Nodo lo sposta sedie

Letto e interpretato da… me

Nodo lo sposta sedie è un libro per bambini, da me ideato e prodotto insieme a Flyingstories, con l’intento di aiutare proprio i bambini a superare la paura dei rumori.

Quali rumori?

Quando si è soli in casa, oppure in un bosco, ci arrivano alle orecchie dei suoni che possono spaventarci, perché non ne comprendiamo l’origine.

Lo sposta sedie fa questo, da generazioni, ossia sposta le sedie per spaventare gli umani. Lo spezza rametti, che vedremo più avanti, passa il tempo a rompere i rametti nei boschi.

Per quanto siano dispettosi, questi personaggi sono però completamente innoqui. Amano gli scherzi, questo è vero, ma non farebbero del male ad una mosca.

Di cosa si tratta?

Potete leggere qui due estratti della storia, in italiano, inglese e spagnolo. L’altro intento con il quale è stato ideato questo libro è la possibilità per i bambini di avere un libro in diverse lingue. Perfetto per bambini nati in famiglie multilingue, può essere utile anche per chi volesse, come genitore, intraprendere la via dell’home schooling con i propri bambini. Che dire di più? Buona lettura e… buon ascolto!

Spring is here?

Let me know when it’s winter time!

Well, it’s challenging to sense spring when you’re living in the desert. Seasons seem just the same, apart from summer, of course. Yes, in the desert, summer is nothing less than a furnace.

Spring is here? Image created by Daniele Frau with Canva.
Spring is here? By Daniele Frau

You live in constant isolation with your A/C always on, leaving only to go to some malls. In the cars, in the mall, of course, the temperature is freezing. In the beginning, when I first started my adventure here, I was afraid of that. I thought I might take something serious, some bad pneumonia.

Nah, what happened was the definitive human being answer to almost everything: I simply coped with that.


In March, I can count exactly 5 years of life in the desert, but as you can imagine, nothing was really bothering me before 2020. See, living in Dubai, closed inside your apartment, isn’t the best experience.

And Dubai it’s expensive, mind that. Whenever you call for food, you must think twice. Yes, some people say it’s ok. You just need to understand where to eat. I don’t agree, at least not entirely. See, to spend less in Dubai means to have low-quality food.

Yes, it’s cheap, but to what cost?

Anyways, that’s spring in Dubai, 32 degrees Celsius and a gloomy sky most of the time. But do you know what it will be helpful, then? Winter! Yes, winter here it’s like spring in the rest of the world I’ve visited. Everyone likes to leave, to go around, cycling, swimming and such. Yes, I must save my graphics for few months and let the chick say: “Is it winter?”

Nodo, the Chairs’ mover

A new Project

Writing a story it’s always intimidating. You start asking yourself:

With all the material around on the Internet nowadays, how can I make a difference? What is in my story that makes it so original?


Then, all of a sudden, a character knock at your door. In this case, it was a small man with a big nose. He introduced himself. He was a chairs’ mover.

Yes, he said precisely that name!


We sit down, and while I started writing on my computer, he moved the first chair.


Sorry


He said.


But you could see from his face that he wasn’t sorry at all. He enjoyed moving the chair and startled me. But what do you expect when letting in a chairs’ mover?

Where a character comes from?

Nodo, the chairs' mover
Nodo, the chairs’ mover


This character, as many others, comes from everyday life. Who has never heard a chair moving in their apartment when they’re alone? Yes, there is an explanation, and it’s our small friend.


In general, what I like about writing for children is that they thoroughly enjoy the story. They get engaged and laugh, and cry sometimes. That’s why, in the end, I decided to write this story. To have a chance to make a child smile.


Enjoy more about the story of Nodo the chairs’ mover on my blog Flyingstories.org.

If you want to read the book, request your copy at this link!

Cover of the book Nodo the chairs' mover_by Daniele Frau_Illustrations by DMQproductions.
Cover of the book Nodo the chairs’ mover_by Daniele Frau.


And keep always open the door to a new character!

How good people turn evil?

Monsters, aliens

The Lucifer effect

Go back to the future_Flyingstories


This situation reminds me of the insightful (and very popular) experiment made at Standford University in 1971 and the book that followed, written by Phillip Zimbardo, The Lucifer Effect.


How nice people turn out not to be so nice anymore?


There are many reasons, many factors that sum up to create a so-called monsters. What we know is that no one is born evil. The same idea we have of evilness changed with time. The outstanding progress of medicine and the knowledge of our brain give us new keys to understand the phenomenon.

A trigger


We know for sure something that “triggers” us and made us prone to be evil. To put it in plain words, to be de-identified is a big motivator. Even the nicest person on Earth, set in a situation of having immense power and no control, can turn into a monster. Oh, it doesn’t mean everyone will react in the same way, but most people will (or let other people turn evil without doing anything to prevent it).

Go back to the future


Coming back to our story, Go back to the future: changing the name of the “newcomers” into aliens the society can turn the eyes away from the problem. The Chief of the State, a pure idiot with no skills whatsoever, become a real monster. The middle-class start shooting at the “coming aliens” just for fun.


Who’s helping the aliens?


Well, whoever they might be, they can go to hell. Or to prison, to be more precise. No, this isn’t pure fantasy. The right-wing hasn’t always been like this in Italy. But the new right-wing likes to speak to the bellies of the population. Don’t you believe me? Imagine if somebody would arrest me for saving people in the open sea. As estimates from the UN attested, 25 people die every day in front of Sicilian coasts. So, this blood is in our hands.


And what are we doing to prevent it?


Nothing, really. Like real monsters do. And this isn’t just my story.

This is reality.

Go back to the future

Where the story comes from

Now that I’m falling from the clouds, only now I fully understand the essence of the air.


When I first started writing this short story, Go back to the future, the situation was really complicated, to say the least. In Italy, a substantial majority considered the refugees a problem that had to be ‘eradicated’. Yes, like it was a virus or a plague (just saying). Where that majority ended up? Oh, they never left, if that’s what you’re thinking. They just changed their clothes.

The Italian politics


If you watch the Italian political scene from three-step behind, you’d probably think something changed. Then you get one step forward to find out the stink of the same old propaganda.


When you speak to people in the street, you can sense that that propaganda, the ‘eradication’ of the ‘problem’ propaganda, is still alive and well.

Masks for go back to the future
Daniele Frau


“Why we’re supposed to help them when we cannot help ourselves?”


“Do you know they’re living a better life than us?”


“Do you still believe they’re poor? Come on, open your eyes!”


And the war between the poor continues, over and over


What my story had to say about that?


I simply gave another perspective. Imagine a near future (100 years from now, perhaps) and imagine a striking crisis that leads your country in despair.


Now, follow me, imagine a time-machine like the one in a H.G. Wells book or in the comedy movie Back to the future. Everyone will try to escape their helpless situation coming to our present. And what will happen? We will call them ‘aliens,’ and we will look at them while they’re drowning in front of us.

As we’re watching them dying in front of the cost of Italy every single day.

(It continues…)

What is fear?

What is fear?

Sometimes we find ourselves alone at home, ready to go to bed. We brush our teeth, we put on the pajama and finally, we get under our sheets.

Then, a small sound comes to our ears. Somewhere, outside the door, something or someone is moving. 

“Rrrrrrrrrrrr.”

What is that?

Who is there?

Terrorized, petrified even, we don’t dare to go outside. When we finally do, we switch on the light, as our small 7W bulb could help us against a possible assassin. Yet, we feel reassured by this light because we’re not expecting real killers, but some ghosts with long chains. And we know they must disappear with the light (yes, ghosts hates 7W bulbs).

Glovy and Nodo

Glovy the twigs' snapper
Glovy the twigs’ snapper

That’s why I imagined a world in which all these sounds have a funny reason behind. As Nodo and Glovy, some small characters are ready to scare us, but without harming anyone.

In my concept, children will be scared, but at the same time, those characters will reassure them. They won’t need the light anymore, because Nodo and friends can hide in plain light. They can respect their fears and even smile at them.

The horrific hanger

When I was a child, I was terrified by a clothes hanger my parents had in their room. It was a simple hanger, but in the night, it mutates into a monster. It comes in my nightmares, preventing me from using the toilet in the night and generally stressing out me so much.

Something happened one day when I decided to imagine that hanger-monster as a funny thing. I imagined it was a fluffy gummy character, yellow in color, with no bad intentions whatsoever. It was from that moment on that I can say I didn’t fear the dark anymore.

See, the problem is not dark or a clothes hanger. The issue comes from deeper inside us, as Goya would say, 

“The sleep of reason creates monster”. 

In the silence, it’s in the dark that we feel strange sounds, and it’s there that we panic. On a sunny day, outside with our friend, it’s more likely to happen something terrible (some drunk person starts shouting, someone insults you, a car bumped on you) and still, you feel protected by the amazing sun and the good feelings you have.

So, let go of that horrific sleep of reason that creates monsters and start searching for a better explanation. Fear, a moment later, it’s just a bad memory.

Thanks to Nodo and Glovy, it would probably be like that for some children, one day.

L’invenzione del nome

Una storia dal deserto

Vedete, ho scoperto tempo fa che chi scrive lo fa per motivazioni molto diverse. Scrivere è un esercizio complicato. Mettiamola così: per me scrivere è mettere nero su bianco, su un pezzo di carta o dentro un file, le idee che ronzano incessanti dentro la mia testa.

C’è chi parla da solo, io invece provo a mettere tutto su un foglio. Provo a rendere parole altrimenti vuote come “incomunicabilità”, “dissonanza”, “forza di volontà” storie intere. E i personaggi mi aiutano tanto in questo.

Parlare con se stessi

L’invenzione del nome, Daniele Frau

La parte più complicata, quando si decide di scrivere e di rendere pubbliche le proprie idee, è accettare le critiche. Immaginate se qualcuno che non conoscete vi fermasse nel bel mezzo della strada e vi dicesse:

“Ehi, sai che cammini in modo bizzarro? Dovresti iniziare a camminare in questo modo. Guarda me, oppure cerca di camminare come farebbe Bolt se non fosse impegnato a correre.”

Così, all’inizio si tende a prendere tutto sul personale. Ci sentiamo tutti Hemingway e ogni parola sembra scelta come si scelgono le pietre per una statua. Una su un milione.

Parlare con gli altri

Solo dopo qualche battuta d’arresto (leggasi colpo frontale dato da un ferro da stiro acceso) ci rendiamo conto che quel passante che ci ha dato il consiglio non era cattivo. Capiamo che in fondo nessuno è nato per scrivere, come nessuno è nato per dare consigli.

Tutto va imparato.

Lo stile

Ecco, sullo stile ci sono decine di libri che ho letto e che mi hanno segnato. Molti sono scritti in lingua inglese, ma il senso è semplice e utilizzabile in qualsiasi lingua.

L’idea di fondo è che lo stile deve essere rapportato al tipo di scrittura che si desidera portare avanti. La narrativa avrà uno stile, una lettera da inviare ad un amico ne avrà un altro, così come un diario. Poi c’è lo stile personale, tipico di ognuno di noi, che dovrebbe sempre tendere alla chiarezza e alla fluidità.

Fluidità

Non mi addentro oltre nell’idea di stile, ma chiudo parlando di qualcosa che mi sta davvero a cuore. Che cosa intendo con fluidità? La risposta a questa domanda è semplice.

Prendi in mano il tuo ultimo scritto.

Ora leggi a voce alta ciò che hai scritto e sentirai delle campanelle suonare vicino alle tue orecchie. Quelle campanelle sono un allarme innato. Lo stesso allarme che suona quando per la prima volta sentiamo qualcuno parlare e ha quel non so che di spiacevole.

“Oddio, ma sta leggendo!”

Si, odio quando la gente vuole dare l’impressione di star parlando a braccio, mentre in realtà sta leggendo da un gobbo. Meglio, molto meglio prendere un foglio in mano e leggere.

Leggere e rileggere a voce alta la tua storia ti permette di sentire l’anima dei personaggi, di provare a coinvolgerti davvero. Non leggere la tua storia come se stessi leggendo un libro qualsiasi. Perché è il tuo stile, lo sentirai tuo, saprai qual è il soggetto.

Leggendola a voce alta potrai sentire tutte quelle sfumature che pensavi fossero ben scritte e invece non lo erano. E magari inizierai ad essere tu il primo a criticarti, per migliorare sempre.

Per concludere

Spero che ciò che ho scritto qui possa esserti utile, nella tua ricerca quotidiana. Qui di seguito, trovi la mia ultima micro-storia pubblicata su Typee. Si intitola l’Invenzione del nome.

Buona lettura!

P.s. Io sono Daniele Frau, ma puoi leggere altre storie e micro-storie in italiano e inglese su Flyingstories.

Writers from Sardinia?

How big is this island?

Every day I meet people from all over the world (yes, even now that we’re living in Covid-19times). The question that people ask me more often is:

How comes you have your own language in Sardinia?

Yes, believe me, this question has been asked so many times that if they gave me 1 penny for each time I heard it… well, you know Bill Gates? He would be just a poor guy selling shoes if compared to me.

A complex island

The answer is yes, obviously. Sardinia has its own language, an history so complex and different from the Italian one, not to mention it is enormous. I mean it, it’s huge. When I think that the most famous nations-islands in the Mediterranian Sea, as Cyprus or Malta are respectively 9251 square km and 316 square km, I think it makes sense that we have a peculiar language in Sardinia (which is over 24 thousand square km). This idiom is called Sardo, or Sardinian.

Sardinian writers Daniele Frau graphics

I’m not going through with the history of Sardinia and its language. There’s so much literature about it that it would take my entire blog just to start the topic. Let’s summarise what Sardinian produced culturally in the last 100 years or so.

The star

Let’s start with the star: Grazia Deledda. She was born in 1871, and in 1926 this amazing woman received a Nobel Prize for literature. If this information doesn’t shock you, think about the fact that at the time she was only the second woman ever winning the prize. Furthermore, she was the first Italian woman in history to receive it. Interesting, huh?

Many others

You can quickly check the incredible number of writers Sardinia produced over the centuries. They spoke about what being a shepherd means, or to serve in the countryside since you’re just a child. They also wrote about the First World War, and more recently, with Accabbadora by Michela Murgia, you can jump in the reality of Sardinia in the Fifties.

Furthermore, these fantastic writers wrote in Italian, considered for a long time a second language in Sardinia. When I was a child (not so long ago), it was easy to meet old people speaking broken Italian, but fluent when they had to talk in Sardinian. Even though Sardinian was considered illegal to be used in schools for a long time, it was still used in everyday life. Nowadays, Sardinian is coming back to life, thanks to the hard work of many historians, linguists, and intellectuals.

What it means to come from an island?

As everything else, being from a fantastic island as Sardinia brings positive and negative outcomes. One of the negative ones is to be isolated from everything and culturally marginalized. The percentage of Sardinian with a university instruction level is one of the lowest in Italy, and with the crisis, the situation would only get worse.

That said, I hope next time you’ll hear in Sardinia they have their own language you won’t ask the same, one- penny, question.

Which stories Daniele Frau wrote? Have a look!

How to write a matryoshka

Everyone knows what a matryoshka doll is. The name means precisely what you see when you set your eyes on this strange object. You see a Russian woman, and the shape reminds you of an Egyptian sarcophagus. So, you’re expecting to find a mummy, inside?

And now something completely different

Searching in our Matryoshka

What happens is that, when you open your matryoshka, you find out it contains the same one but slightly different. It’ll remind you that present you received for Christmas, once. You got deceived by the size of the pack, but then the more you open it, the less you find. From a huge packet to a tiny present. But, what if the last one is a ring set with a diamond?

Next level, next stop

You remove as much layers as possible, one small Russian matryoshka after another. Yes, in the end, you want to find something important, you want to feel that all that fuss was necessary, the diamond is there waiting for you! And yet, after removing the last copy of your matryoshka, you realised that the last gift is an exact copy of the rest, but smaller.

I need to get upset?

Think about it, how many movies, piece of theatre and also books end up exactly as we expected from the very beginning? We remove one layer at the time, but we continue to see the same thing. Same characters, same flat plot, just smaller and smaller, but nonetheless the same. Nope, there’s no diamond awaiting for us most of the time, but just the old same matryoshka!

How to avoid matryoshkas

It’s quite easy to answer that question. Open up any book, read the first twenty lines and wait. Something inside yourself has to tell you that you’re not waisting your time. The style, the way the characrers are presented (or they’re not), how the plot is open under your feet to walk through it.

You are a Sherlock Holmes, and now in twenty lines, you have all that you need to understand if that book is right for you. At least book are honest, you don’t have to buy them to understand if you like them or not.

To be continued…

 

 

Reedsy

What is Reedsy

A few months ago I was surfing on the ocean of the Internet, lost somewhere between the Island of

“How to improve my writing”

and the Archipelagos of

“Writing contests”.

The discovery

Then, by chance, I entered in a blog called Reedsy.

“Nothing special”

I thought before taking a better look at it.
I started reading and after hours I didn’t finish half of the material inside this website. From daily writing courses to weekly contests, everything seemed to be everything I always dreamed about. And everything with that special human touch that lets you forget for a moment to be on a website.

A sacred place

I felt like I was in a sacred place, a safe place in which you can express yourself, study, read and ask other experts for help. I stopped surfing in the Ocean of the Internet and I started to swim lightly in this small sea. The water was warm, but not hot enough to make you feel dizzy. It was refreshing and it gave me the strength to start my writing with a renovate energy.

My first short story

Last week I sent my first short story to the website. It’s not my first story, since I have my stories published on my Flyingstories website. But if usually I decide the theme of my stories, this time I had to follow a path, and it wasn’t easy.

“Write about two strangers that keep meeting each other”

This was the prompt.

And for me, accustomed to write mostly fantastic stories, it wasn’t really an easy task.

A story about a shepherd

So I sent Reedsy a simple story about a shepherd of camels. It comes from my experience living in Dubai and the chats I had with hundreds of taxi drivers all around the city. Sometimes you forget to be in a big city, when you turn your head to the desert and meet “wild” camels around.
I decided then to write a story about a man lost in the desert, a man that doesn’t feel human anymore, but more one of the animals he’s trying to help grow. A lost man in a period of pandemic, when everyone feels lost for a reason or another.

A way out

And he finds himself a way out.
As we, every one of us, is supposed to do.
Thanks Reedsy for the opportunity of discovering a story, hidden somewhere inside myself.