Feed the Birds

St_Pauls_Cathedral_in_1896
Source https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:St_Pauls_Cathedral_in_1896.JPG

Hello Lovelies,

Words are powerful.

Whether they be spoken, written or expressed in song, words evoke a range of emotions.

Happiness, sadness, anger, frustration, excitement, wanderlust, calmness, a sense of peace or even agitation and restlessness.

So many emotions, with just a few words.

But they need to be the right words, in order to evoke the desired emotion.

Words can call forth memories, reminding us of better times, or perhaps of sadness.

Yet the power of words is sometimes lost.

Lost in translation perhaps or beyond the understanding of the audience.

You see, in order for the words to be powerful enough to evoke the range of emotions, they first must be understood. If the words are too complex for the reader (or listener) then the power of them is lost. If the words are not in the language of the reader, then again, their power is lost.

Music however, is different. Music is a language all of its own, instinctively understood by all, no matter their age or language(s) spoken.

The notes, the key, the instruments used and so on, are the words, understood by those who can hear it.

Even the very young can understand and interpret the language of music. Some are more fluent in this language than others, for some this language comes naturally, for others it is something that is developed over time.

Even an infant can interpret and respond to the language of music, through the expression of emotion.

Don’t believe me?

Take this for example….

My youngest, who is now four, has always been particularly fluent in the language of music. Even as an infant baby he would cry when certain songs were played and express happiness or content when others were played. He would sob (not scream and cry, but sob) uncontrollably if someone was to sing to him “rock-a-bye baby”. He was the one-year old who would be listening to a Disney CD and would also sit sobbing quietly, tears streaking down his cheeks when the song “Baby mine” from Dumbo would play. As he got older he became more able to express the feelings evoked through music by saying Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” made him sad, but also like he wanted to cuddle and sleep.

Have you ever heard a piece of music that evoked such strong emotions that you just couldn’t handle it? A piece that hit you “right in the feels?”

For my youngest and I, that song is “Feed the Birds” from Mary Poppins.

There’s something about that song, it’s a combination of the music and the words, combined with the imagery of the old bird woman that gets me every time, no matter how many times I hear it. I can’t even sing along without getting choked up, which can be a little annoying when it is one of my favourite songs.

The beauty, the pain.

“Though her words are simple and few,

listen, listen, she’s calling to you”

“This song makes me cry,” he said from the backseat as we listened to the soundtrack in the car. All I could do was nod in agreement, because for some reason, it has the exact same effect on me., no matter how many times I hear it.

I’m also that person who chokes back tears during musicals, especially at the theatre. Sometimes they’re happy tears, sometimes not, but always they are an expression of thanks. Thanks that I can experience and interpret the language of music and words.

Words are powerful tools for evoking emotions.

Music with the notes, key and instruments are just as powerful, perhaps even more so, as they can be understood by many.

So when music and words are combined, either for an audience or perhaps to bring out the emotion in the words as you write, music is a great and powerful tool.

Feed the birds.

Feed your creativity.

Use music to find the right words.

Because music and the right words have a power that we can’t always explain.

Enjoy,

KK

© Katherine A. Kovàcs 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. Kovàcs and The Writer Within with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Quoted lyrics © Songwriters: Richard M. Sherman / Robert B. Sherman

Feed the Birds lyrics © Walt Disney Music Company
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The Masks We Wear

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Photo from Flickr Creative Commons Copyright © Photomiqs – Anders Eriksson

Hello Lovelies,

The past week I’ve been working on two different pieces of writing, but as I explore the characters further, I am beginning to discover that there are some similarities between them. In the novel I am working on, Thomas presents himself as a confident, masculine and strong person who knows and gets exactly what he wants and cares little for the feelings of the women he used and left behind. Yet, on the inside he is just a lonely and scared little boy who craves affection, comfort and most of all he wants someone to love and love him in return -unconditionally. This is similar to the female lead in the (not so) short story I’m working on, “she” hides her feelings from everyone around her as she is afraid of being hurt. Both of these characters wear a metaphorical mask, hiding their true self from the world and even hiding from those closest to them, for fear of being hurt, embarrassed or even as a way of feeling confident.

These are not just fictional character traits though. All of us at some point in our lives, in one situation or another, have worn a mask, hiding our true self from the world. Think about the time when you smiled politely and nodded in agreement with someone, when really on the inside you were thinking that they were a complete and utter moron and you really wanted to tell them what you truly thought. Or perhaps, it was a friend you had feelings for, but you never did anything about it, for fear of rejection. Instead you wore the mask of ‘best friend’ and even listened to them talk about someone they were smitten by, telling them how ‘awesome’ the person sounded and that they should ‘go for it’, while on the inside you are screaming at them, “what about me? Aren’t I good enough for you?” Perhaps it was a work function or event you were practically forced into attending. You smile, mingle and make polite conversation but on the inside you are thinking that your ideal Friday night is curled up on the lounge with a good book not spending time with John* from accounts who is a complete and utter tool and needs a good whack across the face and Jenny* from the front desk who really should have dressed a little more modestly for a work function unless her aim is to sleep her way to the top. The point is, we all wear masks and often we posses the ability to wear many different masks. Sometimes our masks are to meet societal expectations, other times they are for self-preservation, but at some point we’ve all worn a mask. The question is though, do we constantly wear some type of mask and do we ever, really, let our true self shine through? Is there that one person who is “The One” who knows every emotion, thought, desire and physicality of our being? Or do we present different facets of our true self to a few select people who are closest to us?

After providing some food for though, I have two small excerpts to share with you today. The first is an excerpt from the (not so) short story, where the male character is talking about “her” and the mask that she wears. The second is an excerpt from my novel I’m working on, where Thomas is discussing one of the many masks that he wears.

Feel free to post any comments and thoughts about today’s post.

Enjoy,

KK

I know her well enough to know that the way she is behaving is a coping mechanism and the mask she wears is to shut everyone out, even those she cares for. As those who we care for the most, are the ones who can also hurt us the most, but I would never hurt her in any way.  -“Him”

By nothing short of a miracle, I managed to make it through dinner without telling my grandmother exactly what I thought of her and the way she was treating Rosie. Thankfully I was able to make polite conversation with the other people dining with us and I maintained my mask for society, you know the one with the polite smile and the perfectly timed compliments? Rosie is worried though, not because of the way my grandmother is treating her or worried that she might not fit in, but worried because she can see the fine lines that are becoming cracks in my mask. She is the only one who would see these cracks forming, the only person who knows the real me. –“Thomas”

*”John” and “Jenny” are not based on real people

© Katherine A. Kovacs and The Writer Within, (2013-2015). 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. Kovacs and The Writer Within with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Creating a Connection

Hello Lovelies,

Over the past week I have taken a step back from my novel and have been working on the short story that I mentioned in last week’s post. Well, I thought it was a short story, but now it seems it is only the beginning of something much, much bigger. This current piece of writing came a time when I was in a ‘questioning’ type of mood. I began asking; who am I? Am I doing what I should be doing? I also began to wonder, if I hadn’t made the conscious decision to start writing finally, would my stories and words find another way to manifest themselves? This is when ‘she’ came to life. the woman who stared at the stranger in the mirror, my newest character. At this point in the writing process this character does not have a name and honestly, I’m not sure if she will ever have one. While this woman is not a representation of myself, she is not even an alter-ego, I do feel that she represents all those who are not following their dreams and those who are not true to their nature. I believe that if we do not consciously choose to embrace our true nature, then the world has a way of pushing us in the other direction. I’m not saying we all have a predetermined destiny that cannot be changed, I am simply saying if we do not remain true to ourselves, then we will never be truly happy with our lives, even when we think we have everything we need and want in life.

While writing ‘her’ story, I developed an incredible connection with this character. I’m feel as though she is telling me her story and I am watching it unfold before me. I do not know exactly where her story is heading, in fact I didn’t even know where it was heading as I was writing it. ‘She’ is the one telling the story, I am merely the one following, putting her words into writing. People who do not write, may not understand the emotional connection that writers develop with their characters, that’s why it is crucial for writers to find the right words to convey these emotions to the reader. As said by Robert Frost, “No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader”. As ‘she’ told me her story and I wrote down the words, I unashamedly admit, at times I was close to tears, I felt her pain, her heartache, her loneliness, confusion and frustration. I was shocked when I learned of the true nature of her ‘accident’ and the events that lead up to it (something I feel needs to be explored further), I just hope that I have found the right words to convey these emotions to the reader.

You see, a writer naturally forms a connection with their characters, it is a bond that forms on its own, it is not created. However, it is the writer’s job to help create that same connection for the reader, through the use of words, if they are going to truly appreciate and understand the story written.

Today I have a brief excerpt from my (not so) short story, showcasing the rainbow of emotions experienced by the lead character. Again, remember this is unedited work.

Enjoy,

KK

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Image copyright Katherine A. Kovacs/The Writer Within

The endless frustration of having no recollection of her life before the accident was so physically and emotionally exhausting that sometimes she simply wanted to lash out. 

Within the last few days she had pretended the loss of her memory did not bother her, she had screamed and yelled like a crazy person, told the doctors that she would give them anything if they could just give her back her life as it was before the accident and she had sobbed like a heartbroken teenager for hours on end. She moved back and forth through the stages of grief, but at this point she had not experienced the final stage of acceptance. She could not accept that the person in the mirror was a stranger, she could not accept that it had been three months since she was found and a week since she regained consciousness and in that time, not one person came looking for her, no one had reported her missing, not a single person had questioned her whereabouts. What had she done in her life before that would cause her to be utterly alone in the world? 

She glanced across to where she had hurled the pen just moments before, she stepped towards it and bent down to pick it up. As the twirled the pen between her fingers, her anger began to subside. Again, she sat down on the edge of the bed and picked up the notebook she had thrown in her moment of frustration. As she moved the tip of the pen across the page she wrote four simple words, “live, love, laugh, write.” 

© Katherine A. Kovacs and The Writer Within, (2013-2015). 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. Kovacs and The Writer Within with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.