notes from the island: love, vaccines, and a question.
Greetings from Waiheke Island.
It’s 6am and I’ve been writing a much longer piece which I plan to Thing, but I miss you, so I’m just going to wave hello.
It’s been slow as molasses over here, and I’m feeling energetically deflated, and expect it’ll stay like that for longer than I ever could have anticipated. But it’s good. I feel like I’m rehabilitating myself from the hell of this past year, and the strange heart-anemia of my current situation, and I’ve decided to write some more long essays (pieces? spans of words? mini-novellas in the form of patreon posts?) in the coming months as a part of my rehab-of-soul.
I’ve been writing in the early, early hours; I’ve found that writing at 5-7am is when the best words come out, but those times also conflict directly with the time of day (that is: whatever hours before Ash awakes and needs attention) that I’ve traditionally set aside for calling my friends and family in the states. It feels like a betrayal.
But also, it feels like everybody over there is creeping towards the “better” side of terrible. My friends in New York, Boston, Washington State, Texas, LA, they all seem to be speaking from a similar theme:
“There’s a light at the end of the tunnel. But I’m too exhausted to feel very much of anything.”
It’s spring in the states, and it’s getting chilly and winter here. Waiheke Island doesn’t get cold like New York, it’s more like, I dunno, San Francisco, where it’ll never snow but the fireplaces go on and it’s scarf and hat weather, especially at night when the wind picks up.
I wonder how all of you are doing? Where and how are you now?
It’s been a while since I asked, and I’d love to know how things are going where you are….in the states, in South Africa, in Europe, in the UK, in Japan, in India (oh god, India) …wherever you happen to be, or wherever you have family.
Tell me where you are and how things are going, please, and include one bright moment, one good thing that’s happened lately. It could be the smallest of kindnesses that you’ve received or bestowed, or a bird you heard singing, anything. Just tell me something beautiful.
Don’t forget to read others’ comments, and feel very welcome to respond to everybody. This is more than a 2-way conversation, this is a 13,000-way conversation. Talk to each other.
We aren’t vaccinated here yet, but the roll-out is just beginning, and Neil and I are both very excited to get jabbed.
I talked to two different women on the island yesterday – both in their 60s – who said they were going to “wait and see” before taking any vaccine. I think I managed to explain the science to both of them well enough that I moved them closer to getting vaccinated. It’s so strange to listen to people – intelligent people – rattling off weird fake news from facebook as if it is fact and science.
So….when you tell me how you are doing, maybe also tell me how the vaccine is going – and the conversation around the vaccine is going – wherever you are.
I will be unapologetic about my stance over here, as usual….listen to the science. The science is never 100% perfect or accurate; but science never claims to be perfect. That’s why it’s science.
For the love of humanity: please get vaccinated.
Later today is the Auckland Writers Festival and tomorrow I hope I’m going to see a lot of you Aucklanders at our secret patron-party. My show with Neil tonight – we are being interviewed by Lucy Lawless – still isn’t sold out (it’s at 8:30pm, that’s Saturday), and I don’t think my solo show tomorrow (3:45, Sunday) is sold out either. Grab tickets or rock up. For all the patrons who are sad to miss it, if you missed the good news, we are professionally filming and Thinging! Hooray for patreon funds.
I hope speaking at the writer’s festival reminds me that I’m a real writer.
I keep forgetting.
Yesterday I took Ash out on another boat. His South African babysitter, Victoria, who also wound up on the island because of Covid, works a second job on a boat and she asked the captain if we could come aboard for a short sail.
Ash was in heaven, once again.
He says he wants to live on a boat.
We played a game on the boat called Baby Robber and Police and the rules of the game is that someone had to be the Baby Robber (don’t ask why the robber had to be a baby, these were Ash’s rules) and someone had to be the Police and the Police’s job was to haul the Baby Robber to the downstairs closet of the boat (jail), where they would have the door closed on them. Then a negotiation would take place and eventually, the Baby Robber would be allowed to come out of the dark closet jail at the Police’s discretion. We played many, many rounds of this game, taking turns locking various people up, and yelling silly things to each other from either side of the jail door. Ash did a lot of pretend crying while he was in jail. It was cute.
It was Ash’s turn to be in jail, and I was being the Police, and I yelled “We are leaving you in there in jail FOREVER!”
Then there was a silence, and a long cry, but in that heartbeat that I’ve come to recognize as a Mother, I knew this was not a game-cry. I opened up the door, and there was Ash, sitting on the dark floor, with tears streaking his face.
Ash?? What happened? Why are you crying?
I thought you meant it.
Meant what? That I would leave you in there forever?
Yes, he wailed.
Too close to home.
So I scooped him up, cuddled him in my arms, and we told the story again and again of how Ash was in the dark closet and thought everybody was going to leave him forever.
You must have been so frightened, Ashy.
I was, mama. I thought you were going to leave me in there forever.
Ash, I will never leave you.
But I thought you were.
I know. It must have been scary. But Ash, I promise. Nobody is ever going to leave you forever. Not Mama, not Dada, nobody.
I thought, his face crinkled up, I thought….you didn’t love me anymore.
ASH! No, no, no. I love you more than anything in the world. And I’m going to love you until I die. And maybe even after I die. Do you understand? There’s nothing you can do that will make me not love you. Nothing. I’ll always love you, for ever and ever and ever.
He calmed down and thoughtfully ate a cracker and a mandarin.
Later last night, as he drifted off to sleep, he mumbled to me
You’re going to love me forever, until you die.
And maybe even after, I reminded him.
I love him so much.
And tell me – and us – how you’re doing, people. I’m reading comments. Probably won’t start reading in -depth until Monday, when I have more time after the festival. See many of you soon.
——THE NEVER-ENDING AS ALWAYS———
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