Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Meat Bomb






















Thursday last week: On a beautiful winter's day that feels as if I, with a tiny bit of effort, could climb up somewhere, high, I would see to the edge of the earth, even beyond; it's one of those champagne days where the very ozone bubbles and sparkles.

I had a 9h00 appointment at a travel clinic in town; I did not even feel the prick of the needle that was inoculating me against yellow fever, nor did the malaria tablet regime seem anything but straight forward.

That was followed by a quick breakfast and both excited and anxious thoughts about my upcoming trip.

Then a languid and stop-start minibus taxi ride along the Main Road vein to UCT. Then my favourite: the long, taxing but magnificent walk from where the taxi spat me out in Rosebank - across the street from the Baxter Theatre - all the way up The Mountain and to the doors of the library. It's in here, right now, and in peace, because it's still the vac, that I type these words. This is a calming space that motivates me to work, also to browse the shelves.

I've long wanted to read W.G. Sebald's The Rings of Saturn, which I've just searched for in the cool and windowless basement, which holds the dead quiet treasure chests of the literature section. Ironically, this is the one library section I have no reason to visit while currently studying what I am. But both my spirit and will are weak.

"In August 1992, when the dog days were drawing to an end, I set off to walk the county of Suffolk, in the hope of dispelling the emptiness that takes hold of me whenever I have completed a long stint of work."

I had to put Sebald's book down after the titillating first paragraph; I have to work and can't be distracted, despite how much I desire right now to be just that.

I'll be leaving for Kampala, Uganda on the 15th or 16th of next month. That's where the winner of the non-fiction Koffi Addo Writivism prize for nonfiction will be announced during the course of the writer's festival. On the last night, Sunday the 17th. My story, Meat Bomb, is one of the three short-listed stories.

Right now: Spurts of rain slash my bedroom window as I work on my bed, as I mark assignments, as I re-read the above and berate myself for what feels to me like insipid and lifeless words. Despite the rain I know it's having no impact whatsoever on the terrible drought we're in the middle of, despite that this, Winter, is supposed to be our rainy season. We're each allowed 87 litres of water a day: I shower every second day and strive to wear my clothes for much longer so that I only put the washing machine on, once, every two weeks.