This painting is called “Women in Motion,” and it is by Lesley Charnock of Cape Town. I brought it home with me and after months of waiting, it is framed and ready to be hung in our home. A woman in motion, that’s me. I’ve already booked my next plane ticket to South Africa. Must go back. Must breathe.
Have had the student BBQ, when my home world and school world merged. Quote of the evening: “Vodka, Miss–kudos!” That after my sweet husband made blinis and served caviar and vodka for my Russian students.
If summer is overdosing in the U.S., it seems to have forgotten northern Europe. Still gray and raining here.
Feel in a holding pattern. Writing. Reading. Remembering. What’s a PhD? It’s just a PhD, my supervisor told me the last time I saw her. What you have here is a book. Write just the PhD first. Filters: youth, narrative, agency.
Taught human rights theories last term, all about agency. Searching. Listening. Listening still.
End of August I start teaching again: Critical thinking–so happy to have the privilege to stretch young minds. Why? How do you know that? What is not being said?
I hear the wind and smell lavender. Rondebosch. I taste honey. Free State. Do you remember my questions? Stellenbosch. The neighbor’s child cries. Fish Hoek. My fingers tapping on the keys. Cape Flats. Young eyes hoping.
because of you this country no longer lies between us but within
it breathes becalmed after being wounded in its wondrous throat
in the cradle of my skull it sings, it ignites my tongue, my inner ear, the cavity of heart shudders towards the outline new in soft intimate clicks and gutturals
of my soul the retina learns to expand daily because by a thousand stories I was scorched
a new skin.
I am changed for ever. I want to say: forgive me forgive me forgive me
You whom I have wronged, please take me
with you. -Antjie Krog, Country of my Skull