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Anne Townsend

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

No Title 26 December 2016

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Photo Credit Anne Townsend Surfer’s Corner

Diary of an Arrival

Diary of an Arrival

Photo Credit Anne Townsend

The Majestic Cafe, Beach Road, Muizenberg

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Photo Credit Anne Townsend Majestic Cafe

Diary of a Departure

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Photo Credit Anne Townsend Surfer’s Corner

Thank you, Blog. You rock. (((((Blog)))))

I know transience. Change. The Transit Lounge. Suitcases. Boxes. Broken leases. Unreturned deposits. Midnight change of plans. 2009. Chek Lap Kok Airport. My suitcase bearing a hot pink sticker. DISEMBARKED. Anne is not flying to Seoul. Long story. Short decision. Walking away into the equatorial pollution of Hong Kong.

My garden at the washing line at Geriva Mansions. Indigenous. French (lavender), UK (roses). Mint, lettuce, spinach and pin cushions. Water slushing through the gutter. What are you doing, woman? A garden. A dog. My own business, running a cottage industry. Rude people calling us unemployed white yuppies. That blunt, crass former politician writing to the Cape Times. (I never give the finger).

Moving to the South Side where I live in a yuppie enclave. Landlocked in concrete. Security guard. Electric fence. The Body Beautiful. Bluebottles, starfish, seaweed. I used to think Muizenberg beach was windswept and distraught. The more time I spend on the sand, the more I notice. It’s not ‘my’ beach. Just as Knead is not ‘my’ café. Let’s put things into perspective here, folks. It’s those who are most territorial who are most homeless. Our bodies know we belong. It’s our minds that make us homeless. (Tara Brach)

Naysayers. Tips. Advice. Warnings. This. That. The Other. Don’t buy in a small town, Anne. Never sell your Vredehoek apartment. Muizenberg?! Brothels and crackhouses. This last nugget from a Kalk Bay resident who laughs at drug dealers, describing them as ‘nice people.’ OK, that’s the drug lord that does business in her street in Kalk Bay.

I love The Transit Lounge. Surfers, beggars, ice cream cones at The Majestic in Beach Road. My French neighbour. The cute dog that accompanied his mom who bought my desk on Sunday and for the first time since I moved in, my ‘apartment’ was a ‘home.’ But don’t we all need advice, tips, warnings, suggestions, this, that, the other?

Nope. I don’t. I need my heart, my gut, my intuition and my Morning Pages. I need Martha Beck, Natalie Goldberg, Augusten Burroughs, Peter Hessler and Eric Weiner. I need my blog on www.bookslive.co.za. Who would have thought? My blog has morphed into the patchwork quilt of home, roots, and belonging that I knew I needed all along. It’s all on here. Especially the Trash Folder holds the key. The deleted posts are the core of my story. Trash. Ping. Gone. Whoosh.

Thank you, Blog. You’ve become my Home Folder. You are my Transit Lounge. No naysayers, no comments, no snide bitches trailing behind me after every post.

Thank you, Blog. You rock. (((((Blog)))))1978864_10202439850495638_697440246_n

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This blog post will not be trashed

As a survivor of child sexual abuse, I have heard it all.

Let bygones be bygones.

It’s the past. Move on.

Are you sure you want to go there, after all this time?

I am sure Mummy didn’t know.

Sexual abuse so wasn’t the pattern in our family.

OK, those were the comments I can remember. The really bad ones I forget.

What are the right comments? Because have you noticed that when someone nowadays has cancer, or is mourning the loss of a husband, or a child, or they have lost a limb, they tend to write articles and books telling us how angry they are at the ways the world failed to meet them. They have been mistreated. People said the wrong thing, or they said it too quickly, or too softly, or they shouted. Or they never said enough. Or they said too much. It just never ends. The way people get it wrong. When your world has caved in, the world needs to get it right else they’re going to be in your article or in your book. And not in the chapter about the good people.

Those who tell us to listen more are often the ones whose listening skills are poor. The very people who boast about being open-minded, are the ones that crack down on any Facebook comments that don’t agree with their status update. The world is going to hell in a hand basket, and the American elections are not yet over. Why are you typing this blog post, Anne, at 23:54pm on a Monday night? Because that’s what blog posts are for. Blogs are anchors for groundlessness. Blogs are there for when you have questions.

It’s not the Bob Hewitts and Bill Cosbys that befuddle me as much as the villages that protect the Bobs and the Bills. If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a village to abuse a child. Can’t everybody just tell the truth? What does Bob Hewitt’s wife think she is doing when she defends her husband in court? Did Bill Cosby’s wife know at the time that he was molesting all those women? Well, she knows now. Let’s forget for a minute about what Bob Hewitt thought he was doing. Why have some of Bob Hewitt’s victims who have stood up to the abuse in public, lost the support of their families, their children, and their friends? What is that all about? Can someone explain to me about the enabling of child sexual abuse? That’s the bit I’m not getting here. It is now 00:07 on a Tuesday morning and Cape Talk is discussing student protests and human faeces. This blog post will not be trashed. It’s a keeper.

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No Title Today

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I’ve never been happier than in Country X

We’ve all encountered them on social media. In my case, that would be Facebook. But I suspect they adopt a similar tone on other forms of social media. You know the type. They’re living in a small town Two Handsin the US, or in Boston, Perth, Vancouver, Wimbledon, or even Sydney. And they’re not happy. We know this because happy people don’t spend all day on the internet. More to the point, happy people don’t feel the need to make snide comments, again and again, about the country they used to call home. And even more to the point, happy people don’t need to tell you how happy and at peace they are in their new home, and how proud they are to be a permanent resident of Country X, Y, or Z. Happy people are engaged in the politics, the economy, the social life, the nature and the general buzz and vibe of their new homes. They’re out there. Engaged. They are not slagging off Jacob Zuma, or smiling about the devaluing of the rand, or/and sneering at the corruption. That’s not engagement, people. That’s obsession. Now that you’re a thirty three hour flight away from the man we call our president, don’t you have better things to do than to list all his evils?

Because here’s the thing about long-term snideness. It’s corrosive. Regardless of how justified your target, it’s the snideness that depletes. (Yes, I know. As in really, really know). So every time you have a strong urge to take one more dig at us, to mock us just that one more (teensy) time, rather snatch a sharp little kitchen knife off your Australian or Kiwi kitchen counter. And then nick yourself on the arm. Just a little scratch. Once it starts hurting, nick yourself again, a little deeper this time. There you go. That’s corrosion for you. It hurts. Now go outside and plant a tree in your New Country. Meet a local. Spend a dollar or a pound on something indulgent. Hug that strong new currency of yours in your Gorgeous New Country. You CAN do it. We are rooting for you. It takes guts, discipline and an iron will. But from behind our electric fences, high walls, and in my case, my very own security guard metres away from my front door (yes, isn’t that fabulous?) we are cheering you on.

You CAN do this. Go and be happy. Somewhere Else.

Chapter One, Passionate Nomad

Ch 1 Mountain

Photo credit Anne Townsend @ Vredehoek, Western Cape