Anita's Haven

books, thoughts, stories, poetry, interviews, writing

Spring magic and miracles

on 13/03/2015

Dawn and my characters woke me up at five again. As my husband would say: ‘Oh, she’s writing at five again. Means spring is definitely coming.’ And I welcome this love-hate relationship with my characters, now that my health has improved a bit and is allowing me to write. Pretty soon I will be back at work (finally;), balancing business-family-writing in that busy, spring, hyperactive rhythm I love so much.


It is truly amazing how one season can bring you energy to do everything and more, and another just seems to suck the life out of you. Spring is my dawn, autumn is my dusk. I think it has probably been like that my whole life. The stuff I find so hard to do in autumn come naturally and problem-free in springtime. New ideas, new lesson plans, new story plots, new activities, and the day somehow manages to squeeze all those things into a timespan of 24 hours, which in autumn seems unbelievably brief.


Another spring wonder is the fact that I do not feel as tired at all. All the creative juices, which wake me up so early, don’t make me crash and fall asleep in the middle of the day!  Truth be told, the character who woke me up today is an amazing little girl who still thinks by feeling, expresses herself without hesitation and never dwells on the negative, always finding a fresh, new perspective on things. She fights for herself and her loved ones, and is completely unafraid to speak her mind. She is just the perfect balance of angel and demon, and sometimes I just want to be her, you know?

So I am writing her scene, surrounded by her energy and that pure, childish vibe, and, naturally, my daughter wakes up. She sneaks next to me in bed, ever so careful not to wake up her dad, and lets me finish writing the scene. Not that she was very patient; the scene was almost over. But this morning I realized just how fascinating the magic of writing really is! I have been writing this book for a long time now, at night, early in the morning, on holiday, whenever they characters visited me, and not all scenes are lively and not all characters so vibrant and positive. (In fact, I like to avoid some of my characters, because they enfuriate or sadden me so much!)

But my daughter, my inspiration for Dot, always wakes up when I write about Dot. It’s almost as if it’s actually her waking me up and tellling me what to write about Dot, and when I am just about done, she wakes up and comes to check up on my progress. Mind you, she doesn’t read yet, nor does she speak English (she would disagree – she knows numbers and colours and animals, so of course she speaks English;)!). And she never asks me what I am doing. It’s as if she knows. She just comes to feel my energy and cuddle. And she is satisfied. So am I.

And I am so happy when the energy I have to share with my loved ones is positive. So overall, quite a wonderful dawn! The perfect sign of the coming spring!


Just sharing part of chapter 33 – Broken, from my current work-in-progress novel The Forest of Trees, (part of Dot’s afternoon kindergarten scene, after a morning filled with dangerous events)

Miss Fiona’s eyebrows clouded her face as she watched little Dorothy toss and turn, unable to sleep. The events of the day had been too much for her busy little mind and she simply couldn’t calm her thoughts and feelings.
‘Clever girl, that one. No wonder she can’t quiet her mind,’ Miss Fiona thought as she glanced at the other kids, all safely nested in their beds, hugging their toys and pillows, mumbling in sleep and occasionally scratching their noses while dreaming.
Dot’s exhaustion was broken up by briefly dozing off in Sam’s car on the way back to school from the hospital, and now she had so much to say and do that sleep just seemed like a waste of time. Miss Fiona smiled as she listened to Dot share her problems with her fluffy sheep, and decided to let Dot play in the quiet corner, because she knew forcing her to lie down wouldn’t work today. The teacher had tried stroking her hair, holding her hand, shushing Dot to sleep, but all in vain. Miss Fiona’s blue slippers, soft and soundless, glided on the floor and carried her off to Dot. She knelt beside the girl, touched her gently on the shoulder and almost chuckled as Dot immediately lay still, closed her eyes firmly and pretended to sleep.
‘Come, Dot, but shhhhh… keep quiet so you don’t wake the rest of the kids up, O. K.?’
Dot’s face beamed up at hers with gratitude and the little toddler crept out of bed and trodded behind her teacher, her sheep tucked safely under her arm. Miss Fiona sat with her in the quiet corner of the room, on the soft colourful island-like carpet and chose a picture book to read to her in whisper. As soon as she began, Dot cradled closer, leaning her body onto her teacher’s for support. She wasn’t really listening to the story, but the soothing voice. It helped her mind focus and stilled her heart.
‘I want to make something, Miss!’
Dot’s whisper was low, but adamant and she even grabbed her teacher’s underarm to get her attention.
‘Make what?’
‘Build something!’
‘O.K., dear, but quietly, right?’
‘I pwomise!’
Miss Fiona left Dot to play with soft building blocks and walked over to the other kids to check up on them. Little Peter’s teddy had fallen out of the bed, so she went to put it back before the boy reached for it and cause havoc and mayhem if it wasn’t there. When she returned, she sat in her chair close to Dot, and observed.
Dot was grumpy. She wasn’t happy with the blocks at all, but she never asked for help when she thought she could handle things on her own.
‘Don’t like city! So square… so cold… so sad…’
Broken pieces of the story came out in Dot’s voice  as she kept demolishing her edifice. She frowned and looked around, searching for something else. She noticed some modelling clay on the little, round, red table. She got up, slowly and quietly and walked over to it with a plotting smile.
Her hands reached for the clay and started making shapes, turning the material into something that resembled a house, mixing colours together without any plan, just enjoying the clay in her hands, her eyes and hands focused on creating an image.
‘There… Stone cottage… home…’
She was smiling now, and Miss Fiona pulled up closer to watch and listen.
‘Mummy happy there… daddy happy there…. Jemmy happy… Dot happy…’
Dot chirped under breath, almost humming now, and started rolling the rest of the clay into colourful snake-like lines, without changing her expression. Her tiny fingers applied themselves to work like a serious artist would, driven by a vision she had in her head, and Miss Fiona witnessed sculptural expression quite advanced for Dot’s age, in awe and bewilderment, but completely silent, not to break the moment.
‘Must make Fowest now… twees all twisty… all magic…’
Dot’s broken tale continued as she turned each snake into a tree trunk, pulling out the top ends into winding branches, then placing each tree trunk near the house, creating a forest. One tree, round the middle of the forest, seemed quite special, as Dot took the little plastic modelling blade and cut the trunk from top to near bottom, splitting it almost in half, and leaned it onto the adjacent one.
‘There…. Jemmy’s fwends. And now – my fwend!’
Dot announced with a chuckle, reaching for green clay and taking in her fingers just a tiny ball of it, pressing it gently with her fingertips to create a little squashed figurine.
Then she played with it, made it fly around the forest and then right up to the house.
‘Biwdie come and make mummy’s boo-boo go away. Just a bit of magic and… poof, all is well!’
Miss Fiona smiled, envying the children for their believing in magic, which made everything right.
‘Although,’ she thought to herself, ‘ we could all use a bit of magic today.’


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