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.

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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.

 

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Sunrise, Sunset

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Image courtesy of Flickr CC user Matthias Bachmann

 

Hello Lovelies,

There’s two reasons for the title of this week’s post, one is discussing the meaning of the song of the same title from, “Fiddler on the Roof” and the other is discussing the quite literal meaning of the two words.

I’ll start with the reflection. This past week I’ve been working at my day job quite a bit and I have returned to a school I haven’t been at for quite some time. As a result, I’ve come across quite a number of students, that I taught in the past, and their parents. This particular group of students I taught in years two and four but I knew many of them since they were in kindergarten. Now they are practically adults at the age of sixteen and are in year ten!

In the song “Sunrise, Sunset”, the two main characters are singing about how grown up their children have become and wondering when on earth that happened. With my daughter turning nine last month and now coming across students I met more than ten years ago who are now practically adults, it is definitely reminding me that I too, have gotten older and wrinklier (and fatter!)

I’m not the young twenty-something I once was. Sometimes I think back and long for those days again, less stress, less worries, but less everything I suppose. Then I look back and think that at the time, I wasn’t as stress and worry-free as I should have been. My worries back then were nothing compared to the worries I have now, but at the time, they seemed enormous, so I guess my ability to cope has increased.

Also, back then I didn’t have my children and no matter how much they frustrate and annoy me at times, I couldn’t imagine life without them. I also wasn’t writing back then, I was a lost girl looking for my path and every day I am thankful to have found it.

Now moving on to the more literal meaning of the words in today’s title. Which do you prefer, sunrise or sunset?

I am definitely a sunset person.

There’s a few reasons I say this without hesitation. Firstly, I’ve said before that I am a night person and definitely not a morning person. Even those students I just spoke of before who are now sixteen year-olds, knew back when they were in year four, to only talk to me when necessary when they first came into class. My husband and I are both not morning people and we can get up in the morning and drive him half an hour to work without saying a word until he’s getting out the car. Nothing frustrates me more in the morning, than a disgustingly happy morning person who’s all smiles and cheery voice. Unfortunately my dad is one of those, fortunately though, I don’t live at home anymore!

Another reason I am a sunset person is this: no matter how crappy of a day I’ve had, the setting sun reminds me that it’s over and the calmness of the night will return. Then we have time to re-energize and gather ourselves to be ready to face another day, whatever it might bring… not before 9 a.m. though, preferably.

Sunrise brings daylight, and in the daylight there’s no escape from reality. Personally, I think reality is overrated and revel in the opportunity to escape whenever I can. Sunset brings the promise of night, when you can take a step back from the real world, even for just a while.

Sunset also means it’s nearly bedtime for my three kids and even though I just said that I couldn’t imagine life without them, sometimes we all just need a bit of quiet time or even simply the chance to use the bathroom without being interrupted!

So,

  1. I’m getting older and so is everyone else around me.                                                               And;
  2. I’m definitely a sunset person, sunset brings the promise of night, the end to what might have been a crappy day, with a hint of mystery and escapism.  Then, of course, the chance to get a little reading and writing done!

 

Bring on the night!

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?

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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.

 

 

 

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.