Breaking Down Obstacles

 

Hello Lovelies,

It’s always at this time of year that I tend to find myself feeling lost and without direction, not knowing what my next move should be. This feeling often leads to me becoming easily frustrated and annoyed (even more than usual). In one of my fits of annoyance at trying to get something done, something I can’t actually even recall now, my husband said this,

“When an obstacle is in front of you, don’t stand there looking at it asking, “What’s this?” Break it down and go after what you want.”

-Husband

No, he wasn’t quoting some philosophical figure. These were his words, pretty good from someone whose first language isn’t even English!

What he said really hit me and got me thinking, why do I even do that? When faced with an obstacle my first instinct is often to stop and go, “Wow look an obstacle” instead of breaking it down and figuring out how to overcome it. Sometimes the “figuring out” part comes later, but not always. Most often instead of doing the “figuring out” part, I tend to just find (or create) even more obstacles between myself and my goal.

So here I find myself on the morning of New Years Eve, feeling annoyed and frustrated with myself for not having written anything substantial since August. I’ve done a few poems, short stories and the children’s books I wrote for each of my children for Christmas, but I haven’t worked on József and Anna’s story in four months.

 When I consider I wanted to have the first draft completed in 2016, I feel as though I have completely let myself down. Since arriving back in Australia I’ve been busy unpacking and adjusting to living in the “real world” again, but these are all just excuses. Work, unpacking, the craziness of day-to-day life of course all of these things take away from potential writing time, but so does the downloading and reading of countless books on Kindle… which I am definitely guilty of in the last few months.

There are the obstacles that life throws your way and then there are the obstacles that you create yourself. I don’t know why I do this to myself. Yes it was a lot easier to stay up writing when I didn’t have to worry about school, work or anything else the following day, but all because there’s more obstacles between me and my writing, it doesn’t mean I need to stop writing. I just need to stop making excuses, break down the obstacles and write!

I know my husband wasn’t referring to my writing when he said the words above, but as I said, his words got me thinking. Instead of making excuses about why I haven’t written anything substantial in four months, I need to start being creative with ways that I can fit in some writing time. I’m already one of the world’s top procrastinators, so it doesn’t take me much to come up with totally legitimate (sounding) excuses to neglect my writing. At the end of the day though, it just leaves me feeling guilty, like I’ve let myself down, not something I really like feeling, come to think of it.

I’m not trying to tell you all that starting tomorrow there’ll be no more excuses, that I’ll face each obstacle with the strength and focus of a Viking sheildmaiden, breaking down each and every obstacle that lies in my path. No that’s not what I’m saying, that almost sounds like a New Year’s Resolution – and I don’t do that, we always end up breaking it by the 2nd of January anyway.

I’m not magically going to become a non-procrastinator just because I resolve to do so, we all know that will never happen. Instead I’m going to make myself a promise. A promise to try harder to find time to write, to try harder when going after what I want. Instead of focusing on the obstacles in my way, I’m going to try and figure out how to break down those obstacles and get to where I want to be. It might happen, it might not, but the point is I’m going to try.

Happy New Year everyone. May 2017 be the year you chase after what you want.

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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A Visit from St. Nicholas

Hello Lovelies,

Apparently ‘Tis the season to be merry and Jolly Old St. Nicholas will soon be making his much anticipated appearance. So I’d thought I’d take this opportunity to reflect a little and even provide you all with some totally useless but interesting facts about perhaps one of the English speaking world’s most famous poems, “The Night Before Christmas” as my little gift to you.

“The Night Before Christmas” was first published anonymously in 1823 and was titled “A Visit from St. Nicholas. It wasn’t until over a decade later, in 1837 that Clement Clarke Moore was attributed with authorship of the poem. However, the authorship is still an ongoing debate amongst scholars, with some claiming there is evidence to suggest that the poem was written by Major Henry Livingstone Jr. This is an interesting debate, especially when you consider that authorship was attributed to Clement Clarke Moore fourteen years after it was originally published and nine years after the death of Henry Livingstone and it wasn’t until 1844 that Clement Clarke Moore acknowledged authorship by including it in his own book of poems. Also, Wikipedia cites more recent analysis of the poem stating,

In 2016, the matter was further discussed by MacDonald P. Jackson, an emeritus professor of English at the University of Auckland, a fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand and an expert in authorship attribution using statistical techniques. He evaluated every argument using modern computational stylistics, including one never used before – statistical analysis of phonemes – and found in every test that Livingston was the more likely author.

(Read more on Wikipedia here and here).

Nowadays though, most people recognise the poem from it’s opening line, “‘Twas the night before Christmas…” which is where it’s current title is derived from, without giving thought to the author, which is a bit of a shame. However, what the imagery provided by the poem captures people’s imaginations, young and old, evoking the magic of Christmas even to this day.

Also, the names of Santa’s eight tiny reindeer are derived from the poem. Now commonly written as Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, and Blitzen, the names over the years (and in different publications of the poem) have differed slight in spelling. For example, Donner and Blitzen have also been written as Donder and Dunder (derived from “thunder” in German and Dutch) and Blixem and Blixen (derived from “lightning”). Interesting but useless information, right!

Now to move on to something different… In the lead up to Christmas, I have been listening to the Pentatonix Christmas album, “That’s Christmas to me.” The title track of this album is one of my absolute favourites and is an original Pentatonix song, which you can listen to here. I think my love of Pentatonix has rubbed off onto my children, as they can name all five members by only listening to them sing and describe pitch in relation to the vocal range of the members. Anyway, when listening to the words of this song, I was thinking what a great children’s book the lyrics would make, looking at the true meaning of Christmas. The song itself even prompted my children to discuss what Christmas really is. They’ve decided it’s not about presents even though they’re really nice), it’s not even about the food (although I really do like the food, perhaps a little too much according to my waist), they’ve decided it’s about being with the people you love. Maybe that’s just one other person, perhaps it’s a house full of people it doesn’t matter as long as you get to spend your Christmas with someone you care about.

What about those who don’t have someone to spend Christmas with you ask? People like mother-daughter team Cassidy and Linda Strickland of local charity Hawkesbury’s Helping Hands are setting their sights on rectifying that. Their annual “Christmas Day Get Together” provides a, “free lunch on Christmas Day with no strings, no questions and no judgement, for everyone to enjoy !!” (quoted from the HHH website, click here for more information).

So whether you celebrate Christmas or not, take the opportunity to spend it with your loved ones or perhaps to help those who would normally spend the holiday alone.

And don’t forget to read “The Night Before Christmas”/”A Visit from St. Nicholas” by Clement Clare Moore/Henry Livingstone Jr. Whatever the title, whoever the author just remember that the magic that is Christmas is all around, all you need to do is believe.

 

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.

 

 

Norbit – Comedy or?

Hello Lovelies,

Recently I saw the Eddie Murphy movie “Norbit”, I know I’m about nine years behind (with the movie being released in 2007) but there was nothing else on TV and as I watched, I found myself wondering whether it was Eddie Murphy’s intention to poke fun at domestic violence.

Now before you click close on your browser, I’m not about to get all preachy and say that everyone should boycott all Eddie Murphy movies because of this particular one. I enjoy an Eddie Murphy movie as much as the next person, however this movie did make me wonder about a few things.

If you’re not familiar with this movie, I’ll give you a brief summary. Norbit (Eddie Murphy) is abandoned as a baby at an orphanage run by a Chinese man (also Eddie Murphy). As a boy Norbit is very close to his fellow orphan (a girl named Kate, not played by Eddie Murphy). Norbit and Kate would have spent the rest of their childhood and lives together, but Kate is adopted and moves away.

Now comes in Rasputia (again played by Eddie Murphy) a girl very large for her age who protects Norbit from the bullies. Rasputia is very domineering and as adults they get married.

Now this is where the “interesting” part starts…

Rasputia is an extremely overweight, domineering and violent adult. As a wife to Norbit she is constantly belittling him, verbally abusing him and even forcing herself onto the timid Norbit in the bedroom. Later in the film, we also see Rasputia physically abusing Norbit, breaking him down both physically and emotionally, even confining him to the basement.

The movie isn’t abuse scene after abuse scene, there are plenty of the fat jokes and racist remarks you’d expect in an Eddie Murphy movie, but the abuse against Norbit is definitely there.

Now I’m one of those people who thinks political correctness is a bunch of bull$h!t and people are often just looking for something to be offended by. I mean, you can’t even describe a person’s appearance without being labelled a racist. The last thing I would expect from Eddie Murphy is for him or his movies to abide by the over-the-top political correctness rampant in society and I’m not saying I’m exactly offended by this movie. I’m just wondering what the point of depicting obvious spousal abuse in comedic light was.

If we take a step back from the “nanny state” for a minute, we can take a moment to consider the possible impact of this movie. When people think of domestic violence and spousal abuse, the immediate image that comes to mind is some low-life scum of a man beating on his wife. Whilst this unfortunately can be the case, with women being at least three times more likely than men to experience violence from an intimate partner (find more stats here), men also are the victims of domestic violence and abuse. Out of every three reports of domestic abuse, one of those is male. In Australia, the One in Three campaign aims to shed light on this often surprising statistic. (Find out more about the campaign by clicking here)

Now back to the movie. In the case of Norbit, his abuse is shown in a comedic light, it makes people laugh (which I’m not exactly encouraging), but could it also make people more aware that domestic violence against men is a thing?

If this is the case, then maybe that’s a good thing. However by showing Norbit’s plight in such a comedic manner, it is also taking away the importance and severity of the issue. Domestic violence against men IS a thing and the statistics only provide a glimpse of the severity of the issue. Men may also be less likely to report cases of domestic abuse, from fear of being labelled as wimps or as less of a man. The stigma is already there and the movie Norbit has the ability to further reinforce that idea.

If a woman says she has been raped, there’s outrage from all sides. If a man says the same, people doubt him (not the professionals, but people in general) some even go as far to say he should consider himself to be lucky.

Domestic and sexual abuse in any form, whether it be against men, women, children, the elderly, whatever, is NEVER okay.

So this is what I’m saying, the movie Norbit, whilst funny in some ways, does have the ability to reinforce the stigma surrounding domestic violence against men. Domestic violence against men IS a serious issue that needs to be spoken about, but not in a comedic way. I don’t think Eddie Murphy purposely went out to poke fun at a very serious issue, I honestly don’t think he even considered it as one and despite the issue of the movie depicting domestic violence against men in a comedic light, if it even makes one person wonder and become more aware that domestic violence against men is a real issue, then I say go ahead, watch the movie (even if it’s not that great). It’s just a movie, after all.

But never forget, in the real world domestic violence in any form is never okay.

-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.

 

Angry Adolescent

Hello Lovelies,

I know I promised you this post a week ago, but life, work and writing Christmas stories for my kids got in the way of blogging!

Here I am now though and I’m determined to share with you all, “something I prepared earlier.”

Something that’s always fun and interesting, even sometimes a little embarrassing and cringe-worthy is some of the items you come across when unpacking your house. The trip down memory lane is always full of mixed emotions and on this occasion I’ve come to this conclusion: I was an angry, moody a**hole adolescent.

I know what you’re thinking, we all go through the stage when we think are parents are jerks and can’t wait for the day when we’re old enough to do whatever we want. We envision adulthood as a time when we set our own bedtime, stay out as late as we want and eat whatever we want and if we don’t feel like cleaning our rooms, well we just bloody won’t!

You see, I found my old diary, you know the one where you write down all your angry and frustrated thoughts as a teenager every time you got pi$$ed off with your parents? Yea…. that one…

That particular diary made for a very interesting read, I must say! Every time I experienced some heightened emotion (anger, frustration, happiness, lust, confusion, uncertainty) I seemed to have written in my diary. Of course I’m not going to directly share anything from it, as I still consider them to be the private thoughts of my adolescent self, but besides looking back and thinking how much of a dingbat I was and how easy I had things back then, I also see how unsure and insecure I was.

I wanted to be treated as an adult and was frustrated if I wasn’t, but I was also unsure of myself and what I wanted. Even now, I often find myself feeling unsure of what my future holds and what direction I should take.

As a teenager our actions are influenced by and clouded with emotion, when we are adults we often attempt to influence our actions with logic and practicality. Neither of these on it’s own should be a basis for how we live our lives, however by blending emotion with logic we may very well stand a better chance of living a happy life.

So myself now as an adult, what is my direction?

My heart and emotion is telling me to write, to create, to explore but my practical and logical side is telling me that the bills aren’t going to stop piling up, just because I want to change my life direction. So, for now at least, I need to find a mixture of the two and I need to keep my day job and fit in writing whenever I can and keep on chasing the dream.

My days as an angry adolescent are not completely history, of course there are times when my emotions cloud my judgement and influence my actions, as they do with us all some times, but I’d like to think that with a bit of life experience behind me now, I am able to stand back and assess the situation better now, but I’m still trying to fine tune how to get the best of both worlds.

Here I am, the shadows of an angry adolescent breaking into the light of day occasionally, still trying to figure out which direction to go.

 

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.