Operation Oysterhood: Day Sixty-Nine

OYSTERHOOD is reclusiveness or solitude, or an overwhelming desire to stay at home.

— @HaggardHawks

My copy of Sea Star Summer by Sally Partridge has arrived, delivered today by courier just before I went out for a walk. Anyone who knows how much I adore Sally’s writing will be able to imagine the smile I had on my lips while walking around the Rondebosch Common. People who saw me walking also had to imagine my smile, as it was hiding behind a mask, a new one that I was testing out today.

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Light, easily reusable and wonderful to breathe in. But looking at the photograph, I have the same reaction I have whenever I see people in their masks: disbelief. Throughout the years, I had heard the warnings, read the books and watched the movies, but I’d never truly believed that I would end up living in such a reality. And here we are. And I am aware that one day soon it will all become ordinary, this chaos and loss and sadness. The possibility scares me.

In a way, Sally’s Sea Star Summer, and all the books being published during this period of precariousness, are pandemic survivors. These books are appearing against all odds and every one of them should be cherished and applauded. And read. I am so looking forward to this one. I am still at snail-reading-pace when it comes to books (essays, articles, short stories are easier to focus on and process), but I am patient and forge ahead. Slowly.

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Today, Glinka was my catssistant throughout the afternoon of admin and editing and preparing something really lovely for Karavan Press. We have received good news about one of our titles and this added a spring to my step today. Patience, kindness, hard work and hope. Sometimes it all works out in the end after all.

I am continuing with my slow reading of In a Time of Plague: Memories of the ‘Spanish’ Flu Epidemic of 1918 in South Africa by Howard Philips. One of the testimonies reminded me of this:

I read Mhudi quite a while ago and, of course, did not remember this detail. Plaatje’s daughter Olive contracted the flu in 1918 “and probably died of its lingering after-effects in 1921, aged 16.”

Such dedications will be written during our pandemic, but in my secular way I pray to all literary gods and goddesses that I don’t have to write one of them for one of my books.

Be kind to yourself. Be kind to others. Stay at home.

“Physical distancing remains one of the key strategies to curb this pandemic.”

— NICD

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