Operation Oysterhood: 20 April

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

— @HaggardHawks

After the fires

Yesterday morning, I got a phone call asking me to write about the Jagger Library. I wasn’t sure I could find the words to express what I thought, felt. I completed the piece in the evening but wanted to sleep on it before sending it off for publication.

Sleep has been erratic during the last few nights.

In order to begin writing, I consulted my travel diary from 2004. The significance of the fact does not escape me.

“Heritage to ashes, dust to dust.” (LitNet, 20 April 2004)

Layer upon layer of grief, scars, unfathomable sadness.

I got up early this morning to complete the revisions, send off the article, and returned to bed with more coffee to finish the – interrupted by the Sunday fire – proofreading of A Hibiscus Coast by Nick Mulgrew.

The firefighting continued throughout the day; helicopters in the air.

I briefly spoke to Nick on Skype about the final corrections of his beautiful – beautiful! – debut novel in the late afternoon. Then I rushed off to EB Cavendish to the (live!!!) launch of Illuminated Darkness, the debut poetry collection by Jacques Coetzee, published by Nick at uHlanga Press. Jacques was being interviewed by Dawn Garisch, the author of many amazing books, Breaking Milk and Disturbance among them – both published by Karavan Press.

Layer upon layer of creativity, growth, unfathomable togetherness.

Somehow, nearly every day, numb with pain, we manage to get up, hearts on fire, and we forge literary heritage into being. Against all bloody odds.

Even – especially? – when the world is burning all around. Illuminated darkness indeed.

Be kind. Wear a mask. Support local.

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

— NICD

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