Hello all! I just got back from the World Horror Convention 2008, held in Salt Lake City. This will probably be a gruesomely long post and I apologize in advance. I also have not slept very much. Went to bed after six this morning and had to catch a cab back to the airport at 8:30. I slept the entire flight. I’m pretty sure I was asleep before it even left the ground. It made the three hour flight seem very short. I had a great time and want to thank Charlie and the rest of the folks who put the convention together and made it run as smoothly as a band of debauched horror enthusiasts in Salt Lake City could possibly run.
My wife, Gretchen, and I met with Bradley Sands and his friend Eric Blair (I think that’s his name. I called him Wes. I’m confused.) at the airport and took a cab back to the hotel. We got there the same time as Carlton Mellick III and Rose O’Keefe. Bradley and Wes wandered away. I think Bradley fell asleep somewhere. We spent the night hanging out with Carlton, Rose, and Brian Cartwright in the hotel lobby, waiting for Kevin Donihe to arrive from his woesome 3000 hour train ride from the darkest heart of Tennessee. He didn’t make it until sometime the next day. There was apparently a rockslide in some godforsaken town in Colorado and all the passengers were given pickaxes and forced to chisel their way through a mountain.
This was the only day we really got to sleep in. Kevin finally made it in shortly before it was time to help set up the Eraserhead Press table in the dealer’s room. He doesn’t sleep on public transportation so he was sleep deprived and hilarious, confronted with visions of goblins or something. We spent a good portion of the day in the dealers’ room. Later, many other people arrived: Gina Ranalli, Jordan Krall, Cameron Pierce. And Bradley came back. We went to dinner, had an arm wrestling tournament, took in the panel on punk horror and hung out for the rest of the evening.
I woke up around 8 to do my first ever public reading. It was attended by the other bizarro writers and I think it went reasonably well. I developed a nervous palsy and cotton mouth. At one point, the papers in my hand were shaking so badly I had to steady them with my other hand. I was glad that other hand wasn’t a hook. I didn’t throw up or pass out but, I’ve seen pictures, and I’m pretty sure I look like a douchebag. I’ll post those later for your amusement. Then we stuck around to watch Jason Gehlert and Jordan Krall read. Jordan’s reading had me laughing quite a bit. You should check out his book, Piecemeal June. He read from his to be released novella collection, Squid Pulp Blues. It promises to be excellent. Then there was general ambling around and we probably ate something. Gretchen and I took a tour of the Great Salt Lake. It kind of smells like a toilet. I plunged my hand into it. I was glad it didn’t give me poop hand. Later that afternoon, I went to a Cody Goodfellow reading. He is an energetic whirlwind of creativity. He’s also, as his name suggests, a good fellow. You should buy his books. After his reading, CM3 performed. There was an inverted pentagram on the wall and a bottle of Jack Daniel’s that started in his pocket but ended up on the floor. I have no idea how that happened. I definitely didn’t see anything. If you ever get the chance to see this guy read, you should go. You will laugh and enjoy. It’s fiendish, sinister, probably satanic. Then you should buy his books if you don’t already own them. This man can make paper pentagrams explode with his mind.
That night I attended the mass autograph signing with all of the other bizarro authors. They didn’t make us any name cards so Rose had to do that. Ours were white. Everyone else’s were yellow. I signed some books that I gave away and a free tote bag. I drank a lot of water, sweated, and laughed. Then many people gathered themselves into a room for the Leisure book party. I sweated there, too. Leisure generously provided much food and drink and free books. The Gross Out Contest was in there somewhere. Congratulations Whitney Lakin! Afterward we hung out in Rose and Carlton’s room along with, I’m pretty sure, everyone else in the hotel. A good time was had by all and I throw many thanks in their direction for providing a place for people to convene. Mitch Maraude materialized during the course of the evening.
I pitched a book to Don D’Auria, the editor of Leisure Books. Then I pitched another book to an agent. Then I had a meeting with Rose. Ideas and pizza were shared. There was more ambling around the hotel. I drank a lot of coffee. Then we had a bizarro board meeting. We all wore suits and decided we were going to sue each other. We talked stocks and golf. We compared hair density and devoloped new ways of walking. We talked about a Bizarro Convention. We decided bizarro was never going away. Then we destroyed the board room table, set it on fire, circled up around it, and sang Mormon hymns. We all went to dinner at an Italian restaurant. It was kind of like the bizarro mafiosa. I was invisible to the waiter. Everyone else got water and Limoncello. I got olive oil with a pepper in it. All bloated up on Italian food and olive oil, I followed everyone else back to the hotel where someone discovered a really fun game. For this game you need: 1. The Book of Mormon 2. The Bizarro Starter Kit (you could use either one but we used the Blue Edition) 3. A roomful of people. Now pass the two books around and read alternating passages. Let the hilarity ensue.
Then we went to a pajama party hosted by the VERY generous people from Dark Arts Books. I did not wear pajamas. This party went on into the wee hours of the morning. Outside, after 6 o’clock in the morning, Bradley decided to walk home to his friends’ apartment. It was snowing. I hope he didn’t freeze to death. Thankfully, he was equipped with a razor blade, and that gave him choices. Unable to stay awake any longer, I had to say goodnight to Carlton, Kevin, and Cody, thus concluding my convention experience.
This was my first convention and I want to thank all the people I met for making it a pleasing and comforting experience. I also have to say thanks to Gretchen. She helped out a lot in the dealer’s room while we all had to go do our snooty bizarro things. I would thank her in person but she’s asleep, all tuckered out from the plane ride.
Here are some random topics/realizations from my convention experience:
Snorting squid powder
Bradley Sands is a dick (I don’t really think Bradley Sands is a dick. I actually like Bradley quite a bit... but he’s a dick. If you don’t believe me you should order his book, It Came From Below the Belt. It’s all about penises... and sentience... and many other things.)
M.U.S.C.L.E. (Millions of Unusual Small Creatures Lurking Everywhere)
High fives are hilarious
Things left behind:
Super Cell Anemia by Duncan Barlow
Gretchen’s scarf (or, gift to Gina)
My sweet, unused foam cooler (but it still made my weekend complete)
A razor blade in a bag with the phrase, “Think Romeo and Juliet.” (This was a party favor provided by Wes/Eric Blair. It was a really funny, creative party favor and I’m sad I left it behind. I don’t know what happened to it. I think I was showing it to someone and forgot to get it back from them. Oh well. These things happen.)
A box of Cracker Jack (intentional)