I wake up on Friday morning smelling of yesterday’s hamburger and wonder if this weekend I should take up coffee. 

There is free coffee, after all (free coffee, Blue Write Disco) and I’ve had not enough sleep for too many days already. The festival has only just got started and there’s no time for naps.
In the end there isn’t really time for coffee either.
I spend a lot of Friday skipping out of events early. I want a sign that reads “It’s not that you’re boring! I just have somewhere else I need to be.” I catch half of thoughts and discussions without resolution, leaving comfy seats to run between venues. There is a very specific set of muscles, on the front of my calves, that seem to have exclusively developed for walking briskly between TiNA venues. I use them an awful lot today. 

I spend a lot of time waiting. Waiting for people to arrive or an event to start or a venue to open. Usually my approach to the festival has been just to rock up and hope someone else knows what they’re doing but because I’m the Directors’ Assistant this year, I’ve found myself suddenly being one of the people who’s meant to know what they’re doing. There is a power to having a lanyard. People keep asking me questions that I can’t answer.
I manage to catch a couple of whole events. I listen to people talk about turning their blogs into books, something I can’t imagine doing, and wonder if I’ll ever stop worrying about my weird little blog. I watch a group of editors discuss design and how it can be used to complement content. I sit beside my brother, a designer himself, and wonder how so many publications overlook the value of good design. It does, as the panellists discuss, give content longevity: you don’t throw away beautiful magazines. There’s talk of writing and ethics and I catch wonderful sound-bites between frantically texting.
In the evening we drive home and fill my car with pillows for the impending sleepover. Dinner is a pasta bake that I prepared earlier in the week (another advantage of being a local during the festival) and, while there isn’t really time for napping, just being home makes me feel a little less tired. 
We head back into the fray. I’m telling a story at First Time for Everything and Ben Jenkins introduces me as a comedian and “daughter of the festival” (in previous years Ben Jenkins has introduced me as, among other things, a “celebrity blogger”. I should really get him to write my CV). My first boyfriend just happens to be doing a drag cabaret show as part of the Crack Theatre Festival and so I tell the story of that first time, because the symmetry was too amusing to pass up. After I read, I relax into the other stories, revelling in the strange collection of first times.
Once again, I skip out of the event early, lingering for as long as possible before dashing up the road to set up the sleepover. After all our planning, the sleepover is basically just a sleepover. We play boardgames, talk and laugh, eating lollies and milo and chocolate.
In one corner sits Freya, who is attempting a mammoth task: to write uninterrupted for 24 hours. Her constant typing becomes the soundtrack to our evening (that and the So Fresh CDs). Every hour, on the hour, Freya gets up and films a video to update the internet on her progress. Her updates become like a strange clock, marking the passage of time.
We read fan-fiction, sourced primarily from teenage hard-drives. Alex reads Yu-Gi-Oh! fan-fiction which featured dialogue from himself, some marshmallow and a boat. From Erin we hear a piece of tennis themed fan-fiction featuring herself, a friend, two tennis stars and Micheal Buble. It is written, inexplicably, in second person.
There’s a tiny bookshelf, jammed in one corner of the room labelled “library”. Upon closer inspection we discover a book called “The Accidental Greek Wedding”. The cover features an illustration of a bride bearing a little too much leg. At about 2am, to the soundtrack of funky jazz, my friend Jack does a dramatic reading of a sexy passage from the book. Longer and more explicit than we were expecting, the passage fitted perfectly with the backing beats. We become hysterical, as you should be at a sleepover, sobbing with laughing and jamming our faces into cushions.
We put a DVD of Muppet Treasure Island on the enormous TV that lives in the centre. Inexplicably the sound-system only plays the film’s music (sans singing) and none of the dialogue. Occasionally random sound-effects will filter through the speakers and, for reasons unknown, Tim Curry’s singing is audible. It doesn’t matter really; none of us see much of the film. We fall asleep sprawled haphazardly across the floor. 

Thanks to Alan Weedon for his amazing photos. 
This weekend I’m blogging during National Young Writer’s Festival as a part of The Press Room. For more great content from the festival, including heads more photos, head over to the site.

Further reading

December – home

I spent the first minutes of 2018 on the beach. I’ve never actually spent New Year