BizarroCon 2014: Like Pinball in the 80’s

Last weekend I attended BizarroCon in Portland, Oregon, where all the weirdos gather to read, write, and to just get excited about strange books. It’s a magical time for a fan of bizarro fiction like myself, and it helps me to build and improve myself as a bizarro author. Plus there are tons of interesting folks to meet, especially this year, which saw a lot of new faces. Faces like this:

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I arrived in Portland Thursday and met Robert Devereaux at his gate. He gave me a ride in his rental car over to Edgefield, where the convention was being held. Devereaux is a great guy and one of the first bizarro writers I ever read (seriously, I read his story “Fructus in Eden” ten years ago when I worked in a children’s library). Robert speaks with both experience and a real sense of kindness. He’s extremely nice for a guy who writes sex and violence the way he does. Anyway, I got to Edgefield, checked in, and started hugging people. Later I wound up in the pool hall with John Skipp and Jim Agpalza. Jim and I made plans for something really raunchy as we each got whooped by Skipp, because he’s some sort of pool Jedi.

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I also got some awesome books. There are always too many great books and authors at BizarroCon to properly give them all a shoutout. I got to attend two workshops, one by the brilliant madman Cody Goodfellow and the other by Brian Allen Carr. Brian’s a really cool dude and a VERY smart writer. It was great to hear some of his wisdom and generally just shoot the shit. He’s from Texas, he’s a wildman, and you sort of want him to ramble on about how time is a flat circle. Great dude. Unfortunately I missed his badass reading on Friday night, but made up for it the next day at the Broken River Books reading. Cody Goodfellow did my favorite reading of the con and Michael Kazepis was a close second with my favorite line: “I am seventeen going on dust.” Just beautiful.

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That’s Kevin L. Donihe, lovingly embraced by Michael Allen Rose… moments before he gives Donihe the agonizing electrical prod that he so desperately craves. And that was just one traumatic scene from the Ultimate Bizarro Showdown, where fifteen of us stand before our peers and strive to make asses of ourselves. There were a lot of great performances and stories being told. Andy Adams gave a performance entitled “Texas Chainsaw Massacre with Umbrellas Instead of Chainsaws” and newcomer Tom Lucas laid some very too-weird-to-be-made-up shit on us. In the middle of all that, Nick Gucker came over and gave me a backrub. Super strong hands on that guy.  Ultimately, Karl Fischer won the Showdown with his Blackbird poetry, using award-winning author and Broken River publisher J. David Osborne as a prop.

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It was fantastic. I had a great time as always and it felt really good to see all my weird friends and fellow writers. I got to have some good conversations with my editor and publisher and I feel like I’m going to be growing a lot as an author in the coming year. Big things are coming. You want an example? Well, check out the second name from the top….

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