Set It all Free

Hello Lovelies,

Recently I’ve been battling with the dark cloud that is self-doubt and what a dark cloud that is.

You see, a couple of months ago I spotted a writing competition for emerging novelists. To enter you needed to have at least started a manuscript with the intention of completing it, provide the first three chapters, plus an outline of the remaining chapters and a brief statement as to how the prize (of $10,000 and a year mentorship from a top publishing house) would help launch your writing career. 

How awesome, I thought. Even if I didn’t win, it would be an amazing experience, I thought to myself. Entries didn’t close until July, so I had plenty of time to prepare my entry.

But then the clouds began to gather and rather than face my fears and tackle the increasing self-doubt, I did what I do best… I procrastinated and then procrastinated some more. 

And now here I sit, wondering whether or not I’ve blown my chance at one of the biggest opportunities a writer can come across.

One of my children’s favourite movies of late is “Sing”. I also quite like the movie myself and don’t exactly object to listening to the soundtrack in the car, especially one song in particular sung by the angsty teen punk rock porcupine voiced by Scarlett Johansson. The song titled, “Set It All Free” tells the story of Johansson’s character not letting her ex keep her down or tell her she doesn’t have what it takes to be a star. 

Stickin’ to the plan that says I can

Do anything at all

I can do anything at all

Whilst I’m definitely not some angsty teen and I don’t have some ass of an ex holding me back, the moral of the song I think is that we shouldn’t let anyone tell us that we can’t do it, that we can’t achieve our dreams, and that “anyone” also includes ourselves.

In striving to meet our goals and dreams, sometimes we can be our own worst enemy, holding ourselves back. Perhaps out of fear, fear of rejection? Fear of accomplishing our dreams and moving on to the inevitable “now what”? Fear of the unknown?  Often it happens unconsciously, we don’t realise that it’s not the world and those in it that is holding us back, but ourselves. Whether it be through procrastination or perhaps finding excuses not to take that next step, we are the ones telling ourselves that we can’t do it, that we are not worthy and holding ourselves back.

What we need to do though, is set it all free. Let go of our fears and stop holding ourselves back.

Cos I’m here and I’m never letting go

I can finally see, it’s not just a dream

When you set it all free, all free, all free

You set it all free

I can do it, I am worth it, my dreams are not just dreams but goals. I need to let go of my self-doubt, set it all free and realise that it doesn’t matter whether I succeed on my first go, the point is to keep trying, to keep at it, because if I do that, then there’s really no such thing as failure.

Just set it all free.

Enjoy,

KK

© Katherine A. Kovács and The Writer Within, (2013-2017). 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

**Lyrics from “Set it all Free” written by Dave Richard Bassett • Copyright © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd

I Wanted the Library

Hello Lovelies,

Yes it has been a while, I know I’ve been missing for quite some time. I hope we can move past this. I have so much I want to share with you, but first I need to know if you can ever forgive me for staying away for so long. I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me for my prolonged absence, I could give you a hundred excuses as to why (and they would be mostly true) but instead I’m just going to go with a straight apology and hope that we can move on.
So, I’m sorry. Sorry I’ve missed around six weeks of blog posts. Sorry that I’ve been absent from facebook and twitter (I’ll get around to following back I promise) and I’m sorry that some of my more recent posts have been below par, except this one, it was pretty good.

Now, let’s move on. The other day I saw a meme on Facebook that said something along the lines of, “When other girls first saw Beauty and the Beast, they wanted the prince, but I wanted the library.” This couldn’t be more true, besides the amazing songs in the original and in the new Beaty and the Beast, the one thing that always stuck in my mind was the size and beauty of that amazing library. I guess it was a bonus that the prince and the library ended up being a package deal though. 

For as long as I can remember, I have always had a love of books. The words, the smell, the covers and different styles, the ability to transport you to any place in any time. Books are truly amazing and libraries present us with endless possibilities to escape, to learn, to dream. As a child in primary school, my favourite time of the week was when our class went for our library lesson. Unfortunately in schools these days, library lessons with the teacher-librarian are virtually non-existent. Yet, it was a totally different story when I was in primary school, actually even when I first started teaching, it was different as well. These days the students usually go to the library once a week to borrow a book or two. 

However, when I was in primary school and in my early teaching career, students went to the library once a week for an actual library lesson with the teacher-librarian, while the classroom teacher had some release and planning time. The library lesson consisted of some modelled or shared reading, reminders of how to respectfully use the library, including how to replace to books on the shelves in the correct section with the spine facing outwards, how to select a book that might interest us by reading the blurb etc. and when we were older we were taught how to utilise the library for research purposes. 

Unfortunately, in today’s modern technological age, the appreciation of libraries and teacher-librarians in schools and the community is quickly diminishing. Many councils have chosen to close their local libraries all around the world and no matter how disappointing it might be, there is little that can be done. For those who wanted the library rather than the prince though, the home library is the solution. Whilst the average book lover will never enjoy the grandness (in size, furnishing or number of books) of the library in Beauty and the Beast, nor be able to match the vast catalogue of a council library, the words, the smells, the escape, the ability the transport you can all be replicated in a home library, something I am working on in my own house. 

I have quite an extensive book collection, which is constantly growing, much to my husband’s dismay. To transform this book collection into an inviting, comforting space to escape is the next step, however, I might be needing a bigger house! I have the shelves, I have the desk, yet it seems that everything gets shoved into this room on its way to being packed away as well. I’ll get there in the end though. 

So from the girl who wanted the library, get the library, build the library, be the library… Well perhaps not be the library, but find your little space to escape, because we all need to escape every now and then, even if it’s just for a little while.

Enjoy,

KK

 

© Katherine A. Kovács and The Writer Within, (2013-2017). 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

Inspired by Actual Events

Hello lovelies,

This week I am still at a loss as I wait for my computer to be fixed. You see my husband is a total computer nerd, but in an, “I also like body building” kind of way. So he looks good while fixing computers and playing PC games 😉
So the good news is, he can totally fix my laptop AND save my data, but the down side is him being able to find time to fix it for me. So until then, I’m limited to using the WordPress app on my phone.

I guess this has sort of been a blessing in disguise, as I found some short stories I wrote on the MS Office app on my phone.

After a little editing (on a much smaller screen, mind you), I’m ready to share one of these short stories with you all. This story was inspired by actual events, but of course, is still a work of fiction.

Enjoy,
KK

New Friends…

I pulled up next to the obnoxiously orange ford ute at the traffic lights and waved excitedly at the male occupant.

He waved back, looking a little confused, but as I began to wind down my window, he followed suit.

“Oh my gosh! Fancy seeing you here! Small world hey?! It’s so nice to see you again so soon.” I said with over-the-top excitement in my voice, my hands flapping around excitedly.

“Um yea… Fancy that hey..” He replied with uncertainty.

“You don’t remember me, do you?” I said in mock shock.

“No, I’m sorry I don’t.” He said with an apologetic shrug.

“Well I suppose I can forgive you.” I said with a silly girly giggle. “After all we only met for a moment, but I certainly remember you.” I said with a wink.

He looked at me questioningly, so I continued to enlighten him about our previous chance meeting.
“You’re the asshole that aggressively overtook me for doing the speed limit, barely missing the front of my car.” I said, still with a ridiculously sweet smile on my face. “And now we meet again, just seconds later at the next set of lights! Definitely a small world!”

I loved it when the dawn of realization formed on his face, as he suddenly figured out what was going on.

“Oh, green light!” I said as I waved and quickly pulled away from the intersection. I couldn’t help but laugh at leaving him behind looking utterly stupefied and embarrassed as I watched him struggle with the car’s gears in my rear view mirror.

Moral of the story: Driving like an asshole doesn’t get you very far, on the road or in life.

 

 

© Katherine A. Kovács and The Writer Within, (2013-2017). 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

Raw and Real or Perfectly Polished?

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Image courtesy of Flickr CC user zapdelight

Hello Lovelies,

Everyday life has been getting in the way of my writing lately and it has been a while since I last posted, but I’m here now and hope to give you a little insight into my thoughts and views when it comes to my own writing.

You might have noticed that quite often, my blog posts are not perfectly polished, they contains typos, grammatical errors and silly spelling mistakes. There is a reason for this.

You see, my posts are meant to provide an insight into the inner workings of this writer’s mind. To give you all a glimpse of what I am thinking and feeling on the particular day/topic I am writing on. I want these posts to be real and sometimes quite raw in emotion and opinion, and I believe this is something which can be lost in the editing process. There is such a thing, in my opinion, as too much editing, especially when it comes to an opinion piece. Through the editing process we can start to censor ourselves as we strive towards the point of polished perfection.

Now, some of you might think that there’s no excuse for poor grammar or silly typos in a published piece of writing, and yes, that might be true. However this is the choice I have made in order to keep these posts as real as possible. I do, of course, read through my posts before hitting the ‘publish’ button, but I do not overly-edit them and a simple read-through is not going to catch all of those nasty little typos.

This doesn’t mean that I don’t or won’t edit my manuscript or that I fear that editing it will diminish the realness of the characters I have created, definitely not. Writing blog posts and writing a novel are two completely different things. When blogging I am trying to capture the sometimes chaotic and confused reality of a writer, who still has a day job and supports a family. The feelings, actions, thoughts etc. are already there and I am trying to provide my audience with a snapshot of my reality. However, when writing a novel, the feelings, actions and thoughts do not preexist. I, as the writer, am creating these and through a careful editing process, the world of these characters is further enhanced not diminished.

So there you have it.

My aim is that my blog posts are real and raw, with the occasional (OK, sometimes more than occasional) typo and error, but this is my preference, rather than having a perfectly polished, but void of “realness” post.

My manuscripts, on the other hand, will be getting a completely different treatment though.

So write, read, edit, whatever, but do it your way.

Enjoy,

KK

 

 

© Katherine A. Kovács and The Writer Within, (2013-2017). 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.

 

Ghoulish Yet Graceful

Hello Lovelies,

I don’t know if I’m noticing it more since returning to Sydney or that Sydney has seen an increase in bat numbers, but there definitely seems to be a lot of bats around lately. They’re huge too! When I went to take the bins out the other night one was flying so low that I could feel the wind from its wings and the wing span was enormous!

I know the bat wasn’t trying to hurt me (I hope), but it scared the crap out of me! Besides the fact that they are creepy-looking, bats carry disease and are the things of horror movies. Not to mention that bat crap is like acid mixed with paint-thinners and tar and is an absolute bastard to wash off any surface, even if you catch it early before the sun bakes it!

On the other hand though, have you ever watched a bat in flight? When curled up, the black flying fox doesn’t look very big, but their beady little eyes are super creepy. When in flight though, the larger ones can have a wingspan of up to 1 metre. They glide through the air with ease and land in the trees, grabbing hold with their feet with extreme accuracy. There’s something almost graceful about them in flight, you become mesmerised by them and almost forget about the ghoulish nature of them as depicted in horror.

black-flying-fox-flickr-james-niland
Image from Flickr CC user James Niland

So it seems that there’s more than one side to a bat, there’s the creepy, ghoulish nature that we’ve been conditioned to believe in fiction and society (and the fact that they can carry disease, doesn’t help), but then there’s the other side, the graceful image of a bat in flight and the startling accuracy of their landings.

Now, I haven’t decided whether bats deserve their ghoulish reputation or not, however I think that every creature, human and animal, has many different sides. This needs to be the same with the characters we create, they need to have more than one side to them, they need to be multi-faceted, they need to be real.

To do this, we need to consider who they are with their loved ones and how they are different with others. We need to figure out what drives their actions, what image do they put forth in public and so on, we need to decipher the different masks they wear.

Make your characters real, make them be seen in a different light, show your audience each of their different sides and draw your audience into their world.

Enjoy,

KK

 

© Katherine A. Kovács and The Writer Within, (2013-2017). 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.

 

Is Love All We Need?

flickr ccwww.karlocamero.com.jpg
Image courtesy of Flickr CC http://www.karlocamero.com

“Above all things I believe in love. Love is like oxygen. Love is a many-splendored thing. Love lifts us up where we belong. All you need is love!”

-Christian (Ewan McGregor), Moulin Rouge

Hello Lovelies,

Some may say that love is all you need, with love anything is possible, that lover conquers all. I wonder though, is it true? Is love really all we need?

“A girl has got to eat… She’ll end up on the street.”

-Satine (Nicole Kidman), Moulin Rouge

Satine makes a very valid point. To survive in this world we need more than love, we need a home, food, clothing and everything else. However, if you love someone and they love you, whether it be a husband, wife, partner, parent, child… whatever… wouldn’t you make sure that they are cared for in every way possible, because that’s what you do for someone you love, isn’t it?

So back to my original question, is love all we need?

Love is a lot of things, it can be expressed in many different ways but can love in itself give us everything we need?

Let’s just take a moment to define what love is. Can you define love?

It’s not easy is it. To put feelings into words, to describe exactly what love is.

Even if it were, your definition would likely be different to others. From mother to child, from child to father, even from one wife to another their definition of love would not be exactly the same.

I think love is so difficult to define in words because love is better expressed through actions, rather than just words. Of course it is nice to hear the words, “I love you” but remember what they say?

Actions speak louder than words.

So, again back to the question at hand.

Is love all we need?

I’m going to say yes, because love is not in the words, it’s in the actions.

So, yes. Love IS all we need, because when you love someone you do everything in your power to give them all that they need.

Now get out there and SHOW those you love, exactly how much you love them.

Because in the end, Love is all you need.

 

Enjoy,

KK

 

© Katherine A. Kovács and The Writer Within, (2013-2017). 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.

What’s in a Name?

Hello Lovelies,

The good news this week is that I have still been working on József and Anna’s story in “An Anguished Heart”. I may not have actually added any words to the manuscript in the last week, but I have been busy researching, it’s not procrastination this time, I swear!

Sometimes when a new character comes up in the story and I don’t yet have a name for them, I refer to them as **(character description)** in the manuscript so when I go back through, it’s obvious that I need to place a name in there, for example ***(soldier name and rank)** is one that has popped up a couple of times. This is usually done when I’m on a roll and don’t want to stop writing to go search for appropriate names for the character.

This is fine when a character first appears or is just mentioned one or two times, however it does become a bit of a problem with recurring characters. Without a name, it becomes increasingly difficult to relate to that character, no matter how minor they might be, but naming a character is often harder than naming your own children!

This is where I am now, Anna’s lady’s maid has been present in quite a number of chapters now and will be there for quite a few more, yet I’m still referring to her as **(maid’s name)**. It was fine in the beginning when she was first mentioned, but now she is about to play a more prevalent role in moving the story along, therefore she most definitely needs a name.

Some might feel that the name doesn’t matter that much, as long as it fits with the story, I don’t feel the same way. When naming a character I need to feel a connection with the name, not only does it need to be fitting for the time period, culture etc. of the story, but I also need to feel that it is the right name for the character as in my mind I already know them. Ever met someone and think that their name doesn’t really suit them? I sometimes feel that about my own name but the thing is, our parents usually chose our names before we were born, before they really knew us. They chose something they liked, something they thought would suit the child they imagined. I already know my characters and that’s why it is often harder to name a character than it is to name your own child.

Even though I claim to ‘know’ my characters, their identity is not fully formed until I give them a name, so in taking that into consideration, I also need to consider where the character will go in the story, how they will develop. If they are an outwardly strong character or have an inner strength that they don’t even know they possess, their name too needs to reflect this. Of course the names are chosen based on my own perceptions of strength etc. but at the end of the day, I need to feel the name fits in order for the character to progress. Some of you might remember a previous manuscript I was working on (which will actually be a later book in the same series as ‘An Anguished Heart’), where the main characters were originally called Thomas and Maggie. I couldn’t really connect with the character of Maggie and I realised it was because her name wasn’t right, this is when Maggie became Rose.

“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet”

– ‘Juliet’ in Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”

Now I need a name, not just any name though. It has to be a traditional Austrian name in use in the late 1800s/early 1900s. Of course it must be a female name, but one that conveys youth and femininity but also a hidden strength. Not a name like Helga or Hilde, to me those names bring forth images of shield maidens, showing an outward strength not a deeply hidden one.

The right name is out there, but I haven’t found it yet and I can’t go on calling her **(maid’s name)**. For some reason, I have a feeling her name starts with ‘A’ or ‘E’, so I guess that will be my starting point.

Wish me luck!

-KK

 

© Katherine A. Kovács and The Writer Within, (2013-2017). 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.

 

And So It Returns…

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Image copyright Katherine A. Kovács, The Writer Within

Hello Lovelies,

I think it’s obvious to those of you who follow this blog, that since returning to Australia I’ve struggled to get into the right (or ‘write’) frame of mind to continue with József and Anna’s story in “An Anguished Heart”. First, there was the excuses. I had unpacking to do, the “real world” was getting in my way, I even found myself tidying the house rather than clicking to open the file on the computer.

The characters though, were constantly on my mind. I planned and I pondered the fate of my characters, I even went to The Rocks in Sydney to chase a little inspiration, but for some reason I couldn’t bring myself to actually sit down at the computer and type. I did other forms of writing in the meantime, this blog, some poetry even some short stories and children’s stories, but not one extra word was added to the word-count of “An Anguished Heart”.

I was lost and having trouble truly embracing the writer within. Perhaps I was a little scared. Perhaps it was that the last time I worked on József and Anna’s story, it was when I was in Budapest, away from the real world, away from the day-to-day constraints of reality. It was easier then, if I accidentally stayed up writing until 3 a.m, it wasn’t that big of a deal. I didn’t have to get up for work or to take children to school, I didn’t really have to do anything. In my mind I was stuck, I didn’t know how I would continue to work on my writing when I was worrying about staying up too late or making sure the kids lunches were ready for the next day. I just had to find a way to adapt and learn how to  balance writing with reality, I’d done it before we left for Budapest, I just had to figure out how to do it again.

And now… I think I’ve done it. I’ve broken the self-made barrier in my mind and I’ve made the first steps to embracing the writer within again. The last few days I’ve deleted around 3,000 words from my manuscript, it was crap, I revealed too much, too soon. I’ve  since replaced those 3,000 words though, plus more. I’ve researched, I’ve planned, I’ve taken notes and I’ve even figured out some later plot points and logistics of some of the upcoming events in the story. I’m problem solving the details.

I feel positive and energized, I’m telling myself, “That’s it, you can do this!” and I’m actually starting to believe it again.

Yes, it’s returned. The Writer Within is back! Now it’s time to embrace it!

Below is an excerpt of what I’ve been working on, it’s an excerpt where József is reflecting on Hungary’s involvement in the First World War. It is of course a first draft so it is extremely rough around the edges, but it’s been so long since I shared anything with you all.

So thanks for sticking around and as always…

Enjoy,

KK

 

It is not that the men in our family were cowards or disloyal to their country. However this war was not ours, it was a war forced upon the Hungarian people and by many other countries, as a result of the alliances formed over the years.

No, it was not a question of bravery of loyalty, but a question of right and wrong.

Was it right to go and fight a war that was not ours, not our country’s?

Was it right to take innocent lives for such a war?

 Was it right to risk losing our own lives in the process, leaving our wives as widows, our children without a father and our mothers without their sons?

No, I don’t believe it is.

(Excerpt from “An Anguished Heart”)

 

 

© Katherine A. Kovács and The Writer Within, (2013-2017). 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.

 

 

Meanwhile in Australia

Hello Lovelies,

While Hungary is struggling through record low temperatures and the river Danube is turning into slabs of ice, here is Sydney we have been sweltering through the last few days.

When I was in Budapest, I wanted nothing more than to experience a winter snowfall, I may have gotten my wish, but it was only a small amount of snow compared to the amount they have now and the amount they have every other winter I’m not int he country.

Budapest, I thought we had something special and then you betray me like this.

I have said before that if I had to choose between summer or winter, winter would always win hands-down. I know the winter that Hungary is experiencing at the moment is brutal compared to what I experienced when we were there a year ago, but I think I would still choose it over the “hottest January night on record”.

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This was at 6 pm yesterday. The temperature went up another degree after this photo was taken! By the way, before anyone complains about using my phone whilst driving, I wasn’t the one taking the photo.

All I can say, is thank goodness for air-conditioning! In Hungary air-conditioning is considered a luxury, but heating is essential. In most parts of Australia, it is the exact opposite.

I know these days people aren’t as “tough” as they used to be. Years ago people sweltered through the Australian summer. My parents didn’t get an air-con when I was a kid until I was almost seven in the early 90s and people survive without it now too. I’m sure people have come up with plenty of creative ways to stay cool in the heat of summer throughout the times and it got me thinking of what it would have been like for my characters József and Anna, leaving the climate of Budapest behind, with its chilly winters and mild summers and arriving in the sweltering summer heat of Australia.

What would they have done to cope with the heat? Desk fans were in existence during this time period, but it wouldn’t be something they would be able to buy or have access to immediately upon their arrival.

Having grown up in Australia, I found the summer weather in Budapest to be quite mild, especially when comparing it to the Australian summers I am accustomed to. Their definition of a heatwave is very different to our own. In Budapest you won’t end up with third-degree burns from crossing the road on a summer’s day in bare feet.

For people coming from Budapest to Australia though, I would imagine they would find the heat even more unbearable than we do. Without modern conveniences though, how would they even cope? How about when you’re expected to wear a corset, bodice, full skirt and stockings? Or trousers and a shirt? Would you cope? I know I sure as heck wouldn’t.

These are some of the themes I’ll be exploring int he next couple of weeks, with the current heatwave for comparison.

So, what are some of the creative ways you’ve stayed cool during a heatwave? Let me know in the comments or on Facebook or Twitter.

Stay cool (in temperature)

Enjoy,

KK

 

© Katherine A. Kovács and The Writer Within, (2013-2017). 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 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.