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CANCELLED: Pop-up sale on Saturday!

KP

Dear Readers,

A friend I was in close contact with in the last few days has tested positive for Covid-19 and I need to follow doctor’s orders and isolate. I am not showing any symptoms, but SAFETY FIRST. The sale is CANCELLED. We will celebrate when it is safe to do so again.

I hope my friend will recover soonest.

Literary greetings,

Karina

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Operation Oysterhood: 19 May

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

— @HaggardHawks

Three lucky coins I found today

Rain. The sound is balm for the soul. Not sure how the roof feels about it, though.

Too much is changing and I am struggling to catch up. There are moments when I say to myself ‘I can’t; I am not coping.’ But, somehow, I manage in the end. And I found three lucky coins today. Good omens, let’s hope.

And, most importantly, my love and I have something wonderful to look forward to … I will report back on Sunday.

Be kind. Wear a mask. Support local.

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

— NICD

Operation Oysterhood: 25 December

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

— @HaggardHawks

Christmas Day. My love and I spent the day being lazy together, first at my home, then at his, spending quality time with all the feline members of the family, and reading, sleeping, swimming, drinking bubbly and wine and having braai leftovers and Christmas cake. I treated myself to a sweet dinner with another small cake from the Hoghouse Bakery.

In the evening, I was on Skype with my Austrian family again. And now: bed. The Bosch Binge continues.

More sad news today, but also some good news. It is a constant emotional roller-coaster.

Last night, I had a nightmare about a post-apocalyptic landscape where everyone was lost and despairing. In the nightmare, I managed to find a freshly baked bread and was running to find my love to share the treasure when I woke up. For a few minutes, I was quite disorientated, but then the relief of our reality hit me – my love and I have bread and so much more to share – but even so, there are days when we struggle to keep despair and the feeling of being lost at bay. We are nearing three hundred days of lockdown. At the moment, the pandemic is raging again and we haven’t even reached the peak of the second wave yet. There has never been a good time to get sick, but now is probably one of the worst times to get infected. I keep thinking of the relentless pressure on the healthcare system, the people who care for us in our hours of need, how stretched and stressed they must feel, how utterly exhausted. I selfishly want to keep healthy, but I also want to keep healthy for them. They also need some rest.

Be kind. Wear a mask. Support local.

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

— NICD

Operation Oysterhood: 3 December

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

— @HaggardHawks

It snowed in Austria today. Death and the After Parties went into a limited edition reprint. And with the state of disaster extended once again, and the numbers looking as dire as they are, I feel like I will be writing these Oysterhood Diaries forever …

How many days since 27 March …? Mrs Google, what say you?

250!!!

Let that sink in.

Be kind. Wear a mask. Support local.

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

— NICD

Operation Oysterhood: 6 November

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

— @HaggardHawks

I am writing with Mozart on my lap – it must be the rain that keeps him indoors, wanting cuddles and attention. Or he knows about my nightmares. Malignant narcissism on full display is quite triggering, so I sometimes wake up screaming. The tangerine tantrums continue. And all we need is a balmy, boring blue to set in. We need rest.

I spent the day editing and researching literary archives. The only interruption was a trip to the printers to pick up the first copies of Death and the After Parties by Joanne Hichens. I delivered them to the Book Lounge for Joanne to sign – thank you to everyone who pre-ordered a copy of the book! We always knew it would look stunning, but the real thing is even better than we’d imagined. I cannot thank Monique enough for all her patience and care in designing the book. It is a beauty! And the content … Please read it. You will no regret it. A brave and beautiful book.

What better way to end the working week than with a dinner with my love at The Hoghouse?

We ate and drank well, as always! And I will be having chocolate-chip cookies with my coffee tomorrow morning. No matter what the night brings! Insomnia and nightmares can be magicked away with chocolate-chip cookies as good as those from The Hoghouse!

I contacted Krystian when I started writing to show him Mozart – he was with Mozart’s sister, Myszka. Feline and human siblings meeting on Skype :)

Mozart is still on my lap. I hope I can get him to stay home tonight and sleep on my bed …

Good night.

Be kind. Wear a mask. Support local.

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

— NICD

Operation Oysterhood: 21 October

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

— @HaggardHawks

Forthcoming from Karavan Press: FOR EVERYTHING THAT IS POINTLESS AND PERFECT by Stephen Symons, the press’s first poetry collection.

A day of driving around Cape Town from one corner of the city to another: a heartening (as always) visit at Protea Distribution, my local printer (also always a joy), Clarke’s Bookshop and The Book Lounge (ah, bookshops! – where would we be without them?), two banks (sigh), post office (I love my local post office), recovering Cat (twice, but she is doing great!) and I actually managed to send a book to the printers today. Yay.

Still to come this evening: a trial run for tomorrow night’s JLF@Home event: my interview with Gigi Fenster about her striking memoir, FEVERISH. Tune in at 8PM tomorrow and find out how a conversation about Velcro fantasies (!) led to the writing of an amazing book.

The Book Lounge’s Winnie-the-Pooh and I watch the protest march outside the bookshop earlier today …

Yesterday was rough. There was a moment in the day where I felt this deep-seated, numbing fear in the pit of my stomach that I might not be able to fix everything that needed fixing and a dream would have to be given up in the process of at least attempting to do something. But, as always, my family and my love came to the rescue and talked me through everything, offering practical advice and essential help. I soldier on. But only because of my Loved Ones.

I am tired, but I will go to bed with a lighter heart tonight.

Although there are other crushing concerns that are completely out of my control. I watch the pandemic updates in Europe and across the rest of the world with ever-increasing worry. And, locally, in my secular way I pray that our health minister, his wife and all others suffering because of an infection with the coronavirus recover fully and quickly. I do not understand anyone who is not wearing a mask and/or not trying to keep their distance from others as much as it is feasible. I don’t even remember how to wash my hands in any other way than as if I was preparing for a medical operation. I do not want to get sick. I want to continue fully with my life, personal and professional, but in a way that lowers the infection risk to an absolute minimum. And I pray.

Good night.

Be kind. Wear a mask. Support local.

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

— NICD

Operation Oysterhood: 16 October

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

— @HaggardHawks

My friend Debbie and I at the Baxter: the opening night of The Outlaw Muckridge. It was simply wonderful to be in a theatre again, part of an audience, immersed in a live performance of the best kind. I might have had one shot of tequila too many afterwards to write coherently about the night (or the day), so here are a few photographs:

The creatives behind The Outlaw Muckridge: Alan Committie, Niall Griffin, Louis Viljoen & John Maytham.

What else? I got a few (brief, masked) hugs tonight – my first hugs (apart form my love’s) since the beginning of lockdown. HUGS!

I go to bed a happy woman, tipsy on theatre, tequila and hugs. Good night.

Be kind. Wear a mask. Support local.

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

— NICD

Operation Oysterhood: 15 October

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

— @HaggardHawks

Academic, publisher, writer, Ampie Coetzee, passed away earlier today at the age of eighty-one. He was one of André’s dear friends and I spent many enlightening and entertaining hours in his company. I loved the way he always spoke his mind and did not take any nonsense from anybody. Another great of Afrikaans letters is no longer among us. His insights, words, generosity of spirit will remain in many people’s memories. But it is a small consolation when the heart is sore with yet another loss. This year has taken so much. I think of Ampie’s loved ones and tears roll down my cheeks … Rus in vrede, Ampie!

One of Ampie’s literary ventures was the legendary, courageous publishing house, Taurus. Together with John Miles and Ernst Lindenberg, the first book Ampie published under the imprint was Oomblik in die wind (1975, An Instant in the Wind). And they knew that the censor would be watching … The rest is history, as they say.

What I am attempting with Karavan Press is nowhere near as brave or challenging, but I travel in these footsteps, inspired by people like Ampie, André and the friends with whom they went ‘stealing literary horses’.

Strangely fittingly, together with designer/typesetter, Monique Cleghorn, and author, Joanne Hichens, I visited our printer today to discuss book proofs and the finishing touches of covers. Returning home, I held the new book proofs with the already published Karavan Press books in my hands and knew that I was holding dreams transformed into reality. I still don’t know whether Karavan Press has a long-term future. Understandably, book buying is not on many people’s minds right now. But I refuse to give up and will forge ahead and continue dreaming as long as I possibly can.

I was also at Clarke’s Bookshop today to pick up a review copy of a very special book and I ordered a poetry book from them, which I had hoped would have arrived by now, but is still on its way. I also delivered the proofs of another book to the author, who wrote to me afterwards: ‘I am delighted with my book.’ It will be ready for distribution in early November. I am making the official announcement tomorrow. Karavan Press’s first poetry title. First of many – the next one is already in the making. I am thrilled!

I continue dreaming. And cherishing the people who paved the way before me.

‘Ancient paths. New literary journeys …’

Be kind. Wear a mask. Support local.

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

— NICD

Operation Oysterhood: 14 October

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

— @HaggardHawks

Beauty in my wild garden.

I slept. That is much more than I can say about the previous night (a complete nightmare). A day of work (again), but a bit quieter, framed by morning and evening visits with my love’s recovering cat, who is feeling better and better and allows me to administer fishy-smelling medication without much fuss while my love is busy working. When I returned home this evening, I sat on my own stoep with Mozart on my lap and we watched (I) / experienced (Mozart, who can’t see) the day settle into the evening.

Traffic is beginning to feel ‘normal’. I was stuck in it twice yesterday and today. Strange after all this time of just driving from one end of Cape Town to another without a care in the world about delays …

A friend who is a regular at my literary salons (suspended since April) called today and we made a joint decision to resurrect the salon. It will be an afternoon garden event with masks and social distancing and whatever else needed by all those willing to attend. Let’s talk books and drink wine together again! The mere idea of it makes me smile.

And last night, the Baxter opened its doors to audiences (yay!!!) with the first preview of The Outlaw Muckridge (written by Louis Viljoen, performed by John Maytham, and directed by Alan Committie). I am attending the premier on Friday and can’t wait!

“A pure act of theatre,” John called the play in a CapeTalk interview with Pippa Hudson.

Be kind. Wear a mask. Support local.

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

— NICD

Operation Oysterhood: 13 October

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

— @HaggardHawks

A day of grief. One of my dearest friends suffered a terrible, unexpected loss. It is difficult to imagine. Yesterday in the afternoon, we still corresponded about other challenges that life throws at one, and then in the evening the tragic news of a different kind arrived. Everything seems so fragile right now. There is all this loss everywhere. And helplessness. And so little hope …

Be kind. Please.

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

— NICD