All posts by Daniele Frau

This is where I start speaking about me in third person. Weird, uh? Early years
Born in Cagliari in 1987, he suddenly started to speak a language, later called "Daniele Frau" (all rights reserved). After 18 long years he had his diploma in Teaching and Psychology and he was ready for University.
University
First, the University of Cagliari, where Daniele Frau graduated in Languages for International Communication. He studied Arabic and English, and Russian (A1) and Chinese (A1) in external university courses. In the meantime, in 2007 and 2009, he decided to perfectionate the Arabic language in Tunis. Why Tunis? Simply because he was already working and living by himself, and Bourguiba University is a cheap but high standard university.
University/2
But Daniele Frau wasn't so happy about it. He wanted more. Arrived in Rome in 2010, decided to enter first in ISIAO (Institution for Africa and Orient), while he finished the Three Years Diploma in Arabic Language, and then in Roma Tre University. Here he studied Arabic and English and graduated in 2014.
Workwise
Daniele Frau (which is still me speaking in third person) started early to work. Really early, 14 y/o. Later on he decided to start with selling, with good results, but it wasn't enough. His dream was translating and writing, and step by step started collaborating with websites, blogs and translating offices.
Today
Today Daniele Frau is currently flying around the world working for a famous airline, taking inspirations for his books. Yes, started in 2018, Flyingstories.org is now the main website he's running. The first story is about a dealer of soul, but step by step more stories will come (in Italian and English).
In January the Italian version of the book Souls Alive become a real book (I mean, with a cover and all). Have a look!
Stay tuned!
That's about it, my friends. If you want to have more detailed information, just check the Linkedin of Daniele Frau. Boring stuff, though. I worked, I studied, I worked again, I studied again.

Why writing a kids’ book?

I sat in my room, surrounded by white walls and all of a sudden, I found myself in a forest, in a castle, or anywhere else, really. It was long ago, and I was a kidlong before I was mature enough to start questioning myself. There wasn’t much space for anything else than fantasy in my mind.

White walls

When we reconnect with that quietness and those white walls, we allow the fantasy to come back to life. Our strange characters crawl around, and the wind starts whistling again in the forest of our imagination.


Kids stories aren’t just stories

Why writing a kids book?

Kids’ stories are canvas, blank canvas kids use to picture their ideas. When I choose the ingredients for my stories, I use my white walls technique. As an adult, I think about what I want to say, the final meaning. Then I close my eyes, and in a moment, the child inside me takes over, redesigning that adult idea into something that can be fun, too. Yes, kid’s characters must be fun. That’s a plus.

Stories

It’s time for the story to start its own life under the force of my fingertips. After a few days, I always return to the text I wrote the first time to add something, change it entirely and then reread it. When I’m writing for children, I have to do a further step. I have to think: 

“I’m leaving enough space for the child to create his/her own story?”

When writing a story for kids, we must answer this question.
It’s not about us and the plot anymore; it’s about something more profound. We’re dealing with personalities, beliefs and strong emotions. We often forget, but children aren’t mere reflections of ourselves. In fact, they are way more complicated than we think.

Nodo, the chairs’ mover


When I first wrote Nodo the chairs’ mover, I had to keep it in mind. Nodo doesn’t have to be a hero or an anti-hero. It doesn’t need to teach anything at all. He’s the impersonification of fear, and children have to laugh about it. They must laugh at the twigs’ snapper in the forest and the keys’ hider when they see their parents getting crazy, searching frantically for their precious keys.


It’s when I heard a child laughing at my story, that I understood I was going on the right path. I created the right set of blank canvas for him.

On society and customs

Society isn’t an abstract concept. On the contrary, society is way more concrete than we think. Every choice we make, even the one we believe to be totally irrelevant for the rest of the world, has an impact. The way we speak to our friends, our family, to ourselves.

Change the rules


Society dictates the rules we follow and we can bend those rules, but we cannot change them radically, not in the fraction of time which is our life. That doesn’t mean our choices are useless, irrelevant, or destined to fail.

However, we don’t have to get frustrated if we see society struggling to follow what we think it’s correct, understanding what is right. From a fractal perspective, society can probably be described as a bigger, more complex version of ourselves. In the middle, there are smaller societies, as our churches, our clubs (any clubs, not just the one with kayaks or golf sticks), even our families. Our believes, our standards, comes in and we can take them or reject them.

Beard or skirt?

The main difference between us and society is then the time we take to reach innovation.


I recently wrote a story about a new law in Italy that intends to get a harder punishment for those who discriminate against others with homophobic intentions. I didn’t want to give a lesson but create a story offering a different perspective on the matter.


Imagine if women had a beard and men dressed as women, with their legs properly shaved. Imagine now the politicians defending men dressing in a skirt, as “we always did”.

If we do something for a long time, it doesn’t automatically mean it’s the right thing to do. Keep in mind that, as absurd it would seem to you, I didn’t invent anything.

Most of the speeches you’ll read in the story, Skirt or beard, are actual speeches from real politicians.

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!