays over and over again.

The subject? Murderers, any and every kind—serial killers, mass murderers, cult killers, gang murderers, terrorists—it’s all like a shock to the system, that’s what I love about it.

I mean, don’t get me wrong, I hate it, every bit of it, and hate the people who commit such crimes, but murderers hold some real world fascination for me, maybe beyond what others would even term healthy parameters. I’ve probably spent more of my time reading books about and watching shows about murderers than I have reading fiction and watching sitcoms, and that isn’t counting all the stuff I read online.

It’s something like a drug in the hunt for the truth within the psyche, even though the psyche is an impenetrable wall of fiction. That’s what it is, I think, and that’s what I like.

It’s like this: I want to write some shit about these kinds of folks, but then again, they’ve already written it the only way it can be written in the material world, through their horrible actions. So in comes this other thing. There’s a fiction to their way of thinking that’s ultra-real, almost more real than reality, but absolutely no fiction in their actions, even when we fictionalize those actions, though we almost see it as such due to our particular brand of American desensitization, and in some ways that makes it real. I don’t know if that makes any sense at all. I know that it doesn’t, not really. How could it?

I love that Ted Bundy smiled his charm all over the gloss of a headline and that Richard Ramirez flashed his pentagrammed palm to the media. They know they’re entertainers. That’s it. They know they’re superstars. You see it in all those pictures, on those TV shows, and in all those words, words similar to mine—why else would we bother wasting our breath if they were anything but celebrities?

Yes, they know their function. They know they make other people a lot of money. They know they’re entertainers just as much as the Kardashians are, and maybe even more so, and they do it all for the vitamin value our viewership balloons into their egos. We make their bones strong and their hair shine. But that’s it.

Don’t you know that? Don’t you see that? Don’t you care? I know you do, trust me, I believe that, and I think I care, too. I try to, every single day I try to.

But even still, with all that in mind, at least once a week, I find myself in front of my computer or TV screen, feeding these murderers the flesh from my own body. Why? I want to be entertained, that’s why. I don’t have to put it into any real world context, do I? Should I? But I’m on my couch, secure in my house, watching this horrific reality with a comfortable distance as though it were fiction.

Of course I should care more about what this means for both you and I, and I do, but I also want to know where the story will go, what will happen. How many years will be served? How will this murderer die? And I still want to know all this, even though the story has already ended, and at the end, it’s always the same fucking thing—death and murder and obsession, an emptiness that comes from knowing that you’ll never find any kind of truth in the bodies of others.

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If you enjoyed this interview, then you might also like to read about Kevin Maloney’s obsession, which you can read here.

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Troy James WeaverTroy James Weaver the author of Witchita Stories (Future Tense Books) and Visions (Broken River Books). His work has appeared in numerous publications including Hobart, The Nervous Breakdown, Atticus Review, Heavy Feather Review, Everyday Genius, and elsewhere. He lives in Wichita, Kansas with his wife and their dogs.

Cover Image by Artist Faith47, featured on NAILED here.

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Matty Byloos

Matty Byloos is Co-Publisher and a Contributing Editor for NAILED. He was born 7 days after his older twin brother, Kevin Byloos. He is the author of 2 books, including the novel in stories, ROPE ('14 SDP), and the collection of short stories, Don't Smell the Floss ('09 Write Bloody Books).