Operation Oysterhood: 8 July

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

— @HaggardHawks


In her eco-romance thrillers, Melissa A. Volker has the protagonists represent different views on a particular environmental issue (fracking in A Fractured Land and wind energy in Shadow Flicker, the first book Karavan Press ever published – which still feels as miraculous as it did last year!), and yet fall in love and have to resolve their differences in ways that are respectful, towards each other and the environment. Love always wins in the end. To launch the two novels last year (the US edition of A Fractured Land appeared a year before and we published both books in SA simultaneously), I had a hundred bookmarks printed with the book covers and the Karavan Press logo represented on either side. For obvious reasons, the one I kept for myself, is my favourite bookmark and I only use it for very special books (right now: Around the World in 80 Words). Today, instead of a book, the bookmark spread all the necessary romance love that was needed to keep the peace between the two ladies on my bed. We spent the whole morning like that, reading in bed. No fighting, just love and warmth of our togetherness. When you read Melissa’s novels that is what you get in the end as well: love and warmth. And she is well into her third one and I can’t wait to see where it will take us.

Apart from the lovely morning with cats, books and coffee in bed, and the walk around Rondebosch Common that followed, today was one of those days when I didn’t really have time to sit down and relax (although I did have a heartwarming phone conversation about heart matters with my dear friend Erika) and was working all the time, yet nothing truly tangible resulted from all the sweat and toil. Although I could list all the amazing things that are in progress, nothing seems finalised or finished yet, and all feels uncertain. But we are getting there, and days like today are also necessary in order to get things done.

The two pieces online that I found extremely valuable reading since yesterday were Koleka Putuma’s “I Would Rather Breathe than Think Outside the Box” and “A Letter on Justice and Open Debate“.

“I turned down anything that required me to join the endless online festivals, zoom panel discussions, Instagram takeovers and live readings. I refused all opportunities that needed me to grapple with any sort of forced normalcy.”

— Koleka Putuma

That term “forced normalcy” is exactly what has been troubling me all along during the lockdown, but I could not capture it in two words. If you ever struggled to understand why poetry/poets/creatives are necessary … there you have it. Months of agony perfectly summarised. In two words. Thank you.

“The way to defeat bad ideas is by exposure, argument, and persuasion, not by trying to silence or wish them away.”

Harper’s Magazine

I find the attempts at silencing EVERYWHERE so extremely debilitating. Even worse, perhaps, is the refusal to listen and engage with the ideas of someone’s arguments. Instead of clarifying, finding common definitions and grounds, many just fire away and hope that by shouting the loudest, they will get what they want.

Kindness, cooperation, empathy, middle ground, togetherness … Suddenly, they all feel like obsolete ideas. Just the shouting and intolerance get louder and louder.

Anyway …

Alan Winde tested positive for Covid-19. This made me terribly sad and anxious.

And I still don’t know what to think of Takealot selling coffins online, and other outlets even offering a DIY coffin, IKEA-style. I have always been very good about assembling IKEA furniture, and at R2 600, a DIY coffin is a bargain. I also have an attic where it could easily wait for me, hopefully for many, many years to come … At least my loved ones wouldn’t have to spend a fortune on cremating me. BUT: coffins being sold ONLINE???

Do you think that Takealot is sending out coffins for reviewing?

Takealot coffin

The day ended with a braai, the last one before the storm. Mozart catssisted. Note the levels of sexiness involved (winter socks and slippers) … And I can’t even blame it on the lockdown.


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



Calm before the storm …

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