Operation Oysterhood: 17 July

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

— @HaggardHawks

Caught in the act: Salieri trying to tweet while I wasn’t looking.

The day began with all kinds of body aches, but ended with a fire and deep professional satisfaction.

A painkiller and coffee dealt with the body aches. And then all kinds of good things began to happen (apart from one unpleasant discovery involving my postbox, see below).

In the morning, my friend and translator, Erika, stopped by to deliver copies of our book – Die Vyfde Mevrou Brink – that need to be signed by both of us and returned to our publisher. We exchanged the books in the garden and sat a few metres apart just smiling at each other with our eyes. It was simply wonderful to see her, her new lockdown hair, and to hear her news. A happy, happy start to the day.

Then there was lovely manuscript work to do and just before lunch a letter arrived in my inbox from an author I have worked with before and hope to work with again – and it was just full of possibilities and things to dream about.

After lunch, the dirty floors were saying, ‘So far and no further, Karina!’ I washed them all and did some laundry. And then I discovered that someone had attempted to remove the front piece of my postbox with a lot of force, bending a side, but not succeeding in getting the thing free. I had no idea that this could be of worth to anybody, but seeing the damage made me once again realise how desperate people are right now, and how vigilant one must be to remain at least semi-safe. Not wanting the potential thief to return with better tools, I just removed the whole thing and will have to find a way to secure it more permanently.


I finished editing the manuscript and started a fire in the evening. It was time for another Hoghouse feast. Their BBQ bag is finger-licking good. My fingers were too sticky to take photographs this time, so here is one of their own from the Hoghouse Bakery website.

I just had to make a fire. And eat. Now, I am full, and happy, and the leftovers will keep me going for the weekend.

And just when I thought that things couldn’t get any better, another email arrived in my inbox about one of the existing Karavan Press titles, Theatre Road. I know I am biased, but there is no doubt that this collaboration between the two legendary women, both great, inspiring creative beings, Thembi Mtshali-Jones and Sindiwe Magona, is truly special. And to see once again how the book is being read and received has brought tears of joy to my eyes. The ultimate perfect end to the working week. I am flooded with gratitude.

Thembi and Sindiwe

Being an independent publisher right now is crazy. “But we will stay afloat,” a friend wrote to me today in reference to writing and publishing. Yes, we will. A lot can be achieved with common dreams, and it is so heartening to be able to be friends and work together with people who have vision and integrity. My heart is full today.

Be kind. Stay at home. Wear a mask everywhere else.

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


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