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Helen Moffett

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Why I look dazed all the time

Dear Goddess, it’s the 1st of August already. The shock led me to tally up this most unreal year so far:

Books written/co-written: Three. Two Girl Walks In books as part of Helena S. Paige. One university textbook – thank you, Sophy Kohler, for careful proofreading, and Rachel Zadok for helping with research when I was desperate). In production terms, one book published in e-format, one at printers, one currently undergoing rewrites.
Books still to write (by November): Two (one Girl book, another university textbook).
Books edited: Team Trinity, by Fiona Snyckers (edited mostly last year, published 2012); Running and other stories, by Xhosi Xaba (to be launched at Open Book in September).
Books précised: Adam Habib’s The Suspended Revolution (here I had help: thank you, Karen Jennings).
Books proofread: The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes (UK and SA editions).
Manuscripts currently in edit shop: iGlassy Glassy by Robyn Goss, with Thando Mgqolozana’s Unimportance about to squeeze in too.
Manuscripts still to edit: Richard de Nooy’s The Unsaid; if I’m lucky, I will also get to edit Alex Smith’s new novel later this year. First thing next year, I edit Lauren’s Broken Monsters.
Manuscripts assessed: Sally Partridge’s most recent novel (voodoo Cape Town is all I’m going to say) – with luck, I’ll edit that too.
Manuscripts peeked at and which I’ll get to line-edit, yay: Sarah Lotz’s The Three (terrifying and compulsive); Tom Eaton’s next novel-in-progress.
Books that escaped my editing clutches: C.A. Davids’s The Blacks of Cape Town; Pumla Gqola’s A Renegade called Simphiwe – it still kills me that I couldn’t squeeze them in.
Training workshops: Five, including two weeks of working with the Parliamentary Research Group.
Training workshops still to do: Three – two this month.
Average hours slept per night: Five.
Meals eaten per day: Four, if you count toast and cheese at 1.30am most days.
Weight gained: Six kilos (see sleep and meals above).
Injuries: One bump on head, one septic thumb. Bump on head causes bizarre experience of “partial retrograde amnesia”, which means that I become Taylor from The Bold and the Beautiful (sans silicone), the last nine weeks of last year go missing, and the first few months of this year are a bit patchy too. Meanwhile Meg has TWO run-ins with Next Door’s Burmese that end in tears (mine), anaesthetics, X-rays and stitches. Lily nearly dies of biliary (septic thumb is courtesy of the bite she gave me as the vet slid in a particularly big needle). Gain insight into why my child-bearing friends are far more harrowed by their offspring’s illnesses than their own.
Travel to furrin parts: After swearing I would never ever leave home again, I flap off to Blighty – twice in a four-month period. Zoom around the Cotswolds in spring, inspecting wedding venues and interviewing wedding planners. This is bona fide research.
Literary festivals attended: Franschhoek Literary Festival, McGregor Poetry Festival. Open Book Festival coming up apace.
Most surprising commission: being asked by The Sun (yes, the UK tabloid) to write a piece about gender violence in SA after the shooting of Reeva Steenkamp.
SARS headaches: multiple, thanks to changes in disability legislation; four years’ worth of back paperwork submitted.
SARS audit: one (so far).
Six days of escape: on my parents’ farm. (Although I did take work.)

I hope this explains why I have missed your birthday, your child’s birthday, even (hangs head in shame) a memorial service or two. Also why my bum is the consistency of jelly, and my house is a tip. Please consider this a note excusing me from everyday life until February next year.


Recent comments:

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Sally</a>
    August 2nd, 2013 @08:43 #

    You need a month long holiday

  • Amanda Coetzee
    Amanda Coetzee
    August 2nd, 2013 @12:17 #

    I'm exhausted just reading the article. Would love to read your Sun feature - not sure they are the champions of gender equality but willing to change my mind!

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Richard de Nooy</a>
    Richard de Nooy
    August 2nd, 2013 @14:45 #

    Good grief, Helen, I now feel like I am party to your demise. Don't overdo it.

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Cat Hellisen</a>
    Cat Hellisen
    August 2nd, 2013 @17:34 #


    Now *I* need a lie-down....

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    August 3rd, 2013 @11:22 #

    Sincerely hope this did not come across as what Lauren calls "bragplaining". I adore what I do -- it's just that there's a lot of it right now, and my head feels swimmy all the time. My year is a lot better than Sarah Lotz's though; she doesn't pause for breath until next April, but which time she will have written, or co-written, seven books in 18 months.

    I should add I have a MS by Matthew Blackman in my inbox too, although not yet in the factory -- v. exciting.

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    August 8th, 2013 @09:58 #

    Test comment.


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