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Returning from Mo*Con III and resurrecting The Teeming Brain

What’s that? I run a blog, you say? And blogs are things that you have to update? Oh, yes. I had forgotten all about that.

Yes, it’s true, I took an unannounced and unplanned month-long vacation from The Teeming Brain. I hope the suspense wasn’t too much for those of you who tune in regularly. The reasons for the hiatus are various. Among the most prominent are the advent of summer vacation from my teaching job, which led to an unplanned but much-needed period of semi-hibernation from my public appearances, even the virtual ones here at the blog; the imminent onset of some serious changes in my living situation; my assiduous pursuit of several writing jobs, an effort that is beginning to bear fruit; and the necessity for me to devote a great deal of time, attention, and energy this summer to finishing up work on “Curse of the Daimon,” the first album from my musical project Daemonyx, and also on the revisions (sometimes extensive) for Dark Awakenings, my forthcoming fat book of fiction and nonfiction dealing with religion and horror, to be published by Mythos Books late this year. I’ll be having a lot more to say about these topics in coming weeks.

Then there’s the fact that I have been doing a lot of traveling. Three weeks ago I journeyed down to San Angelo, Texas and environs on a three-day tour for reasons that will remain unspoken for the time being. Then a couple of weeks ago I spent three days attending the Missouri Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church in Springfield, where my video skills were put to use just like last year. Then, most recently — as in, last weekend — I journeyed to Indianapolis as one of the guests of honor for Mo*Con III, the third installment of a convention created by the original Sinister Minister himself, Maurice Broaddus, and devoted to exploring the intersecting issues of horror fiction and spirituality.

The Mo*Con experience was great. Other guests included Mark Rainey (“the legendary Mark Rainey,” as Maurice justly referred to him), Nick Mamatas, Kim Paffenroth, Bob Freeman, Lucy Snyder, and Chesya Burke. Plus a bunch of members of the Indiana Horror Writers were there. And Lucy’s husband, the inimitable Gary Braunbeck (one of whose books I browsed in the Springfield, MO airport before flying out on Friday), was present as well. And various members of The Dwelling Place, the groovy church-in-a-strip-mall building where Maurice serves as the “facilitator” (a minister by another name).

There was a party on Friday night involving chicken marsala, fettucine Alfredo, and a Celtic band named Mother Grove. On Saturday there was a panel on spirituality, moderated by me, followed by many varieties of chili for lunch. Then there was a panel about editing, composed of editors (including me) whom Maurice lovingly referred to as “those rat bastards who keep rejecting me,” since each of us had rejected his work in the past. Then there was a panel about issues of gender, followed by a late-night party with pizza at Maurice’s welcoming house in an Indianapolis neighborhood. On Sunday morning we all went to The Dwelling Place to attend the regular service, which had been retooled in honor of all the Mo*Conners being there. The centerpiece was a playing of the DVD of Brian Keene (“We all stand in the shadow of Keene,” Maurice said) talking about his personal spiritual journey as a writer at the first Mo*Con in 2006.

There was also much selling of books and other wares. I only found out this was going to happen shortly before the weekend arrived, so I got out the few copies of my Divinations of the Deep collection that were handy and also burned off some sampler CDs of 5 Daemonyx tracks, complete with Jason Van Hollander’s wonderful cover art. I ended up selling quite a few of these, which was gratifying. N.B., I’ll make some additional Daemonyx-related announcements here soon.

Here are images (kind of fuzzy, since I’m not good at converting PDFs to jpegs) of the flyers I handed out along with goods; click them to see the slightly bigger versions:

Daemonyx flyer

Dark Awakenings flyer

Beyond all this, there was something that has become known to insiders as the Mo*Con III.2 experience, wherein Nick Mamatas and I became refugees from an inclement weather situation that prevented flights from leaving the airport. We ended up crashing at Maurice’s house on Sunday night with his pleasant and patient wife, his two delightful kids, and a handful of other Mo*Conners. Weakling that I am, I became the only one to finally abandon the party and steal a few brief hours of sleep before the early-morning flight. Given the far-ranging nature of the conversations and debates that had taken place up until then, I can only imagine what all was talked about in the wee hours of the morning while I was zonked out.

And this was all after I missed my Friday morning flight to Indianapolis because Mapquest took me to a non-existent airport. (Yes, I had been to the Springfield-Branson airport umpteen times in the past. The Mapquest route just looked like it might be more efficient. Stupid me.)

There are other reports about the con that are worth reading. You can read Mark’s. You can read Maurice’s (complete with photos). You can read Bob’s. You can read Nick’s brief comments about his and my flight delays. Good stuff, all.

So now it’s back to the real world, including The Teeming Brain, which will be significantly more active for the rest of the summer. Hope you’re all having a good one. Gas prices getting you down? Or food inflation? More gathering economic doom? Weather weirdness? Never fear. It will only get more interesting.

In the meantime, I’ve got some creative pursuits to — er — pursue. Watch this space for ongoing news about Daemonyx, Dark Awakenings, and other stuff. We may be living in the proverbial Interesting Times of the Chinese curse, but there’s no reason why that should have any other effect than to make artistic pursuits even more engaging and passionate.