I’m sitting here wracking my brain trying to write my annual “thank-you list” for Derbycon and this year I find it impossible.

There are simply too many people to thank this year. I will inevitably forget and slight friends, people I care about and I don’t want that to happen.

So I’ve given up on my typical ever-growing “Thank you, Derbycon” list. Besides, it’s so much more than a thank-you list.

My mind keeps returning to my friend Renderman’s heartfelt thank-you at closing ceremonies. Like many of you, I was moved by his revelation but more than that, I saw myself in his story.

The fact is, it’s been a bad few years. I try to put positive stuff on the blog, but those of you that know me, or have seen me in person know I’ve been through some serious darkness. It wasn’t hard to see.

During that time, this job sucked because frankly, my life sucked. I was a mess physically, spiritually, emotionally and mentally.. in just about every way a person can be a mess.

I kept going through the motions anyway because frankly, I had a job to do. You were watching and you were paying the bills.

But not too long ago I woke up and found out that I wasn’t alone. God was there and still loved me despite the mess that I had made and well, that made all the difference. I started to recover and in the process, I turned a corner. My relationships began to recover, I started finding joy in my work and things just started falling into place.

I also discovered that you, too, were still there and you still cared about me despite the mess I had made. I was not alone.

This year was the first “good year” we’ve had in a long time. Sure, we’ve had problems, but over all it was a good year and as always, Derbycon was the high point. Yes, we raised a lot of money for the cause but most importantly, I found love and acceptance like I had never felt before. So many people gave of themselves, not just money, but also giving of their time, in some cases basically giving up their entire conference just to help us out.

I don’t deserve this kind of love, but I am so grateful for it.

Thank you Renderman, for your courage, for your transparency, and for putting into words what so many of us, myself included, have failed to.

Thank you to each of you that gave of yourself in one way or another. Thank you, my friends, for your trust and your love. For being there for me. Words fail me.

Thank you, #Derbycon.

I was a sailor, I was lost in sea
I was under the waves, before love rescued me
I was a fighter I could turn on a threat
Now I stand accused of the things I’ve said.

Love comes to town,
I’m gonna jump that train
When love comes to town,
I’m gonna catch that flame.
Maybe I was wrong to ever let you down,
But I did what I did before love came to town.

I was there when they crucified my lord
I held the scabbard when the soldier drew his sword
I threw the dice when they pierced his side,
But I’ve seen love conquer the great divide.

“When Love Comes To Town” – B.B. KING