May I…?

Hello Lovelies,

These past couple of weeks I’ve been busy with work and family life, but also busy trying to find my direction in life.

With all of that, I’ve unfortunately had little time (or energy) for writing, even though my mind has been working overtime with all my ponderings.

Now I don’t consider myself to be a “Grammar Nazi”, I often make many mistakes and typos in my writing and even when I speak (I’m blaming the students, I hear how they speak and I think it’s rubbing off on me), but I am, however, able to recognise my mistakes and I do enjoy taking the “mickey” out of friends and family by pointing out their own errors, all in good fun, of course.

Now one particular thing I would like to discuss in this post is “Can I…?” versus “May I….?”

For example, when a student asks permission to go to the bathroom during class time, they will often phrase it as, “Can I please go to the bathroom?” rather than, “May I please go to the bathroom?”

When I am in the mood to confuse them a little, my response is usually, “I don’t know, can you?” when their request is phrased as, “Can I…?” You see, the first example raises questions of a person’s ability to complete the task they are attempting to request. The you of, “Can I..?” is not entirely incorrect and is perfectly acceptable in the English language, but  as I said, it can raise questions of ability.

“May I…?” is in fact a more formal style of request, therefore would not usually be expected from my students in the classroom, but it is fun to mess with their minds every now and then.

For more information about “May I…?” versus “Can I…?” be sure to check out this great post on Grammar Girl

As the post discusses, once upon a time “can” was used when discussing ability and “may” was used in regards to a  request for permission. However these days the two are used rather interchangeably.

Now, moving on to other things…

Even though my writing  of József and Anna’s story has taken a back seat at the moment, I’m currently in the process of writing a You Be the Illustrator! Personalised Children’s Story for each of my children for Christmas. This is one of the many products and services my new business Creative Freedom Freelance Writing Services is offering and I thought by creative one for each of my children, it would not only be a beautifully unique Christmas gift, but also a good way to play around with some ideas to offer clients. Each story will be a personalised children’s Christmas story featuring my children as main characters, as well as incorporating their own likes and interests into the story.

Writing shorter pieces of work is a good way to exercise those writing muscles and to experiment and explore different ways of writing. Whilst I normally write when an idea hits and then follow the characters on their journey, with the personalised children’s stories, there are so many things I need to incorporate into the story and I need to try and make it as seamless as possible, as if the details were meant to be there as part of the story rather than a tokenism of inclusion. To try and achieve this, each story is drafted and written for each specific child and it is not simply adding the details to an already written story template. So this can be a challenge, but definitely makes for a more unique and much better written story, in my opinion.

I’m hoping to get all three stories finished this week and arrange to get them illustrated and bound with some time to spare. So wish me luck, especially considering that Christmas is less than a month away now!

After all that is said and done, it will be time to move on with József and Anna’s story! I can’t wait to connect with them again and figure out the details of the amazingly daunting adventure they are about to set out on.

Until then,

I will no longer question my ability by asking, “Can I be a published writer?” nor will I ask permission by asking, “May I be a published writer?” I’m just going to keep moving forward, I’m going to keep writing and I going to grasp every opportunity with both hands.



© 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.

Chasing Inspiration

Hello Lovelies,

I know, I know, my posting schedule is still all over the the place, but this time I have a good excuse, I promise.

Last Sunday, instead of writing and uploading a new blog post as I was supposed to, I was busy chasing inspiration for the next part of József and Anna’s story.One of my best friends (the same one who’s help I sought to keep me on track) decided that seeing as though I was overseas when it was my birthday, that she owed me a birthday lunch and outing.

So Sunday was our girl’s day out and we decided to make the most of it and to chase some inspiration!

“If you wait for inspiration to write you’re not a writer, you’re a waiter.

– Dan Poynter

That’s right, I said “chase”. You see, sometimes the inspiration hits us like a brick through a  window. Most of the time though we have to go out in search of it, chase it down and grab onto it with both hands.

“You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.”

-Jack London

So, last Sunday was my chance to chase a little inspiration in the city of Sydney, to immerse myself in the pieces of my characters’ world that still exist, over 100 years later.

Over the course of 100 years, so many things have changed in the city of Sydney and the city would now be almost completely unrecognisable to those who lived there a century ago. Yet, if you know where to look and if you look hard enough, there are quite a few small glimpses into the past.

I started my chase for inspiration in The Rocks, more specifically, at the Susannah Place Museum. This wonderful museum is located at 58-64 Gloucester Street, The Rocks and is a terrace of four houses built in 1844. The houses survived many changes in the area, including the “clean up” after the Bubonic plague and Spanish Influenza epidemic, as well as the construction of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, which resulted in many of properties in the area being demolished, in order to build the on-ramp for the bridge and so on.

The Susannah Place Museum, provides an amazing insight into a world since long gone. From 1844, when the houses were built, right up until the 1970s, Susannah Place transports us to different worlds, different times.

Photos taken with permission at the Susannah Place Museum, copyright Katherine A. Kovács 2016

With out knowing, we actually went to Susannah Place on quite a special day. Usually the museum is only accessed through guided tour each day at 2pm, 3pm and 4pm and the taking of photos is not usually permitted. However, last Sunday was an open day, where we were  pretty much allowed free reign of the museum, under the watchful eye of helpful museum staff positioned throughout the property and photos were very much allowed! The last time this occurred was over 2 years ago! So we definitely went on a good day.

I had come across Susannah Place when researching suitable locations when writing Thomas and Rose’s story (book two of the series). This book was then put aside in order to concentrate on József and Anna’s story. I am now up to a point though, when this location (that plays such a prominent role in the second book of the series) , actually makes its first appearance in the first book. I had seen a few photos of the museum and property, but there’s not too many of them out there. It would have mattered how many pictures I looked at though, nothing prepared me for the overwhelming wave of emotions that overcome me upon entering the property.

As soon as I walked in, I knew I was in the right place. Rooms I had never seen photos of before, were just as I had pictured them in my mind, I had seen my characters standing by one of the windows upstairs, looking out at the growing city. I had seen the wooden chest at the foot of their bed and the wicker baby basket next to them as their infant slept peacefully. I had stepped out of my world and for a brief moment I had entered theirs, the piano, the fireplace, the dresser, the brush, everything was just as I had imagined and the inspiration I was chasing, was mine to grab onto.

So don’t wait for inspiration to strike, get out there and chase it, grabbing onto it with both hands and never letting go.

I can’t wait to chase some more inspiration in the coming months, look out Holsworthy Army Barracks, Q-Station Manly and the other houses and museums of Sydney Living Museums, I’m coming for you!




© 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.