I spent last weekend virtually attending Killer Con 2021. For the uninitiated, Killer Con is a convention for professionals in the splatterpunk and extreme horror subgenres. The con ended on Sunday afternoon. It’s Wednesday morning now, and I’m still wiped. It was a great time, though. Killer Con has an energy to it rivaled by no other con I’ve attended. I may be a little biased. I’m on the committee.

My personal highlights were sitting on a panel on imposter syndrome with Wrath James White, Jeff Strand, Kenzie Jennings, and Lucy Taylor; cohosting Horror Trivia with Adam Cesare; getting beat-up on during the collaborations panel; watching the Splatterpunk Awards and seeing how excited and humble all the winners were; the Gross-Out Contest won by Nigel Parkin, and the Sunday morning poetry hour with John Baltisberger, Susan Snyder, and Wrath James White. All three of the poets knocked it out of the park.

It was my first sober convention ever. Every convention I’ve attended, I’ve been under the influence of something. Usually just beer or liquor, occasionally weed. I think I brought the same (if not more) energy to this weekend sober than I would have intoxicated. It was a great experiment and one that will likely continue.

I don’t consider myself an alcoholic. There’s a school of thought where not admitting this is dooming me to failure, but in case you haven’t been paying attention, AA is not science. It was literally founded by a handful of church dudes almost a hundred years ago. There’s no denying it’s helped some people, but it’s just not my bag. I’m not an alcoholic. I just have bad coping mechanisms, but I’m working on that.

I’ve spent a good portion of the year reevaluating my place as a creator and as a human being. The White Trash Occultism sessions with Kelby Losack and J David Osborne were part of that. Writing American Garbage helped immensely too. It’s my most raw and personal work yet, and I think it helped clean some residual trauma goo from my brain. I’m also taking better care of myself. Eating meat again, exercising every day, and the above-mentioned sobriety are only small parts of this plan. I won’t bore you with additional details, but long story short: more intensive therapy and better meds.

Life is stressful enough without baggage from the past and bad brain chemistry.

On Monday, a friend passed away after a ten-month battle with cancer. He was a smart and funny dude. I don’t think I ever had a bad time whenever we were hanging out. While I’m sure I would’ve come into this writing life eventually, his encouragement in 2010-2011 really helped set me on my current path. That was when I started taking all this stuff a lot more seriously. He had a lot of potential as a writer in his own right. I hate that we’ll never get any stories from him. More than that, I hate that his kids (5 and 2) will grow up without a father. Life can be a real motherfucker sometimes.

This vaporwave mix on YouTube has been helping me heal.

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