There’s always that weird moment on Sunday afternoon when you hug someone goodbye and fail somehow to comprehend how long it will be until you see them again. Maybe it’s difference for the Melbourne contingency, who see each other all year ‘round, but there are an awful lot of people I only see once a year at TiNA.
Sunday was a quiet sort of day. I got up too early after not enough sleep, piled zines into boxes and drove into town. The zine fair was quiet this year. There’s only one level of zines and one of market stalls but we’re right at the top of King Street car park and the view is nice. My boyfriend and I spread the trestle table with zines and mixtapes we’ve made and zines by friends. The day passes lazily as people stroll past and laugh at some zines and ‘Awww’ at others. Seemingly in spite of those who lampooned our desire to sell cassettes in 2012, we sell out of mixtapes which makes me irrationally happy. It’s impossible to know if every tape went to a good home or if they’ll be listened to once and then left on a dusty shelf. But I like to think some of them will be loved.
The Spelling Bee, as always, packed out the Great Northern and I remember the how sceptical I was the first year it was in the programme. I almost didn’t go. Spelling is up there with my least favourite things. But TiNA has a Midas touch and even the more frustrating sections of the dictionary aren’t immune to its effect.
Championship Vinyl, brain child of the delightful Courteney Hocking, was a wonderful way to begin winding the weekend to a close. Lying on beanbags, crushed together with friends, there was something almost transcending about listening to these heartfelt stories and the song that went with them. I cried during Zoe Barron’s final song. I laughed during others. It sounds ridiculous but it’s only in the last eight or so months that I’ve realised how much I love music, how much it means to me. When it was over I almost wanted to go home, to leave TiNA on this high note. But, of course, it could only get better if I stayed.
The final late night reading is something of an institution now, when the festival as a whole clings to those last moments before we have to stand in the cold outside the Royal Exchange and say goodbye. As always the standard was high and the room was packed well into the corridor. For two hours we can pretend it isn’t over because it isn’t, not just yet.
There’s a reason the October long weekend is my favourite weekend of the entire year, a reason I always spend the week following it battling a looming melancholy. It’s not really the National Young Writers Festival that I miss for the rest of the year. It isn’t the events or the parties or even the atmosphere. It’s the people.
So thanks TiNA. For another wonderful time. Until next year. 
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Further reading

December – home

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