Operation Oysterhood: 14 July

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

— @HaggardHawks


The sky reflecting in a puddle of water on the Rondebosch Common.

Fourteen degrees in the house. I worked all morning in bed. I got up only because I wanted to skype with Mom and Krystian around lunchtime and knew that I would be without power from mid-afternoon.

Last night, I fell asleep watching a YouTube video on my laptop. YouTube continued entertaining me for nearly the entire night with random clips until about five a.m., when I woke up, put the computer off, and slept again. I was too scared to check the browser’s history to see what my poor subconscious mind had to absorb at the mercy of YouTube’s random choices during the night …

Today, my dear friends, Erika and Kobus, are celebrating their thirtieth wedding anniversary. How wonderful is that! Whenever I think of what marriage could be about – love, understanding, friendship, companionship, raising a family not only with unconditional love but also with true dedication, looking at the future always through a common lens, believing in each other no matter what, talking to each other even through adversity and disagreement – I know that it is possible, because here they are, three decades later, with so much that they can be proud of and delight in as partners, parents and individuals. That is quite something, and it is a rare something in this world.

(In comparison, my first marriage also began on 14 July, sixteen years ago, but did not even survive past its first anniversary …)

Exciting day at Karavan Press. The cover reveal of Lester Walbrugh’s upcoming short story collection, Let It Fall Where It Will.

Let It Fall Where It Will by Lester Walbrugh

Lester took the haunting photograph. The car in the image has an incredible story that I hope Lester will share when the book is out. Stephen Symons designed the cover. We have been trying out different images and covers for months now, the lockdown slowing everything down, but when this one came along, we just knew it was it.

To continue publishing as a tiny independent press right now feels a bit like living in denial. It is impossible to get a sense of how sustainable it will be. But whenever I recall the literary thrill I experience every time I read one of Lester’s stories and think of what they will mean to other readers, I don’t care what the market looks like and whether publishing is financially viable – there are stories that need to be in the world, no matter what the odds. Sharing books like this one with readers is the reason I founded Karavan Press.

The moment loadshedding started this afternoon, I left the house to walk around the Rondebosch Common. Then I worked a bit outside to clean up some of the post-storm mess in my garden. Computer work, mainly admin, continued until it was time for chicken soup and starting a fire for the evening.

Day one hundred and ten of lockdown. Close to three hundred thousand confirmed cases, well over four thousand deaths. Conservative estimate: let’s say that each person, on average, is mourned by about a hundred people (family, friends, acquaintances, work colleagues) – that is roughly four hundred thousand people in mourning right now, just because of Covid-19. Collective trauma. Please be kind to others.

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


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