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Anne Townsend

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

An Open Letter to my Book

Dear Lara,

I can no longer refer to you as ‘my manuscript’, or ‘the third draft of my book.’ As we both know, that doesn’t describe you. So Lara it is. As soon as Liz, my editor, told me that she’d accept you as her house guest while she licks you into shape, I heard your name and it was/is Lara. You and I have been a team, Lara, but now that we have Liz on board, get this: we’re a threesome.

You and I have been hanging out since 2011. We’ve been to Darling on a road trip (2015), we’ve hung out in Bangkok for a total of five weeks (2015/2016), we’ve had countless (hectic) sessions at Surfer’s Corner and Kalk Bay (2015/2016/2017) and we travelled together to Barrydale on the border of the Overberg and the Klein Karoo (March 2017). We’ve been hosted by PRIMI PIATTI, the Majestic Café in Beach Road, and more recently, at Jam Tarts Café on Route 62. Double espressos, iced lemon water and the occasional Pina Colada have lubricated our sessions, as well as a variety of breakfasts, lunches and side dishes.A3 Colour print

Other people find you ‘electric’, ‘wow’, and ‘exciting.’ No offence, Lara, but I find you none of those things at this stage. Bottom line: I can’t wait to hand you over to Liz, and let me quote from her mail: ‘We would need to agree upfront that you would send me the entire m/s you want edited (without sending extra bits and pieces afterwards in emails) and would stop work on it while I am busy.’ I felt the red hot stickiness of elation at those lines. Worry not, Liz. I won’t be working on, thinking about, or acknowledging the existence of Lara while she’s hanging out at your place.

A well-meaning friend has suggested that I start working on another project to avoid the ‘emptiness’ I’ll feel once you’re out of my life. I was thinking more along the lines of rewarding and nourishing free time unencumbered by the monotony of swinging an elephant around a porthole. That is how it feels when I try and squeeze another drop of blood out of you, you and your 42 325 words and your eight chapters. Don’t take this the wrong way, Lara, but I can’t wait for Liz to get her clutches into you. I’ve been the worst kind of smother, and now I am stepping aside to give you some room.

It’s all happening, Lara. You and Liz, without me.


Anne PHD LAANpots



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