Monthly Archives: December 2022

Goodbye, 2022!

Imagine Little Prince’s ‘hat’ upside down. This is how I see 2022 in retrospect. A good beginning, a deep dive into awfulness, a few months of a terrible low, and a gradual return to stability. There were several significant highs, but they had to compete against a lot of darkness.

I want to focus on the highs (not included are the the wonderful things that happened at Karavan Press – the whole year was a highlight because we survived and have a future!).

January: Watched a beautiful wedding on Zoom. Climbed Table Mountain and had dinner at The Hoghouse for my 45th birthday. A fabulous, unforgettable bubbly weekend at Graham Beck followed.

February: A beautiful weekend of literature, wine and delicious food in Elgin, one of my happy places.

March: A magical trip to the Seychelles where I was reunited with my Mom and Krystian and went snorkeling for the first time; we celebrated all the birthdays we missed celebrating during lockdown and loved every second of being together. The return of the (mini) Open Book Festival.

April: Watched the magical Firefly at the Baxter. Visited Oudrif, one of my other happy places. Had a haircut to remove all the bad energy gathered in the tips of my hair.

May: Neighbour’s 70th birthday celebration. Franschhoek Literary Festival and Kingsmead Book Fair.

June: I don’t remember much.

July: Topolino became mine after I paid off the loan. Rosebank Writers met for the first time. The Kenyan writer Idza Luhumyo was awarded the 2022 AKO Caine Prize for African Writing for her short story ‘Five Years Next Sunday’, published in Disruption (2021) – a SSDA anthology I co-edited with Rachel Zadok and Jason Mykl Snyman.

August: A dear friend’s 40th birthday party. Another trip to our beloved Oudrif.

September: Return of the (maxi) Open Book Festival. A weekend in Saldanha with new, lovely friends. Blown Away by Books. Gothenburg Book Fair.

October: Visit with Mom and Krystian in Austria for three weeks (and finding great memories in the boxes of my old stuff stored in my Mom’s attic)! Cape Flat Book Festival.

November: Road trip and literary festival in Richmond. Spiritual walk with a new friend in Lundadno. Aunt Zosia’s first visit in Cape Town.

December: The Book Lounge’s 15th birthday party. Second Karavan Press Literary Festival. Beethoven 9th at City Hall. Relaxed Christmas. Meeting my step-great-granddaughter for the first time.

Throughout the year, with the help of my friend Joanne, I managed to continue working on the manuscript of No and Other Contradictions. The first draft is almost finished. And considering that we met only once a week for about forty times, about three hours of writing each time, I think that this is a gigantic achievement.

Greatest lesson of 2022: Setting healthy boundaries is life-saving/changing.

Best books of 2022 (apart from the ones I published at Karavan Press, of course) in no particular order:

  • The Dark Flood
  • Stolen Focus: Why You Can’t Pay Attention
  • Mothers, Fathers and Others: New Essays
  • Ougat: From a Hoe Into a Housewife and Then Some
  • Mad Bad Love
  • It Doesn’t Have to Be This Way
  • Madwoman
  • The Men
  • Trauma: The Invisible Epidemic
  • The Memory of the Air
  • Chouette
  • Pip and Egg
  • The Invincible Miss Cust
  • Panya Routes: Independent Art Spaces in Africa
  • The Chaos Machine: The Inside Story of How Social Media Rewired Our Minds and Our World
  • Can Themba: The Making and Breaking of the Intellectual Tsotsi
  • Desert Star

I am still reading a few that I wish I had finished this year, but …

Hello, 2023! :)

Christmas 2022

At dinner last night, a friend and I reminisced about delighting as children in the simplest things just because they were special to us: for her it was sweets and for me it was oranges. She grew up in a time and place when sweets were not easily attainable, and even though my time and place were different, oranges were just as unattainable for me. I would sometimes get one orange as a gift for Christmas, and every time I peel one today, I still think of my childhood. In my friend’s family, they called these simple treasures ‘luxuries’. Many years later, they still use the word and it still holds its magic. When we parted, I wished my friend a luxurious festive season. And today, I wish it for all of us. May we delight in the simple things, and never take them for granted.

My Christmas Eve’s table is set – as is the tradition in our home at Christmas time, I set it for one extra person in case someone needs a place at our table – and my heart is filled with luxuries. I wish everyone health and love and luxuries this Christmas and in the New Year. Merry Christmas!