OYSTERHOOD is reclusiveness or solitude, or an overwhelming desire to stay at home.
The hottest weekend this summer, by far. For someone with low blood pressure, this kind of heat requires a lot of bedrest in a cool ancient Victorian house designed for such temperatures, lots of reading, tennis watching, diving into a pool, gentle sunbathing in the late afternoon sun, and a steady supply of chilled wine. Mission accomplished, I am happy to say.
My lovely neighbours visited for drinks and snacks on Friday; on Saturday, my love and I went to the Theatre on the Bay to watch Alan Committie’s Comedy Carousel (and had a good laugh); on Sunday, we watched Survivor 41 (another exciting season).
Friday was an admin day, Saturday was reserved for rest only, and today, I worked on my book.
I am reading a truly fascinating book that is going to change – is already changing – my life: Stolen Focus – Why You Can’t Pay Attention by Johann Hari. It’s not that the research and ideas he presents in the book are totally new to me, or that I haven’t experienced or felt exactly what the author had gone through at some stage, but his coherent analysis of the situation and the solutions he presents to the challenges we face are stunning. With every page I read, I feel empowered to do better and to safeguard my sanity and focus, and my creativity, empathy and humanity. These are not trivial things! Stolen Focus is essential reading for our times and I am grateful that my love brought the book to my attention.
I am also grateful to myself for never succumbing to the pressure to join Facebook or WhatsApp (and I am constantly bombarded with requests to do so). I have a cellphone that takes pictures and connects to the internet, but it is not the cellphone I use for making phone calls or sending text messages. Apart from these two functions (calls/text messages), all my notifications are off at all times on both phones (one is always on silent, the other most of the time – the reason I put it on to ring is actually quite horrible: in case ADT phones when my alarm goes off …). I mostly use the cellphones when I feel like it, not when they demand my attention. People sometimes get very angry about my telephonic unavailability – and I always say, if you really need me, I have a landline and I will always hear it ring when I am at home; when I am not at home, I probably do not want to be bothered with phone calls anyway. And even if it takes a while sometimes, I do reply to text messages – eventually. Two of the websites/blogs I run (Karavan Press and Philida Literary Award) have been ad-free since inception (this personal one for several years now) and I am very happy to pay for this freedom. I still spend much too much time on Twitter and Instagram, but as of now, I have not managed to really figure out how much of a tool these social media are for my own professional and private use in comparison to how much they use and abuse me. I assume that further investigation/introspection will reveal that change in this respect is necessary, too. However, one way or another, I have been quite precious about the way I interact with the computer, the internet and the cellphone. And I know there is still lots of room for improvement. My focus is definitely not what I want it to be and I am going to do what I can to restore it to what I remember it like from before the attempts to steal it became a reality and a threat to the integrity of my/our world. It is poetic karma that a physical book will help me find the right path forward. As I am reading, I am also trying to reconfigure how I rest, sleep, time-manage and be kind to myself and to everything that is meaningful for me. It is an empowering journey to be on. A bit scary, too, but I am often braver than I think, and usually quite resolute.
I love being creative and I love writing – thank you for reading and sharing this journey with me.
Be kind. Wear a mask. Support local. Get vaccinated, please. Live.
“Physical distancing remains one of the key strategies to curb this pandemic.”