Operation Oysterhood: 27 July

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

— @HaggardHawks


An ordinary Monday. Not the best of nights, and this evening, my cheeks are sore again, but the day itself went well, with most tasks set also accomplished, at least the urgent ones. Highlight of the day: a visit to the art shop. I needed materials for a project and had the most wonderful time choosing the paper and colours. A new challenge. And a small drawing came to me again (but still on old paper, with my usual pencils).

‘Don’t get it,’ warned Alan Winde on the radio this morning, when asked about what he had to say about being ill with Covid-19. Someone I haven’t heard from for many months wrote to me today, saying that she’d also been infected. I know most people survive and are well. But … Fortunately, as far as I can judge, the numbers in the Western Cape are stable to falling, and our province might have the worst behind it. At least in terms of infections. The impact on livelihoods will continue haunting us for a very long time.

Every day, people ring my bell, asking for food. When I direct them to the place where they will be assisted and given food for free in our neighbourhood, they always have a story why they can’t go there and why they need my help. It is hard to know whom to believe. Impossible to explain why I will never open the gate to an unannounced stranger ever again.

My own worries pale in comparison, but they also exist. I keep forging ahead, believing in my dreams, but the reality out there does not allow one to be too optimistic. I read, write, review, publish and dream books for a living, and I continue supporting books and authors on all possible fronts, but right now it feels like an impossible quest. And then I get inquiries from people who want me to publish their books, but they haven’t even read a single thing I have written or published – they just assume that I could be a means to an end, I suppose. It saddens me. Anyway. I still can feed myself and my family, so I shouldn’t complain. And apart from anything else, I love what I do. That in itself is a huge gift. I just need to learn how to say ‘no’. And to say it gently. Because being cruel always comes back to haunt one.

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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