THE OUTER DARK SYMPOSIUM ON THE GREATER WEIRD
On the weekend of March 25th, 2017, I flew down to Atlanta and attended my first-ever literary convention-ish event, THE OUTER DARK SYMPOSIUM ON THE GREATER WEIRD, put on by the mad geniuses behind THE OUTER DARK PODCAST, Scott Nicolay and Anya Martin. Needless to say, it was an amazing experience.
First off, just getting to hang out with fellow horror/weird fans for a weekend was energizing by itself, especially meeting some online pals like Shannon Watkins (who was a total hoot and a half to hang out with). That, coupled with meeting a ton of authors I love, listening to bunches of great readings and panel discussions, and just plain geeking out made for a most enjoyable trip.
It’s no secret that I am a huge fan of Scott Nicolay’s writing and podcasting, so I had my fingers crossed that he wouldn’t turn out to be some kind of douchenozzle in person (ha!). Turns out I needn’t have worried. Scott even made time for me to ask a bunch of questions on specific stories of his, his process, etc., all which he answered with lots of humor and grace. Yay!
Anya Martin is another writer I admire and she was the driving behind-the-scenes force for the weekend. I’m surprised she was still standing by the end, because WOW is that a ton of work! It was an eye-opening experience to see what it took, how many volunteers, and the level of detail in play. She even hosted the after party in her own (awesome) home, which was a lot of fun.
My favorite moments:
- Kristi DeMeester reading from her then-brand-new novel BENEATH
- Talking Reggie Oliver stories with Michael Wehunt
- Meeting Orrin Grey and chatting about monster movies
- Balojun Ojetade reading one of his stories, and his overall presence—I wish I had that guy’s energy!
- Getting to talk with all the cool volunteers as I helped with some “backstage” stuff
- The overall feeling of community during the whole event, and after
Never having been at any Cons before, the symposium was an awesome way to start. I felt nourished as a fan, a writer, and a person. Not bad! Also, who knew that folks who write about the most horrific things imaginable would turn out to be such sweet people in “real life”?
You can check out all the readings and panel discussions from the symposium for yourself, as they are part of episodes 010, 012, 014, and 015 of The Outer Dark Podcast.