Once upon a time, there was a boy. He wasn't particularly remarkable, but had a loving family, and hated school because he was scared of people.

Then one day his life changed. His grandfather sent something to the family through the post. It was a small black box with a rainbow in one corner. No-one knew what it was, but as they played with it they realised it was a magic box.

The boy was sent spinning into the world inside the magic box. This was a world of pure ideas, where simply saying the name of something made it exist. He lost himself in this world of pure ideas, almost forgetting the outside world existed at all. He created worlds made just out of ideas. For a while he created snake after snake after snake until he lived in a world made only of snakes, with an occasional Tron lightcycle.

Looking from the outside it might have looked like the boy was retreating from the real world. In fact, he was, but he wasn't only retreating - he was also exploring a new world, a good world, a safe world.

This world was safe because there were no other people in it, and the boy was scared of people.

Meanwhile, in the rest of his life outside the magic box, the boy was fairly miserable, because the people at his school were mean to him. They found his love of magic hilarious, and even a mention of it was enough to earn him taunts and insults. School was not a safe place, so he learnt some tiny hints about what it means to be pushed to the outside, or "marginalised", despite the many privileges he had.

The boy grew up, and one day a remarkable thing happened to him. He went to a conference called the Association of Magic and Metamagic Users. In this place he found other people like him who loved the magical world of pure ideas. Over time he found a new safe place at AMMU, where he could talk about and explore magic with other people who were as excited about it as he was.

As he got to know people in this new safe place he realised there were others who had also been outsiders and felt unsafe. He also began to recognised a softness that many magic practitioners had, including himself, meaning even when they found other people difficult, they wanted those people to feel safe.

So there it was, problem solved - a new safe place for the boy to be himself.

Or not. Because, far too long later, the magical people, including the people of the AMMU, started to realise there was a problem. Many magical people had been looking for a safe place like the boy, and they had made one, but, perhaps because of what they had experienced in unsafe places elsewhere, they had made their own safe place unsafe for some other people. When the boy raised his head from the world of pure ideas and looked around, he saw there were people missing - people who didn't look or feel the same.

Like many other magical people, the boy had assumed that because he only cared about the world of pure ideas, he was treating all people the same. It took him a long time to realise that when you don't think about how you are treating people you don't treat them all the same - you just go where you are safe, without thinking about the safety of others.

If you ever see this boy speaking at AMMU know that he would never have thought he would do something like that, and the fact that he can do it is a testament to the fact that he feels safe there.

But know also that he has finally realised that ignoring the things that exclude people and make them feel unsafe doesn't make those things go away, and he is going to do his best, with the other magical people, to make AMMU, and the whole magic industry, a safe place for everyone, by paying attention to the problem, and paying attention to the people who are brave enough to point out mistakes when we make them.