We had a tough time choosing Hack Residents this time around. We ended up picking not one, but three, so you can only imagine how amazing each of them must be. The first introduction we need to make is to poet, writer, and storyteller, Kaitlyn Plyley. Everyone, meet Kaitlyn.
What was your role before you came to The Edge? And before that? And before that?
I like to group everything I do under “freelance creative work” (AKA “where’s my next pay coming from, aargh”) but I suppose my main role before I came to The Edge was “Artist in Creative Development” at Metro Arts. I’m a poet and I teach storytelling workshops for Yarn: Stories Spun in Brisbane. I’ve done a bunch of different jobs, including boarding house assistant and student magazine editor. When I first moved to Brisbane I was selling gummy bears while wearing canary-yellow overalls (I have destroyed all the photos).
Have you ever lived overseas? What were you doing?
When I was nineteen, I spent seven months travelling around the world. For a good part of that trip I worked as a lifeguard on a Jewish summer camp in Massachussetts. I got a deep tan and learned the Motzi off by heart. I also worked as a film intern in Colorado; in exchange, the film company let me live in their attic. It was pretty great, except for the ghosts.
I lived in London for a semester abroad while I was at university, which was one of the best things I’ve ever done. After the semester finished, I couch-surfed around Europe until my student visa ran out. Sometimes, when I’m at home in my poorly-ventilated Queenslander and very bored, I remember that I once ice-skated across a frozen lake in Holland; it reminds me what a lucky life I’m leading.
Do you have a piece of advice or a motto that helps you make decisions in life?
The motto that is currently helping me get past my perfectionist tendencies is “done is better than good”. I just try to get things done. When I’m making decisions about which path to take in life, I ask myself, “Would this make a good story?” It’s a pretty helpful decision-making tool, but does mean you sometimes end up sleeping in haunted attics.
Do you have any hobbies or interests? Collections? Unusual ways you like to spend a Thursday evening?
On Sunday afternoons, I co-host a feminist radio show on 4ZZZfm called Megaherzzz. I’m quite interested in feminism, particularly of the fourth-wave, intersectional kind. I love being on the show and take our work quite seriously, but I guess you could say my hobby is to work in as many puns as possible on-air. Also, on my first episode as co-host, I just kept saying the word “butt” to see what I could get away with. So far they’ve found my feeble antics to be mildly entertaining. I hope.
When you open your web browser what are the first three tabs you open up?
Facebook, Gmail, Twitter. Yeah, I’m a social media junkie. I started my Twitter account when I was an Ambassador for National Young Writers’ Month, without any clue or interest in the platform. That was three years ago, and now I’m on Twitter, er, quite a lot. The other day I had my publicist friend, who has a Master’s in social media marketing and works exclusively in that sector, say, “Wow, you spend a lot of time on Twitter”. That was worrying.
Are you in the habit of keeping strange pets?
I rent, so it’s difficult to keep pets, but I do try to adopt the pets of neighbours. Yesterday I held a three-month-old Alsatian puppy in my arms. It was bliss.
Smartphone or snail mail? Either way, any favourite stamps or favourite apps?
I don’t see why we need to choose between smartphones and snail mail – it’s all excellent. I’m a rabid communicator and will use every medium at my disposal. Except Snapchat – that is just ridiculous.
In my spare time I like to watch YouTube interviews with Jennifer Lawrence. I would like to be her best friend one day. I don’t know what my endgame is here; maybe I think, if I watch every public appearance she’s ever made, this will help me befriend her? That is not how I made any of my current friends, but this is a thing that goes beyond logic.
If you were to give me $10 I would spend it on music downloads. That’s right, I still pay for downloads. I’m one of the few remaining idiots. And it’s not just because I enjoy the moral high-ground – I also don’t know how to torrent.
If you were to give me $1000 I would spend it on contact lenses. It’s not that I don’t love my glasses – I do. But you can’t wear frames when you’re snorkelling and I’m really tired of blurry fish.
Mac or PC? Mac. Is this even a question? (I didn’t type that last part; my MacBook has an ‘autofill’ function. I must also type that I heartily endorse Apple and all its products. Damn! I don’t know how to stop this.)
Dog or cat? I adore cats but have found them more likely to attack me, so I prefer dogs. It’s easier to spot an angry dog and avoid it. Cats, on the other hand, are like the Volturi of domestic pets: they seem all civilised and well-spoken, and then they’re ripping your throat out.
Anything else you want to share? After seeing one of my poetry slams, ‘80s music legend Kamahl once told me I was “very good”.