Anita's Haven

books, thoughts, stories, poetry, interviews, writing

Trees, people and similarities

“The Forest of Trees had once been just a simple forest, a beautiful, rich one at that, until slowly but steadily, trees changed for some reason.

No two trees were alike and for hundreds of years their variety had been the source of joy and beauty. All the trees had something in common, yet each of them was unique. Their singularities were intricately woven into the tapestry of The Forest.

Oddly enough, all the beautiful years and shared experience hadn’t brought wisdom. In time, the trees became disagreeable and lost compassion or patience for each other. They started to push each other and over-shadow each other’s light. They stole each other’s humidity by extending their roots. Some scared away their neighbour’s treetop dwellers – birds, bats, squirrels and bugs, pretending that their branches only got caught up in their neighbour’s treetops due to strong winds. Branches grew winded at night, and then curled up to hide during the day. Veiled by darkness, they would stretch out their coils, steal and smash their neighbour’s fruit in sheer malice. In daylight, dried up twigs were discarded, thrown in the faces of other trees. Only the sun and the moon witnessed the conflicts.

The Forest War for territory was just as stupid and pointless as any other war in history. There was quite enough room for all the existent trees, their offspring and then some, not to mention all kinds of creatures scurrying and flying around. However, enough is never enough where bad blood is concerned, even when it is not blood at all.”

#sneakpeek excerpt from #TheForestofTrees

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Are We Nuts? By Gisela Hausmann – my review

Well, this is a tough one to rate and review. Not because it’s not a good book at all, but because it talks about things which hit only too close to home in a worrying way, teaching a serious lesson in a seemingly child-like setting. However, it is NOT a children’s book at all.

Imagine being so frustrated by the current political, economical and ecological world situation that you decide to write a semi-satirical fable about it, using squirrels as the synonym for humans and word-playing with the names of famous politicians, past and present, to illustrate your point. You use fable to speak of heavy, unpleasant things you see happenning around the world, especially concerning climate changes. Why would you use this somewhat light approach for bitter truths? I guess not to go mad, shout the reality from rooftops and be called crazy. This way you may merely be called ‘the crazy author’, but there is nothing ‘mere’ about it – crazy artists have often spoken out about unpleasant truths and actually started huge changes.

Knowing Gisela Hausmann’s previous books, the non-fiction manuals on business correspondence, marketing and social networking, I believe her to be an unrelenting, adamant, meticulous researcher of data, who always corroborates her statements with facts and figures. This is a fictional fable (hm, hm, sort of), which in early squirrel world description shows the author’s lovely knack for landscape depiction, but I am positive Hausmann had done a lot of research before turning it into a fable. Although certain paralels with US politics were a bit above my current understanding of personnae and events (not much of a political person myself), the strong environmental warning within the book is obvious, world-wide and will not be ignored.

The fact is that this kind of a political fable may not be palatable to everyone, but it cannot be ignored. It is quite easy to imagine a think-tank of various scholars sitting around a table discussing the real-life details depicted in ‘Sciurus States’ and why they matter in understanding snd tackling current events. The hashtag suggested by the title is provocative and inviting us not to meekly swallow any lie we are served, and I am somehow rooting for it to catch on. Gutsy, quirky and difficult to ignore!

Are We Nuts? link

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A fun new children’s funbook!

It is funny how giddy I feel over this new project!

This is a special funbook edition of the story Winky’s Colours, prepared by the author who is also a teacher and a parent. Apart from the original story about Winky, this funbook is also filled with worksheets, riddles, colouring pages and wordgames, and all the illustrations are black&white. Have fun!

Winky is a little penguin who lives his life with a black&white family in nature filled with black, white and gray. All he dreams of are colours! So one day he decides to leave his home and go on an expedition to find colours. He will meet friends, face life-risking adventure and find more than he expected.
#childrensbook #learning

bit.ly/2Dbivyl

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Rhino Magic

An excerpt from Rhino Magic, my story in Looking into the Abyss:

‘Mummie, mummie, come here quickly! You’ve got to see this!’

Ginger dragged her feet from the kitchen to the living room for the hundredth time that day. There was no gingerly step left in her to justify her name, not after a sleepless night spent trying to get her son’s fever down.

‘What, honey?’

She struggled to sound interested, and failed miserably. Jake was kneeling on the bed and pointing at the TV, his blurred eyes sparkling with excitement, above the gloomy eyebags and thin cheeks.

He used to be so big and strong that they called him their beast. No seven-year-old should have to suffer kidney problems.

‘The man in the show… the documentary… he said the rhino is considered to be the unicorn’s cousin. Unicorn! Can you believe it?’

Thank you for inviting me onto this project, @Paul White.

#love #education #storytelling #quote #charity #books #teaching #story
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Parents’ Alert

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Not so long ago, a friend of mine found her son in front of his laptop, in bitter tears and literally afraid for his life. An older boy from his school was sending him threatening and hurtful messages over a social network, on behalf of himself and a bunch of his bullying buddies. Her son was not only afraid to leave the house, but sat there as if paralysed in front of the screen, his fists clenched so firmly that his knuckles were white. No amount of consoling, coaxing or even threatening helped my friend – her son would simply not reveal the real name of his abuser, masked behind a clipart avatar and a fashionably misspelled username. But most mothers whose children are attacked don’t just back out, and very few obstacles manage to slow them down. Single mothers even more so, and my friend is one.

Like a proper lioness, she gave her son a chocolate bar, some cocoa and a pep talk, gently stroked his hair and put him in bed, playing his favourite music really low till he fell asleep. She acted calm before the storm. Then she sat at the desk and opened her son’s profile. A couple of hours later, having done some online detective work she had never deemed herself capable of, she had the bully’s full name and surname, his home address and his private cellphone number. And she hadn’t even broken any laws. The problem with bullies and all criminals is their ego; they are never really ashamed of their actions and always secretly want the whole world to know them for their deeds. So they leave a trail of breadcrumbs one only has to follow. She did exactly that. Looking at her son twitch and sweat in sleep, mumble defensive phrases in his nightmare, and unconsciously cry despite his early teenage years and strong body, she grabbed her cellphone and typed in the bully’s number. Before tapping the call button, she left her son’s room and closed the door behind her.

She phoned the bully. He answered. She introduced herself and then, with all the raging storm she had in her, she spoke her mind, letting the bully know she knew who he was and where he lived, ordering him to stop contacting her son, and threatening what she would do if he didn’t stop. I don’t know exactly what she said, and I guess neither does she any more. Protecting loved ones, especially children, brings out the best and worst in us, and controlling that is usually impossible. The point is – she succeeded. She never spoke to the boy’s parents about this. It turns out she knows from the neighbourhood; they are exactly the behavioural matrix their son so loyally copies. She never told her son what she did. But he is not bullied any more, sleeps well and goes out with his friends, like all happy children should. She is not happy. She is alert.

What would you do? There are so many options for parents in this case, some depending on the laws of your country, some on the culture and tradition you come from, but what it all comes down to is your definitive parental decision. You are the one who chooses to act and faces the results.

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Would you tell your son to ‘take it like a man’ and fight back? Battle a group of bullies, bigger and older than him, all alone and empty-handed? Would you resort to violence yourself, get a gang of thugs and beat the boys’ senseless and their parents as well? Would you go to the press or the Internet and make the story go viral, dragging you and your son through the merciless scrutiny of the public eye, which only seems to feed on the negative and rarely offers any real help or solution? Would you tell your child to talk to friends or call a helpline, washing your hands of the responsibility?

You could choose not to act. Just sit tight, waiting for the whole thing to pass on its own. It seems easier to do anyway. But it isn’t easy, and it won’t pass. Dirt piled up under a rug doesn’t go away, it doesn’t dissolve, and nobody else comes to clean house. Sooner or later, you or your loved ones stumble over it and fall flat on your face. Unresolved bullying only gets worse, spreads to more people, leaves your child out there like an open target, a sitting duck, with an invisible ‘open season’ sign hanging over his head. And your child remains a victim. Or, for better or worse(which do you think?), becomes a bully himself, vindicating his own suffering by tormenting others.

You could do exactly what my friend did – go directly to the source and deal with the bully. You could get lucky, exactly like she did, the word ‘lucky’ used very loosely here, because there is no win-win situation where violence is concerned. She could have been in trouble though. The bully could have told his parents, they could have attacked her, they could have sewed her for contacting their underage son without their knowledge and threatening him. They could even have won in court, depending on who had the money for a slicker lawyer. Her son could have been badly hurt by the bullies for having his mummy come to the rescue. But if you weigh all those options before your parental instinct kicks in, you are probably late already.

You could contact the school authorities. It is their duty, after all, to handle such issues on school premises. They have trained professionals for such situations. It would take time, you would drag your son and his friends through questioning, the bully’s parents would be contacted, and then it would be just like a trial all over again. Or maybe not. Maybe the whole team of adults involved int he problem really would work together in the best interest of all the children, and the bully would get help and stop being a bully, whereas the bullied would relax and heal, and future similar situations would be prevented or, at least, reduced. Well, you never know until you try, right?

What would you do? What do you do?

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Unlimited miracles

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Inner voice

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The Power of Words

“The power of words has always fascinated me. There are limitless possibilities in the use of only one of them. Its power stems not only from its lexical meaning, but also its historical connotations and changes, previous contexts, media and user, audience, location and timing. As is always the case with a superpower, a word can be used for good or evil, and alas, misunderstood or misused. But whatever the effect, the desired one or its complete opposite, effect takes place, and it makes a change or a difference, or both.

It never ceases to amaze me how many emotions and ideas can stem from just one word. When you see it, hear it or say it, regardless of whether its effect is immediate or delayed, it is simply unbeatable and irresistible. It’s like magic, and I do like magic, just like any other child trapped in an ageing body.

One such word, hidden within a bundle of other wonderful and horrible, yet all impressive words, as I read it in one of my all-time favourite stories, grabbed my attention instantly. It was ‘threshold’. Mind you, in the story I was reading, it was completely unimportant, and simply denoted the entrance to a house in a description. But to me, it was that word which stopped me from reading and forced me to pick up a pen and write this story.

The Threshold is about change, which is different for everyone, no more or less than we deserve. The threshold is always open, but what we choose to do with the door is our choice, and ours alone.”

(from the Foreword to The Threshold)

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3 – 2 – 1 Me Challenge (my turn)

After an unusually lazy and inactive summer, at least blog-wise, for me, who better to give you a proper push than a hard-working editor, publisher, writer and female force – Claire Plaisted. This amazing lady has tagged me in this new blogger challenge, and knowing how tough she can be, I thought I’d better respond:).

Each time this blog is posted it is updated by the recipient in conjunction with the TOPIC stated at the end by the last person. For me, the topic given by Claire is HAPPINESS.

The rules of the challenge…

• Thank the selector
• Post 2 quotes for the dedicated topic of the day
• Select 3 bloggers to take part in ‘3.2.1 Quote Me Challenge’ and give them a topic/word

Number One – The Selector

Claire Plaisted, executive director of Plaisted Publishing, is a worldwide force in the writing world whom I have been privileged to meet through the Facebook group Awethors several years ago. She is a dedicated hardworker who perseveres in overcoming obstacles, acquiring new skills, constantly perfecting her work and that of others. Claire is a role model for lifelong learning and a family woman, too, and on top of it all – a kind lady. She writes stories, edits, promotes books, publishes a free magazine to promote indie writers, and organizes projects which involve other writers. One such project, which brought a lot of HAPPINESS to my life, was A Treasure Chest of Children’s Stories, an anthology in which Claire not only invited me to participate, but also allowed me to invite my goddaughter, Helena Čačić, a talented young writer, to join the forces and produce a wonderful story about a girl and a unicorn. This was Helena’s first published work in English and it makes the HAPPINESS that much greater. Thank you, Claire. Keep being your phenomenal self!

Number Two – Quotes

1. “Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” J.K. Rowling

This is possibly one of my all-time favourite quotes. It points to how much the key to our happiness lies within us, and how dwelling in self-pity never solves anything. All it takes is just a little flicker of light. Step by step, flicker by flicker, day by day, smile by smile.

2. “For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Those who know me know this – I will always try not to waste time on being angry, laying blame and dwelling over the issue. Better solve the problem as best we can and get on with our lives. No point in wasting time on rage.

Number Three – Three Bloggers

Elizabeth Horton Newton, who can be found HERE
DM Cain, who can be found HERE
Karen J Mossman , who can be found HERE

YOUR WORD IS… WISDOM. I hope you accept the challenge.

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3 – 2 – 1 Me Challenge

Thanking Claire for the challenge – my reply coming soon:)

https://wp.me/p6kS1w-2dH

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