AKA “My rambling, sure to be maudlin recap of why it means so much to me”
Picking up from this year’s report, there are several reasons why I decided to start Mo*Con: 1) I wanted to create a space where we could have some of the conversations I inevitably get into at conventions (typically spiritual, but also any of a number of socially relevant topics from race to politics); 2) I wanted to throw a local convention for writers; and 3) I wanted to love on and spoil writers because I know how hard it is to be a writer. Cons are often a collection of ego, fear, and insecurities. But I know Mo*Con’s a different sort of convention experience, one often measured, as one person put it, by how much they feel loved.
The feeling is very much mutual. To start, I need to go back to a few things about Mo*Con IV, which at the time I even said I wasn’t going to talk about.
A friend of mine asked me how I have seen God working in my life through all the stuff that had been going on last year. I said that I had seen Him at work both through my wife and through Mo*Con. My wife he could understand, but a convention of horror writers? Not so much. In some ways, Mo*Con functioned as a “church” for me, people exploring the idea of faith, walking into each other’s lives. Last year’s Mo*Con was the first time many had a chance to let me know how they felt, including giving me what became known as the Mo*Con greeting by a couple of friends: I was slapped (so that I understood just how pissed they were at me) and then embraced (to let me know that I was still loved). But the sense of community didn’t stop there. I watched as guest after guest rallied around Sally, literally forming a protective hedge around her, to support her through the time.
With our previous church pulling out of any involvement with Mo*Con, it bumped up against so many of our stories of the church dropping them after a sin or finding out what they write (which is why I was so grateful to Trinity Church for taking us in and welcoming us, so that it could be seen that “the church” was bigger than just one particular expression). But even as I spoke last year, it was pretty obvious, that I was in a shaky place with my faith. So much so that Wrath James White, not exactly know as a champion of Christianity, several times was half out of his seat to come stand next to me. Afterwards, I asked him what he was doing. He told me that it looked like I could use some support. Though he didn’t believe what I believed, he didn’t want to see me fall from it. So yeah, I saw God at work in Mo*Con and the people there already a part of His story even if they personally may reject the story.
The guest list for Mo*Con changes every year, though this year (our five year anniversary), I wanted to focus more on the sense of family. Next year, getting back to some of our more controversial topics, there are a few social issues I want to have conversations on. But that’s next year. For now, I want to just bask in the memories of camaraderie and love from this year. If folks can leave Mo*Con feeling welcomed, engaged, and loved, then we’ve done our jobs.