It hit me the other day that Christmas this year is going to be bloody awful to survive. And yesterday, I was hit by another thing which almost made it unnecessary to survive anything else as it nearly killed me: a tome of André’s collected short stories. It fell on me from a high shelf while I was reaching for other books. I suppose a fitting end to someone like me who lives for books, but Lady Fate decided that it was not my time to go yet. So I still have some surviving to do next month…
André always maintained that he was not a short story writer, but in fact he started off as one. Short stories are a fine way to “cut your teeth”, as a friend who visited today remarked when I told her about it. Indeed. Back in the day, it was also a way to earn some serious pocket money, and so to support himself in his student days André wrote short stories for magazines in the 1950s (he was barely twenty years old at the time – sigh! – some writers were born with a pen in their beautiful little chubby hands). He collected the individual magazine copies and had them bound into big leather tomes. I estimate there should be just over a hundred stories. Early André Brinks. How exciting is that! I knew about the collected tomes as they are stored in the little André Brink Library next to my study. But until recently I did not feel confident enough in my grasp of Afrikaans to attempt reading them. However, I do now!
When Christmas revealed itself as the nightmare that it is going to be this year, I started compiling a list of survival strategies. Since travelling is a bit of an issue, I can’t go to my family in Austria or Poland. And anyway, being away from home this year is simply impossible to imagine. So, Christmas in Cape Town it is going to be.
Karina’s How to Survive Christmas this Year List:
One: Watching all Sissi movies (for the hundredth time – hey, anything to survive!).
Two: Star Wars (whoever planned the release date for the latest Star Wars movie can pick up a really passionate kiss of gratitude from me, anytime – all yours, whoever you are!)
Three: Throwing the Christmas Party of the Year for my friends, divine Polish Christmas dishes and fireworks included.
Four hit me on the head: Reading all of André’s early short stories (some were written especially for Christmas!).
Five was added this morning: I was invited and accepted to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with my other family, the families of dear friends.
If I won’t be killed by falling books in December, I might be around for 2016! Pray for me.
It sounds as if those falling books were a way of André reaching out to remind you that he would still be with you this year. I hope the season is good to you.