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.

 

 

 

Always Greener?

Hello Lovelies,

Lately I’ve been re-watching the Australia TV series, “Always Greener”. It was made in the early 2000s, if I remember correctly and was sadly cancelled after only two seasons. I know what you’re thinking, I should be doing some substantial writing instead of binge-watching TV series on Telstra TV, but well…. I have no excuse really, but I will do some substantial writing soon, the self-guilt is getting to be too much. Anyway, I loved watching “Always Greener” during its original run and watching it again now is bringing back so many memories of my teenage years. In particular this one,

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This particular scene is where fourteen year old Kim is venting her frustration at her parents who, “just don’t understand”, whilst that is totally relatable for my teenage self, that’s not the reason I took a photo of my TV in excitement. I took this picture for a much more important reason… I totally had the same poster of David Boreanaz on my wall as a teen! This was before “Bones” when teenage girls lusted after David Boreanaz because he played the brooding, swoon-worthy, vampire with a soul, Angel (or Angelus, as any true fan knew that was his real name)…*sigh*

Now, besides lusting after my teenage crushes (for the record, David Boreanaz is still totally hot in my honest opinion), watching “Always Greener” also got me thinking.

I know, everything gets me thinking, welcome to my brain!

The phrase, “always greener” comes from the saying, “The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence”. This saying highlights our human tendency to never be satisfied with our current situation and that others seem to have it better. Hence the idiom of coveting the grass on the other side of the fence as being greener than your own. Often, when we finally have the “greener grass” we coveted, we realise that we actually had it good in the first place and what we’ve left behind is what we really wanted.

Now I’d like to take a different perspective, what if the “greener grass” was the things we worked towards, the things in life we wanted and not because we wanted what everyone else had and we didn’t, but because it was what we wanted in life for ourselves.

Am I even making sense? I’m not sure anymore, but stay with me.

Each of us needs to find our “always greener” something to strive for to better ourselves, better our lives etc. Not something to strive for because someone else has it, but to strive for it because it’s what we want, because it’s our dream.

My aim this year is to figure out exactly what my “greener” is and to work towards it.

It is human nature to long for greener pastures, but it should be because it is for us, our family, because it is what we truly want and need, not because we want what someone else has, that’s when it backfires and we realise what we left behind was what we really wanted. That was a long sentence, but hopefully you get my point.

Look inside yourself to  find your “greener”, not over the fence. Then work towards it with everything you have.

Let’s make 2017 the year for each of us finding our “always greener”, perhaps “The Year of Chasing Dreams”.

 

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.

 

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.

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.

 

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.

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.

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!

 

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.