Thursday, 25 April 2013

Festivalitis - Tamsyn Murray

My name is Tamsyn and I have an affliction. It's one you might identify with, especially if you've spent much time at literary festivals in your professional capacity as a writer. At the time of writing, there's no known cure. I'm talking, of course, about Festivalitis and I have it bad.

It starts gradually, the symptoms so slight that you don't notice them. You might have had to travel to get to your festival - maybe someone gave you a travel itinery to follow. They probably booked your train tickets for you. You could be met at the station by a nice PR person from your publisher, who plies you with tea and cake and ensures you get to where you need to be.

A typical Green Room view - in the case,
Chipping Norton Lit Fest getting it just right.
At the festival, you might be staying overnight, or even for a few days. You'll stay somewhere nice and be provided with food and drink. Your friendly PR person will make sure you are fed and watered at all times and will strive to ensure you have everything you need at your fingertips - you want buttered unicorn eyeballs? No problem! And the green room will be full of other writers, some of whom know you, all of whom understand you. There will be some mutual preening and a lot of laughter.

Photographers and journalists are fascinated by you. If you're lucky, lots of fans will attend your event and there will be a long signing queue afterwards. Your PR pal will tell you how marvellous you were. And they'll supply you with more tea/wine/cake, then ensure you get on the right train home.

That's when Festivalitis really kicks in. It's been wrapping you in its sticky web without you even realising it and now you're ensnared. The first inkling you'll have is when you look around for a cup of tea and realise you're going to have to get it yourself.

Oh, the horror! It gets worse when you arrive home - your family don't know that you're suffering and can look askance at your request for a glass of something chilled and the menu. For me, I knew I was infected when I got off the train after a few days at Hay, approached the car and stared in confusion at the door handle, wondering why my husband hadn't jumped out to open it for me. I had to put my own suitcase in the boot too, which was another shock. And then it dawned on me that I'd contracted Festivalitis, an affliction which strips away your ability to function properly in the real world. It might go into remission once you've spent a bit of time in the real world but a relapse is only ever an invitation away.

My name is Tamsyn and I have Festivalitis. It has been four days since my last lit fest. I really miss the cake.


adele said...

I love festivals too and wish I could be invited to more...and not only for the cake though that's important!

Ruth Symes said...

Not done many festivals but am off on a week's book tour next week, going all over the place and staying at hotels with 3 different lovely PR people with schedules for newspaper chats and photos. Shall watch out for Festivalitis type symptoms. Although my dog's coming with me one day and I think she's much more prone to it - she will only eat the most yummy treats and spits out the other offerings in disgust. :)

Tam said...

I do too. You can, of course, try to recreate the cake at home but it's never the same.

Tam said...

You will definitely be at risk, Ruth. Welcome to the gang (pooch too)

Joan Lennon said...

Reality is over-rated. That's what I say.

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