On April 27th I journeyed to Pittsburgh International Airport and went on my first airplane ride ever. Yes, ever. I am pleased to say the flight was simpler than driving through Pittsburgh’s traffic, road work, and closed lanes. Oh, and the car that caught on fire that also held up traffic. Flying itself was something I really enjoyed. The white ocean of clouds was mesmerizing.
The ground below barely seemed real as we ventured higher into the sky. The patches of land looked like velvet squares decorated with impossibly small dots of houses, cars, trees, people, and so on. Flying into Utah and staring out at the mountain caps was simply beautiful. Soaring among the clouds was a breathless, crazy adventure.
Thursday, however, is when the real madness began in Provo, Utah. This was my first World Horror Con and I had such a wonderful time. Attendance was small, (I think largely due to Stoker Con being separate this year and so close to WHC), but the smaller crowd allowed me to get to know people and have quality conversations. Despite my awkward self, I think I networked pretty well and even managed to have an editor of a wonderful magazine ask me to send my poems in. That was absolutely one of my favorite moments 🙂
I enjoyed so many panels and conversations during the con. There’s a lot I don’t know how to put into words so I’m going to highlight some of my other favorite parts below.
*The poetry slam hosted by Linda Addison. It was such a pleasure to talk with Linda and to hear her read her award-winning poetry. The slam allowed me to share my work and hear the amazing poems other writers shared. Poetry is forever my first love and being surrounded by others who share that appreciation toward the art always fills my heart with joy.
*The panels! I took so many notes. Dr. Al Carlisle’s panel on Ted Bundy is still giving me chills. Carlisle interviewed Bundy and shared some fascinating information about him that I have never read about before. Carlisle also played a recording from a conversation between him and Bundy and it’s truly haunting to hear the casual way he called the doctor up and spoke about what he had done…
*Some other excellent panels I attended were Women in Horror, Simulated Slushpiles, Arnzen’s Mutterverse, Victorian Culture of Death (I got so many poetry ideas from that one), Why We Love True Crime, D.K. Godard’s amazingly fun Ballistic Gel Presentation (it was a great stress reliever to slash, slice, and take a hammer to the simulated block of ribs), Victoria Price’s (the daughter of the legendary Vincent Price) presentation on her father, and so many others! Nothing was disappointing.
*Meeting new people was really the best. I had some great lunches/dinners with Mike Arnzen, Jeff Strand, Bailey Hunter, and Bill and Jeanne Bush who’s book collecting skills I admire greatly 🙂
*I also had a great time chatting (and drinking) with the wonderful Brian Keene (I’ll bring the vodka next time), the fantastic Jack Ketchum (still grinning from meeting him!), the lovely Rachel Autumn Deering, and other fantastic people such as Jason V Brock, Stephen Kozeniewski, Cody Langille, Megan Reed, Connor Rice, Kelly Laymon, and others I’m sure I’ll kick myself for forgetting.
But know if I talked to you at all that I absolutely loved it! Even on my way to the airport I was still meeting new people (hey David Boop!) and adding to my list of authors I must read.
*Also, I managed to fit all the books I got into my carry-on bag which was an impressive moment.
Networking is so important in the writing world, and when you’re surrounded by talented, friendly people it really does make the experience smoother. The writers and artists I talked to at the con aren’t just the kind of people you network with for the sake of connections and that’s it. These are the type of people you want to keep talking to, become friends with, and absolutely 100% want to keep up with their work.
Having a support system of fellow writers is essential to being (mostly) sane, happy, and productive. Attending WHC affirmed to me I am in the genre I was meant for. Despite the fond gaze that overtakes their eyes at the mention of death and blood, horror writers really are the nicest people.