There is no easy way to explain Mo*Con.  It’s kind of like reducing a typical writers’ convention and reducing it to the best part:  the room parties and hang out time in the bar.  Sometimes I think of it as a family reunion, where you’re always bringing in new family and the dynamics of relationships are always in flux.  Sometimes I think I over-think it:  it’s a group of writers basically hanging out in the con suite all weekend talking.

So let’s see:  bring in Cullen Bunn, Lee Thomas, Lucien Soulban, and Danny Evarts, sprinkle with a dash of Lucy Snyder, Jason Sizemore, Chesya Burke, and D. Harlan Wilson, invite a bunch of friends and what do you get?  A great time.  A friend of mine asked me about the metrics of measuring a successful Mo*Con.  I came up with three ways to measure it:

1.  Count conversations.  I love the conversations that go on at Mo*Con.  From the industry chatter to some very frank and personal conversations.  We try to give as much room for that as possible.  What we try to create is an environment for people to feel safe to be themselves, to have those conversations, and to build relationships.

What has been a hallmark of Mo*Con, what has always impressed me about this group, is how we can have meaningful and spirited conversation, yet still be respectful.  People can fundamentally disagree, but they are willing listen to each other and intelligently discuss their points of view.   We’ve talked about issues of race, gender, spirituality, and sexuality—bringing every bit of our experience and history and passions and beliefs to those discussions—and somehow still survived.  Because we take the time to listen to each other’s stories.*

2.  Count laughs and tears.  Friends and family can laugh together, can cry together, and be there for one another.  A particular highlight was when we, as a community, thanked Sara Larson for not only all of her hard work, but also wanted to let her know how much she means to us.  Those are the special times you hold in your heart and cherish for years.  Mo*Con is about relationships and we measure its success by how well its attendants feel loved.

3.  Count waistline.  Look here:  a Friday night dinner chicken marsala and fettucine alfredo;  a Saturday afternoon lunch choice of shrimp etoufee or lasagna;  a Jamaican dinner of jerk chicken, curried chicken, rice & peas, and Jamaican patties; and a Sunday brunch of eggs, bacon, roasted potatoes, and beef tournedos (not to mention the Philly cheesesteak sandwiches later).  I’m just going to thank Sara Larson, Trista Robichaud, Kathy Watness, Michelle Pendergrass, Ro Griffin, and Rob Rolfingsmeyer for putting that together.  I’ll spare you our pre-Mo*Con, late night Mo*Con**, and post Mo*Con menu antics.

So, by any measure, Mo*Con VI was a success.  So much so that Mo*Con VII is well underway in terms of planning.  I truly love this gathering of friends … but I’m glad it only happens once a year.

[Returns to Operation:  Sleep for a Week]

*Speaking of which, I won’t be stopping the dialogue on the church and the issue of homosexuality on my blog.

**Allow me to repeat:  I don’t feel one bit of bad for anyone who decides to wash down a late night White Castle run with whiskey.