Dear Jesus,

The idea of Mo*Con always seems like such a good idea on paper. You know, being missional, continuing conversations with people, serving others. But you know these things can go terribly, terribly wrong without any notice, especially when you have Brian Keene and Wrath James White involved. Please remember, I’m just trying to do my best.

Love always, your working-on-being-humble servant,

Maurice

Mo*Con II actually started Friday night with my reception dinner for my guests of honor, one of whom was late (because 2007 is the year of planes vs. Wrath James White. So far, Planes 2/Wrath 0). It was my way of saying “thank you” for all of my friends who made the trek in from all over the country. With Wrath MIA, it gave Brian Keene and I the perfect opportunity to have our Magic: the Gathering tournament in peace, re-matching our on-going battle. I don’t care what you read elsewhere on the InterWebs, goodness triumphed over trash-talking evil.

There’s no way I can cover everything that went on at the convention. We opened with a panel on spirituality and horror featuring myself, Wrath, Gary Braunbeck, and Lucy Snyder and moderated by Keene. My first inkling that things were going well (besides the church being packed) was when the early criticisms running along the lines of “why’d you have to end the spiritual panel so early?” and by early, they meant after only two hours. Next came lunch and apparently Bob Freeman won the chili cookoff.

The readings were great. Keene read “Burying Betsy” due to appear in the next issue of Cemetery Dance. Gary B. read Rami Temporalis and then screened the short film based on the story. After that came a panel on Race and horror, featuring myself, Wrath, and Chesya Burke. In short, the discussions were fabulous. A whole day of engaging dialogue with bright people talking about big ideas – exactly what we were aiming for.

Um, Saturday night. We had an after party at my house. Alethea Kontis sums it up on her blog this way:

The ambulance just left.

Again.

I have GOT to get some sleep.

It’s probably a really good thing we’re all going to church in the morning.

The evening started simply enough with another re-match of Magic, with Keene setting the rules (“I can’t believe I just spend $130 on a game of Magic”). I am positive that I neither did or said anything that would lead to this picture:

As for the ambulance incident, I’ll leave the details for my wife to blog. Suffice it to say that in the Necon tradition, someone (a fan of Keene’s) ended up needing to be rushed to a hospital. I won’t tell you how ghetto we got, posing with the ambulance or stretcher while the EMTs were working. Nor will I mention the EMTs, upon realizing that they were at a gathering of writers, stopped to network. In fact, they came back after dropping off our injured party … to pitch their “Forest Gump in space” science fiction novel. I’m not kidding.

Sunday morning, The Dwelling Place gathering welcomed the convention attenders in ways that surprised even me. There’s nothing like having the cover to Dead Sea projected on the big screen to greet a congregation. The only difference from our usual gathering was that Gary Braunbeck spoke instead of our pastor. (Keene spoke also, but 1) it was a rough Saturday night for us and 2) NO ONE wanted to follow Gary. I am posting his comments in the next two blogs and you’ll see why. I don’t think I can use the word “tremendous” often enough).

After the official end of Mo*Con II, we hosted an informal hang out time so that we could say our good-byes. My cooking schedule was insane. Friday night, chicken marsala and fettucine alfredo. Saturday, my “skyline” chili and white chicken chili. Sunday, my pan seared pork chops with mandarin oranges. And because Chesya was hungry, and I was showing off, Sunday evening I grilled steaks (with my home made Jack Daniel’s sauce) and burgers.

At which point, I set the grill on fire. Literally.

Capping off a perfectly splendid weekend. I’ll hopefully have a full gallery of pictures up on my website before too long.

(Things Overheard at Mo*Con II)

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