June News and See You on Twitter

I’ve set myself a small blogging goal for this first month of summer. I’m not much of a review writer – in fact, I thoroughly avoid it – but I do want to share a few thoughts about two or three books I read recently.

As a self-published writer, I know how much reviews matter to indie authors. Yet, I must admit, I’m still uncomfortable reviewing other people’s books. Just because I like or dislike something, that doesn’t mean, everyone has to feel the same, I keep reminding myself. I also need to remind myself that a review and literary analysis are two very different animals, so I don’t fall into old habits. But once in a while, especially when it comes to fellow bloggers whose writing I appreciate, I can’t help talking about their books. So I hope you enjoy their works as much as I did, should you decide to give them a try.

On a different note… Yes, my friends, I finally went and did it. Yours not-so-crazy-about-social-media truly has joined Twitter – @AnaLindenAuthor ! I still have mixed feelings about the event, but I’m giving it a try. So be patient with me and if you also have a Twitter account, let me know and maybe I’ll see you there as well.

It’s Still Spring… Even at Home #20

A spring so many of us felt we’ve been robbed of is coming to an end… A most unusual spring… A spring of fear, loss and uncertainty… A spring of unexpected, sometimes unwanted realizations… Perhaps a spring of gratitude too – gratitude for what we do have… Perhaps also a spring of generosity and self-sacrifice, so others could be safe, alive… A spring of learning, even if the truths learnt may have been painful ones… A spring like no other. Continue reading “It’s Still Spring… Even at Home #20”

It’s Still Spring… Even at Home #6

It’s time I resorted to those photos taken at the beginning of March, right before lockdown. I was so sure I’d have the chance to shoot many more blossoms and spring flowers, but as we all know, life went in a different direction.

Little did I know when taking this shot that we’d be confined to our homes only days later. I didn’t get to see the trees in full bloom in my favourite park this spring, but I take solace in the fact that at least I had a chance to enjoy the more precocious ones. Of course, at the time I took the sight for granted and spent too much time distracted by the chill in the air and the wind which made it difficult to get decent shots. I’m sure there’s a lesson in there, somewhere….

Stay safe, everyone!

Strange Order in Chaos

One of the annoying things my grandmother used to do when I was a child was tidy up my desk. It was a mess, she would say, and few people who know me would now believe that… because I am a bit of a neat freak. In fact, it wasn’t as messy as she made it sound, it simply wasn’t her kind of order. I knew where everything was and I had a system. She had a system too, everything had to be put away. I completely agree with that now… as long as you have a place to store everything. But pilling everything in a heap behind the desk just so it could be out of sight didn’t help me much. Continue reading “Strange Order in Chaos”

Thank You For The Inspiration, Ladies!

Today I would like to thank Tina, Amy, Ann-Christine and Patti – the hosts of the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – for a year of wonderfully inspiring challenges and for the beautiful photos they have shared with us. You’ve done a great job! Congratulations and Happy Anniversary!

Many of us were saddened when the WP Photo Challenge was discontinued last year. We would miss that push, that source of inspiration which got our creative juices flowing in surprising moments and ways. Continue reading “Thank You For The Inspiration, Ladies!”

Delicate

I could say I was in the park looking for some beautiful flowers to photograph. After all, I do believe there is something very special about their delicate appearance, making them a good choice for Ann-Christine’s challenge. In spite of looking so delicate, flowers are often surprisingly resilient. No, I wasn’t going to overthink this. Continue reading “Delicate”

Not Just Flowers…

WP Weekly Photo Challenge – This week, share a symbol with us, and tell us what it means to you.

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Warning: gentlemen (and not only) with strong feelings against the trivial habit of offering flowers are kindly asked to avert their eyes. Judgemental lady used to and adoring to receive flowers at work!

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I am, have been and always will be a spoilt brat this way – flowers are more than an assortment of colourful plants with a price tag that you throw in a vase, on an empty corner of your desk. Those who know me also know they are both a symbol and a token for me, mere proof that no matter how difficult a struggle life might become, I can still find it in me to surface for a breath of air and a glimpse of beauty… and that as long as there is somebody willing and caring enough to offer me that small source of joy, all is not lost.

We find that sort of comfort and fleeting happiness in various things and places and we are all entitled to like what we like and want what we want. So with the risk of upsetting some of you, I will admit that one way or another, the one thing all the men that have been wrong for me had in common was their inability or unwillingness to offer me flowers. That particular, apparently trivial need of mine would not be the only one they would disregard or write off as irrelevant simply because they felt differently about the subject. Lack of respect comes in all shapes and sizes; and purposely refusing to make a small gesture that would bring pleasure to the one next to you counts as disrespectful, even mean to me. What can I say, I do a lot of reading between the lines and I instinctively find meaning in symbols and the gestures accompanying them. Call me a shallow, crazy, materialistic bitch if you so choose, but I simply appreciate a man who pays attention, enjoys seeing me happy and knows that offering is about the recipient and their affinities, not about the giver and their preferences.

Yes, I know, I know, there’s something terribly wrong with me in order to have such unrealistic expectations and standards. 🙂 But I am beyond redemption, I have been spoilt rotten from an early age. I remember there was this boy whose mother always gave him a big bunch of spring flowers to offer the girls in our class and to the teachers. Her job had something to do with a greenhouse and that’s where she got the flowers for free. So every morning for a couple of weeks in spring, my friends and I – all the girls he liked or even tolerated in the class – found flowers on our desks when we got to school. He was terribly shy and that’s why he did his best to get to school before all of us; when we confronted him, he could barely find his words and he’d turn all red. It was still a very sweet gesture though, and so was he. And he wasn’t the only one, as I have mentioned before – we were quite used to the boys offering us flowers on various occasions, such as Valentine’s Day.

This type of bad behaviour was further enabled by the boys I dated as a teenager, including my high school boyfriend. Yes, horror of horrors, I kept receiving flowers on my birthday and on various other special occasions. But what I remember most fondly is how we used to sneak into the botanical garden at night, sometimes only the two of us, other times our entire group of friends. The guards were mostly asleep in their quarters and they only had surveillance cameras at the main entrance those days, so we had the whole place to ourselves. Even in those rare when our presence was discovered, they were too sleepy and bored to even try and catch us. So at the end of May and in June I’d always go home with a selection of beautiful roses that my boyfriend would pick for me… 🙂

As you can imagine, I haven’t improved over the years. I have a long, complicated, sometimes frustrating, other times exquisitely beautiful history with flowers, both when it comes to giving and receiving them. When a friend of mine turned 20, I gave her a bouquet of 20 of her favourite flowers. Her boyfriend was terribly offended by my gesture, while she was moved to tears. He was trying to teach her a lesson – flowers were a token of consumerism and materialism and he was not going to indulge such tendencies in a woman. He would have rather basked in her sadness and disappointment than have her receive flowers from somebody, anybody… I could see his face darken with anger when he noticed how much joy the flowers brought her.

Don’t get me wrong, uncomfortable as many of you, gentlemen, might be with the topic, I find that many of you deserve to receive flowers once in a while from us as well – if you like this sort of thing, of course. I was 4 or 5 when I first offered flowers to a man. It was the first ballet show I went to see with my mother and at the end I was sent to offer a big bouquet of gladiolas to the prima ballerina, who was a family friend. Instead I gave the flowers to her dance partner and husband. He had been equally amazing and I remember wondering why nobody was giving him flowers.

I also remember he was taken by surprise and asked me if I didn’t mean to give her the gladiolas. I shook my head with determination. Men often feel unconformable, even offended if a woman offers them flowers, I noticed over the years. So I will only offer a man flowers if I know for a fact he wouldn’t mind it. But I must say, I had lots of fun offering flowers to all the male teachers at the end of high school, given the diverse reactions that gesture triggered. We decided to be open-minded and progressive that year and our class offered flowers to all the teachers, regardless of their gender. One of the boys would offer them to the ladies; the task of dealing with the men fell on me. Some of them were amused and pleasantly surprised; others were at a loss for words, not at all at ease with the unforeseen situation; only one of them was downright rude, mentioning that our youth and inexperience was no excuse for mistaking him for a woman… He immediately made a grand exit, leaving the room in a huff, in genuine drama queen style. But the general consensus was that it was about time the men got some attention as well.

That’s what it comes down to – attention, respect and appreciation. A token that somebody cares enough to listen and then to transform their appreciation for me into a gesture, that’s what flowers are as far as I am concerned. They don’t need to be expensive or come from the trendiest florists; they just need to be alive, that’s all it takes to say ‘I thought I’d surprise you,’ or ‘I know this day is special to you, even if it might not be equally so to me’. And when I decide to cheer myself up or simply brighten my day and my home with some flowers, for no other reason other than because I feel like it, it’s also a reminder of rougher days and how today’s small treats should not be taken for granted; instead I should fight human nature and appreciate them.  So let’s stop and smell the roses for a moment or two, because flowers are never just flowers.