In My Day, We Had a Childhood

children plaing flickr cc SanShoot
Image courtesy of Flickr CC user SanShoot

Hello Lovelies,

This week I’ve been able to get some writing done and even started a timeline of the major events in the series that begins with An Anguished Heart. Even though I am only about halfway to this month’s goal and I’ve made some major breakthroughs, I’ve decided to discuss something else in today’s post.

Being not only a parent, but also a school teacher to my children whilst we are living abroad, I’ve had to opportunity to spend a lot of time with my children, not only teaching them and playing, but also observing them. Observing the things they do, how they behave, the TV shows they like to watch and the clothes they choose to wear or enjoy wearing.

Fortunately, except from enjoying some of the most annoyingly stupid TV shows ever created, my children seem to have a pretty standard childhood. They’re allowed to get dirty, be silly and have fun – all within reason of course. In essence, they’re allowed to be children and allowed to have a childhood, something that is harder and harder to find these days.

It seems that children are almost being forced to grow up as quickly as possible. Event he clothes available to different age groups are suggesting that children as young as seven or eight need to ‘grow up’. My daughter, who is eight, has always been quite tall for her age and has fairly large feet (almost as big as mine!) Since she was around five or six, it’s been a struggle to find decent girl’s clothes for her, you know clothes for actual little girls, not smaller versions of ladies clothes. I’m sorry but I refuse to let my daughter, who is a child, romp around in short shorts with her arse hanging out and flashing non-existent side-boob in some skimpy halter-neck number. My daughter is a child, she still likes to play with dolls, so how about we just let her be the child she is.

It seems even the education system is trying to force our children to grow up sooner than they need to. Instead of beginning kindergarten and learning through play and experience, instead they are bombarded year after year with endless goals and expectations. Instead of exploring themselves and their learning we are telling them they need to be reading at level ** by the end of Kindergarten, so they will be prepared for standardised tests that occur in grades 3, 5, 7 and 9. Despite the latest pedagogy and practices promoting that children should experience learning and explore with open-ended tasks and so on, it doesn’t remove the notion that children (and schools) are being judged by a few tests. Any teacher will know that standardised tests such as NAPLAN do not truly reflect a student’s ability or skills, especially by the time the schools receive the results. However, even though teacher’s are told not to “teach to the test” it doesn’t change the fact that the educational goals for students from kindergarten are in place in order for them to “know enough” by the time they encounter standardised testing. I’m not saying that students and teachers shouldn’t have goals, it is important to have goals and to strive to be better learners and educators, but I do believe that every student is an individual and learning and teaching goals should be reflective of that – standardised testing hampers this.

Many cartoons now are designed to be “educational”, cartoons like Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Dora the Explorer and Dora and Friends all try to be educational and “teach” the children that are viewing these programs.

What happened to children being allowed to use their imaginations? What happened to the time when cartoons were simple and made for enjoyment? Cartoons and characters like the ones made by Hanna-Barbera like The Flintstones, Yogi Bear, Huckleberry Hound, The Jetsons or Top Cat. These days many of these cartoons would be considered “politically incorrect” or to be promoting slavery or racism or some nonsense like that. I watched them all as a child of the eighties and I don’t consider myself to be racist or in favour of slavery, definitely not! Would children these days become racist or such from watching these cartoons? I should think not, especially if their parents are being parents, teaching them right from wrong and fairness and equality.

In my day, we had a childhood. We were allowed to watch a few cartoons as a treat, for entertainment, we were allowed to play and scrape our knees, I was allowed to wear pretty dresses that didn’t have my chest hanging out, I was allowed to wear shorts that covered my arse, I was allowed to wear pretty pink sandals that reflected my age, I was allowed to be a ten-year old dressed as a ten-year old and wasn’t forced to be dressed like I was sixteen, I was allowed to be a child and to have a childhood for as long as possible.

This is the childhood I would like to give my own children, one that isn’t hampered by the constraints of political correctness that has spiraled out of control, one where they are allowed to play, have fun, get dirty and be children! One where they are not forced to “grow up” before their time, a childhood they will remember and look back on with fondness and a smile.

I am a child of the eighties, a time when we were allowed to have a childhood and I want my children to have a childhood too, for as long as they can.

Enjoy,

KK

 

© Katherine A. Kovács and The Writer Within, (2013-2016). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Katherine A. Kovács and The Writer Within with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

 

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Finally, I’ve Found the Link!

llinks flickr CC Patrick McConahay
Image courtesy of Flickr CC user Patrick McConahay

Hello Lovelies,

I didn’t get much writing done this week, but this time it wasn’t procrastination’s fault. I’ve been busy researching, plotting and generally figuring out my characters, which is all super important of course. Yes I admit, that I may have wasted the odd minute (hour) or two (100) on social media and googling Outlander and Game of Thrones, but in the process of working things through in my mind, I’ve had a major breakthrough!

Whilst I already know what will happen in József and Anna’s story (I spoke about that here), through the process of writing and exploring my own mind, I am able to figure out the finer details of the story and the characters.

Since starting this story, I’ve been trying to figure out how some of the main characters of this book are connected to the other characters later in the series. If you didn’t already know, this book is intended to be the first in a series of novels, but is still able to  be read as a standalone as the main characters in this first book are secondary characters in the remainder of the series (read more about my Current Works in Progress here).

I’m sure many writers will agree with me when I say that the breakthrough moments are often at the strangest or most inconvenient of times and usually not during the time when you are sitting down ready to work, like it’s supposed to. This time, my breakthrough moment came at 1 a.m. when I had already been tossing and turning for a few hours trying to sleep. I was running through things in my mind; what scenes I wanted to write next, who the characters’ relatives were, their relationship, dreams, hopes and the turmoil of events that would be coming up later in their story. What I kept coming back to though, was how were József and Anna connected to the the subsequent novels. I already knew the obvious connection, which is actually glimpsed in the prologue of An Anguished Heart , this connection I knew before I even started writing József and Anna’s story. However,  I wanted to go beyond the obvious, I wanted to figure out the critical links, the links that those who read the series will appreciate and the links that would let my mind rest, at least for a short while.

So, there I was tossing back and forth, my husband snoring like a freight train next to me. As I went through some of the events coming up in An Anguished Heart, it finally hit me! I finally found the crucial link!

My excitement would have been comparable to those moments when you come across the comments from those lovely folks on Facebook who helpfully spam the comments on different pages claiming they’ve finally found the links to the movies you’ve been constantly searching for online. I’m a little disappointed that the links never work though, the links totally look legitimate!

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OK, maybe I’m being sarcastic here, I have never actually clicked on any of those links and scroll straight past those comments, but it was an awesome feeling to have finally figured it out.

Unfortunately though, I’m not willing to share with you the exact details of my breakthrough, as that will give away too much of the story. Hopefully one day not too far away though, I will actually finish something and you will be able to read József and Anna’s story in it’s entirety.

Until then, here is a short excerpt where József needs to ask a somewhat strange favour from a friend.

Enjoy,

KK

“Oh József, it’s you.” He said looking up from his desk, sounding surprised to see me. It was then I realised that I had never really come to Ádam for anything, except those few times on my sister’s behalf. Ádam and I had always been friends and had become closer over the last few years, especially after he and my sister Éva became engaged, but I never really go out of my way to come and speak to him. I suddenly felt like I was interrupting something important and thought that perhaps what I was about to ask him was not only odd, but perhaps too big of an ask.

-An Anguished Heart by Katherine A. Kovács

 

© Katherine A. Kovács and The Writer Within, (2013-2016). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Katherine A. Kovács and The Writer Within with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

 

I Already Know What Will Happen

writing flickr CC OuadiO
Image courtesy of Flickr CC user OuadiO

 

Hello Lovelies,

Up until last night, I had no idea what this week’s post was going to be about. I knew I wanted to get back to my WIP again, but have sort of shied away from it a little since getting over those rather heart-wrenching scenes I wrote a couple of weeks ago. I was speaking to a fellow writer and long-time friend about the lack of progress in my writing lately.

This is what came out of that discussion, we are both suffering from minimalwordcountitis (I may have made up that diagnosis) but for different reasons, we are both equally frustrated because in our minds, we already know what will happen. That is, we know how the story starts, we know how it ends and everything in between.

You see, whilst our characters stories never really end (read about why here), we still know the plot of the book. I know the path that the characters take, I have even seen the scenes played out in my mind many times, some changes might be made as the story and the characters develop of course, but in a nutshell, I already know what will happen.

That’s why it’s so frustrating when the words don’t seem to be coming, it’s all there in your head the characters have a life of their own and they show you their story. That’s the easy part, the part when you’re the audience, but it’s a little more difficult to bring the characters to life on the page, finding the right words to convey what they think, feel, see and experience.

“One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.”

-Jack Kerouac

So this is where I am, I have twenty days left to meet this month’s goal of 8,000 words and I haven’t even written one. I need to get back into it and stop shying away from it. Writing isn’t easy, I never thought it would be, and even though I procrastinate constantly I am the type of person who likes to finish what I start. So I will finish this story, I will meet the word count and I will give my characters a voice, not just because I promised myself that I would or because I’m stubborn (although that helps) but because I already know what will happen and there’s no point in leaving a story trapped inside my mind when I can share it.

Plus, I don’t think my characters would shut up if I neglected them for any longer. They would slowly drive me mad playing their story over and over again!

So, if I already know what will happen, I better get to work and bring them to life through words.

Wish me luck!

-KK

 

© Katherine A. Kovács and The Writer Within, (2013-2016). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Katherine A. Kovács and The Writer Within with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

A New Adventure

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Hello Lovelies,

After considering it for quite some time, I’ve decided to finally take the leap and start my own freelance writing business, with a difference.

Whilst I will be offering a range of services aimed at businesses, what I am most excited about is the services for individuals I will be offering.

I’ve always loved the idea of the gift of words, that is, giving words as a gift. Perhaps in the form of a meaningful message in a handmade card for a birthday, wedding, engagement or anniversary. Maybe the gift of words will take the form of a detailed story to celebrate a special someone, a story of their life or perhaps in the form of a personalised children’s story. This is why I decided to offer a range of gift ideas as part of the services offered by Creative Freedom Freelance Writing Services.

For my grandmother’s 80th birthday, I wrote and made a scrapbook detailing her life from her birth up until her 80th birthday, a sort of “This is you life” book celebrating her life and accomplishments while she was definitely still with us to celebrate. My relatives loved the idea and friends thought it was such a great present that they wished they could do something like that. Well with Creative Freedom Freelance that’s exactly what you’ll be able to do, because, “we will write it for you!”

My daughter loves to create stories and enjoys telling her two younger brothers bedtime stories. However, she doesn’t really like the actual writing of the stories, she finds it a bit of a struggle to get her idea into words and often we will write the stories together and she will illustrate them (she adores drawing pictures). In my teaching career I have found that is often the case, many children enjoy creating stories and using their imaginations but most of all they love being the illustrator. So I thought, why not give children that opportunity? The opportunity to be the illustrator for the story of their own imaginings or to illustrate a personalised story of all their favourite things given as a gift.

I’m not sure if my explanations here are making sense, but my point is this: I want to be able to provide the opportunity  for everyone to be able to give the gift of words.

Words are a powerful, they can make you laugh, make you cry, they can lift you up when you need it, they can convey love, excitement, happiness and every other emotion you can fathom, they can remind us of who we love and of what is important. Words have the ability to transport you to worlds far away, worlds even beyond your imagination. Yes, words are powerful indeed and giving the gift of words is perhaps even more so. Written words though, have staying power, they last  much longer than spoken words. Written words can be read and cherished and reread for as long as the owner possesses them. They are there as a constant reminder of love, life, happiness and appreciation.

So if you would like to give the gift of words, feel free to contact Creative Freedom Freelance Writing Services through the blog by clicking here, on Facebook by clicking here, on Twitter (@Creativ_Freedom) or by emailing creativefreedomfreelance@hotmail.com

The website and blog is currently under construction and more content will be added soon, however if you have a specific question or request please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Enjoy,

KK

 

© Katherine A. Kovács and The Writer Within, (2013-2016). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Katherine A. Kovács and The Writer Within with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.