Remembering TiNA

The other night, gazing sleepily at my bedside table, I realised that at least three years of National Young Writers’ Festivals are represented in that little square of space alone. My house is littered with remnants of past This is Not Art festivals (NYWF being my favourite festival under the TiNA umbrella). I’ve always known those four days make their way into the other three hundred and sixty one, but I never stopped to consider how many of my possessions originate from there as well.
So here’s a snapshot of my life from those moments.
Ten objects. Five years at TiNA.
During my first year at TiNA, the people of Voiceworks and Farrago spent the entire weekend locked in Staple Manor making this ridiculously pretty little mini-magazine. I’m not entirely sure whether they slept. The zine is Nanoworks, and there’s a story in there that I wrote in less than an hour. It’s called ‘Hens’ Teeth’ and it found its way into a play I wrote earlier this year.
I have two copies of this zine, ‘Having Trouble Letting Go’. One of them I tucked away in a safe place and the other I blue-tacked to my wall. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve carefully removed this strip of paper from one surface and tacked it up again on another wall. It’s come with me through two moves and it’ll come with me when I move again. I’ve always meant to get it framed…
I’ve super-glued the Scrabble tile back onto its little hoop of metal half a dozen times. This ring has been lost and found and lost again. It’s been packed in bags and left on sinks and windowsills. For a long time, it was an essential when I was packing to go anywhere. I liked what it said about the person that I was. I need to glue it back together again.
Apeirophobia means “fear of infinity”. I wanted one that said “fear of escalators” but that isn’t a mainstream fear and so I got this one instead because I could relate to it. The edges of the badge are peppered with rust stains now, leaking from the metal up through the paper. Once I met someone who knew what Apeirophobia meant without me having to tell them.  
The ball theme was “Big Top” and my brother was going as one of those people with megaphones who stand outside old-timey circuses. I was camping with friends the week before TiNA and I found this flat, straw hat at an op-shop on the coast. I bought it for Fin, hoping that he’d like it. He wasn’t living with me then. I missed him terribly and I was so excited about him coming to visit for TiNA.
In 2011, I was involved in a completely ridiculous dating event called ‘Writer Wants a Wife’. This business card belongs to Luke Ryan, the person who I went on a bizarre, arranged date with. The cards were new, I think, and there were four different words printed on the backs of them. He fanned them and let me pick one. The word I got was “unctuous” which means oily. Everyone agreed this was probably not a good omen. 
The week before TiNA in 2012, I went into one of those discount jewellery shops. They had a “Three Things for $10” deal and I spent far too long scouring the racks for three perfect pieces. I wanted things that encapsulated that year’s ball theme: Hip Hop Safari. My brother and boyfriend went as a stretch Jeep. I went as a giraffe. To this day, we keep our Tupperware in a hollowed out Jeep costume.
My boyfriend and I had a zine stall that year and we made a collection of mixtapes to sell. This was my contribution: A Beginner’s Guide to Musical Comedy. I’m still irrationally proud of this tape. I’ve listened to it over and over again in my car, singing loudly with the windows down and not caring that lots of the lyrics are swear words. Sometimes people give me odd looks at traffic lights.

I made lanyard into a verb during NYWF this year. On a number of occasions, I had to be the official NYWF representative at an event and, not knowing what to call that responsibility, I called it lanyarding. When explaining to people that I was involved in the festival this year, instead of telling them I was the Director’s Assistant I found myself saying: “I’m on the lanyard” and then showing them my name and phone number, printed under “Key Contacts” on the back.
My boyfriend and I were Prom King and Prom Queen at that Paranormal Formal. We got matching tiaras and sashes that were sticky with fabric paint (so sticky in fact that they were whipped away from us before the wet paint did too much damage). We danced in the dark with tiaras on and I walked to the car with them swinging from my fingers.  
Special mention to my brother Fin, for his advice and patience in helping me with these photos.

Further reading

December – home

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