Operation Oysterhood: Day Seventy-Four

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

— @HaggardHawks


Sally Partridge’s Sea Star Summer reminded me of what it feels like to read, just read. I completely lost myself in the story. First book since the lockdown that I managed to devour; just like that. It made me remember what it feels like to be an outsider trying to fit it (god knows what for), to fall in love for the first time, to find solace in a seascape. It also made me think of my first – awful, I must say (just like Naomi’s) – kiss, and of the second one that still makes me smile whenever I reach for it in my memory. (You will never read this, but thank you, L.) It made me think about consent and friendship, and of the importance of being who you are, deep down inside – no matter what others think you should be. It is the kind of book I want all young people to read to understand that it is okay to be different, and all adults to read to remember that incredible, beautiful, unforgettable falling in love for the first time. Thank you, Sally! I knew that this was going to be a difficult week and Sea Star Summer was the heart-warming reminded of all things precious that I needed to hold on to before facing the windmills.


I had another intruder on the property last night, but the alarm system clearly scared away whoever it was. I managed to sleep through the night (all completely sober!). Tonight might be different, though. I already had to take a painkiller for the horrible headache which had descended on me in the afternoon, without mercy. Apart from the lovely morning in a warm bed with a great story to keep me dreaming, and remembering, the rest of the day was quite rough. There were some highlights but, in general, it is hard not to despair. I can’t help feeling naive when I keep asking for a little bit of integrity, and kindness. Especially now. Like my friend Debbie wrote on Twitter today:

“My life is filled with anxiety I never anticipated at this stage of my life. In these troubled times we are all going through some level of personal hell. The love and support from friends is overwhelming. Every single gesture of kindness is a hug and a comfort. Thank you…”

Even if one has only a grain of compassion in one’s being, it’s nearly impossible not to be overwhelmed by the layered, collective trauma we are experiencing. And its repercussions play out in all kinds of ways on many personal levels contributing to the “hell” Debbie writes about.

I think of two things people I deeply respect said to me once. One is: “power is rotten”. The other: “being kind means giving up power”. What many do not understand is that kindness magics a togetherness into being that is stronger and more resilient than power ever could be. And no one has to suffer.

I also survive on gestures of kindness, even if they are as simple as a tiny red heart popping up in my online notifications or a dear friend’s smile I haven’t seen in what seems like forever appearing on my computer screen. Without the love and support of my Loved Ones, I would never come out of my panic room ever again.

(As a complete aside: someone who has not actively posted or commented on their social media account since September last year – please let that sink in: September 2019, nine months ago! – deemed it necessary to comment on one of my light, furry posts about cats this morning with a viciousness I would expect of a bitter enemy, not a complete stranger. Why? What’s the point? I have never, ever interacted with this person before. But out of the blue, they come out of their social media hibernation to try to make me feel bad about wanting to lighten my own spirits and hopefully those of others I actually do interact with and care about. What is wrong with people? Sigh. Block. Forget. What none of us needs right now is carelessness.)

Anyway. The good news is that I am starting a new project that has something to do with animals, another one that is all about a particular landscape, and Karavan Press seems to be on the road again – we are taking it slow, but we are going to make it. And we also have gestures of kindness to thank for it.

Another day at the computer, with some ironing post-dinner to relax. I forgot to eat lunch today. Time for bed and a new book.

Be kind to yourself. Be kind to others. Stay at home. The first patients are arriving at the CTICC. May they all return healthy and safe to their families and friends.

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


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