#Poetry: Don’t Look Away…

I found this heartbreaking poem while sorting out some old papers.

It was written more than ten years ago by my granddaughter, Hayley.

 

 

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Image by Pixabay.com

 

Don’t Look Away

Rich or poor, thin or stout

You’ll know when bullies are about.

There’ll be eyes that are crying

And those that are looking away.

‘No Sir, I didn’t see what happened…

I really couldn’t say.’

Or the bullies will get me tomorrow,

When you are looking away.

When the bullies shout and push you about

And when you call for help,

I won’t tell you to go away,

Don’t make a fuss dear,

As grown-ups are prone to say.

I will stand beside you and say

My name is Hayley Steele

I will not look away…

©written by Hayley Steele

(Anita’s granddaughter)

 

 

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Image by Pixabay.com

 

 

#ThrowbackThursday~ The Power of Books x4…An excerpt from Simple

 

There has been a lot of talk lately about bullying and how wrong it is. How damaging and cruel and all the places you find it. One of the worst places, I think, is inside the family unit.

Ordinary people who wouldn’t dream of bullying in the general sense can be guilty of the quite severe bullying of a family member. Most families have at least one relative whose modus operandi is to shoot people down. Usually condoned as ‘being for their own good.’
As if nagging someone to the point of insanity can ever do any good.

Sometimes, even the kindest people think they have the right to do it, simply because they are family, especially if they think the recipient deserves or needs it.

I am sure quite a lot of us have been on the receiving end of severe nagging that all too often can slide into bullying. There is a very fine line separating ‘helpful suggestions’ from the cruel taunting that is present in a lot of our homes.

Here is an excerpt from Simple by Anita Dawes, a story about such family bullying. Even more despicable in this case because the abused is a mentally challenged man, someone with the mind and heart of a child. Someone who only had one friend in the world, his half-sister, Leanne.

“Simple was almost well enough to leave, but Belle made us stay a few days more than we needed, said she liked the company. As we left, she said I should come by some time, ‘Bring Simple if you want. There’s a bed and food on the table whenever you have need of it.’

I thanked Belle for her kindness and told her I understood there was more than one way of telling a story. Simple was pulling at his ear, the way he did when Lizzie cries, or when his thoughts won’t settle, or his mind won’t let him hold on to one long enough to say what he’s feeling. He didn’t need to tell me, I could feel his fear alongside my own. I took his hand, the one that didn’t want to let go of his ear and led him towards the clearing, to the path that would take us home.

On the way, I told Simple that Gran wouldn’t be mean to him anymore, that I wasn’t going to let anyone hurt him again. We walked slowly; there was no need to hurry as I was in no rush to see Gran. When we stopped every now and then to eat the food Belle had given us, I wondered how it would be. Simple was still pulling at his ear while trying to tell me Gran was gonna be mad at him. Then he said he couldn’t go back. ‘Lizzie s-sad, Simple didn’t get b-baby.’
It didn’t seem to matter what words I used, his mind was stuck on Lizzie having what she cried for.

Then it hit me. I would work on Lizzie! The thought came like a flash of lightning. If I stopped her from carrying on, Simple would stay out of trouble. I was feeling better about going back with every step we took.We needed to reach the caves before it got much darker. I could feel the rain coming and the need for sleep was slowing my body to a stumble. We staggered on and finally saw the mouth of the caves. I never thought the sight of them would be welcome, but it was a temporary haven. Better than what awaited us at Gran’s.”

Will they escape to a better life? Can there be a better life for Simple?

You can find Simple here… myBook.to/mySimple

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Would You Read This Book?

A look back, from Anita…

 

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Bad Moon was the first book I ever wrote, and came about I think, because I am slightly obsessed with the way the people in West Virginia talk.
Some people call them Hillbilly’s and years ago, there was a very funny television programme called The Beverly HillBilly’s. Maybe that was where it started, I don’t know.
I love the place too; it seems so wild and untamed. So much, I sometimes wonder if my father came from there and I have inherited something. I have it on good authority (from my mother) that he was an American.

 

So when this very distinctive voice began to speak in my head, all about her life and family, in no time at all I was completely hooked. Annie’s story is nothing like “The Walton’s”, no happy family in the usual sense of the word. They do seem to care for each other, but most of the time what they get up to is pretty hard to live with, a conclusion that the girl in my head had already arrived at.
The more she tries to change things, to make them better, the worse they seem to get. Horrible secrets are revealed and bad things keep happening, but this only seems to make her more determined than ever to leave all the pain and sorrow behind.

The trouble with writing such an unusual book is that most publishers won’t touch it with a barge pole. When I first wrote it, I tried very hard to get it published by the mainstream publishing industry. Most of them loved it, saying it was ‘powerfully written’. It very nearly made it, but, and it was a big but, they discovered to their horror that they didn’t know how to market it, and one by one they gave up on it.
I think it is a great story. It has everything, plenty of drama, horrifying storylines, love and passion, all wrapped up in a young girls rapidly growing sense of right and wrong.
I’m still trying to find people who will read it, and dare I say it, review it. It needs to succeed, if only because the book that came after, Simple, is based in West Virginia too and about a similar family group.
In some ways, Simple is worse, as it concerns bullying and the abuse of a mentally impaired family member.

I’m sure that if more people were aware of these books, they would receive more acclaim, but I fear my marketing attempts are inadequate at best.
I’m still in there, swinging… so who knows?

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