I've never been a big "joiner". I tend to shy away from clubs and cliques, and am prone to circle such things like a shark - keeping a little distance, skimming at the edges. I deflect this stuff with humour, and a kind of staged cynicism.
Whenever people go on about "their tribe" and "the community", I inwardly cringe. I'm not sure why this is; possibly something embedded from my childhood, something deep inside.
But this weekend, at Sledge Lit, an annual genre convention in Derby, I realised that, however much I object to the concept, the people I was with are my tribe. My people. I'd go to the wall for a lot of them. They enrich my life - they really do.
So thanks to everyone I spent time with over the weekend. To everyone who listened to me bullshit my way through a panel or crack bad jokes as I hosted the raffle. Old friends. New friends. Casual acquaintances. There are too many people to list here, but you all mean a lot to me.
And here's a photo of me and that Sarah Pinborough hosting said raffle, accompanied by a grumpy little Christmas fairy: