The Land Down Under

Hello Lovelies,

Sorry I’ve been completely MIA the last couple of weeks, but things have been absolutely hectic with packing, travelling back to the other side of the world and then unpacking and everything else. I’m back online now though and hopefully will be getting things back on track again with writing.

Our overseas adventure has well and truly come to an end and what an amazing adventure it was! Our family was able to experience life in another country, to explore, to live and enjoy all four seasons! This Australian’s favourite season was of course winter and the magical beauty of a snow-covered landscape.

I could have stayed for longer, but it was time for us to say farewell to beautiful Budapest and make the long trek back to Australia. And what a long trek it was! The children were sick on the flight between London and Dubai and I’d like to make a special mention to the Qantas crew for not even batting an eyelid as I profusely apologised for the mess my daughter made, even though I was secretly happy that I didn’t have to clean it up for once. The happiness about that didn’t last though as Sydney welcomed us back in style.Before we had even really begun to unpack the kids then were sick again with a tummy bug. Hauling in the washer and dryer from the garage in the middle of the night to wash all the spew covered items was definitely a  lot of fun as well as accidentally kneeling in your kids spew as you’re trying to clean the floor. I’ve never been more thankful to have floorboards in the house.

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Not sure where this pic originated, but it’s a pretty good depiction of how I was feeling.

Then after two days everything seemed to be going back to normal, we were able to unpack a lot of our things and began to officially move ourselves back into our house, now I see how naive we were thinking it would be smooth sailing from then on. Last Monday though was just the calm before the storm, because on Tuesday it was the adults turn to be sick. You know there’s nothing like some poos and spews to kick start your weight loss, I’m being vulgar, I know, but it’s the truth.

Thankfully our sickness was relatively short-lived and we were eventually able to move all the furniture back into the house. Now though comes the task of unpacking everything else and putting in away! Now that is a task and a half, especially when we are well and truly back in the real world now with two out of three kids now at school this week and back to work for the grown-ups! (*sad face*)

Now, Land Down Under, what do you have in store for us next? Hopefully not too much of the sun burnt country stuff. I’m more of a winter girl, as you know and this year I am getting two summers, so try not to scorch me too much (I don’t like my chances though).

Over the past week or so, sometimes I wake up and wonder if it was all a dream. Did I really travel with three kids to the other side of the world and back again? Did we really spend the days exploring and reveling in the beautiful sites and rich history  and traditions of the gorgeous city that is Budapest?

Yes, we did and I’d do it again in a heartbeat. I would maybe do things a little differently if we were to do it all again, but I’d definitely go on that amazing adventure and more.

Now though, it’s time to get my writing back on track. Sydney, Australia, the Land Down Under, it’s now your turn to inspire my writing as the city of Budapest did. Let me see your beauty and explore the unknown as if I were my characters, newly arrived in a country completely unlike anything they’ve known.

I’m not going to just sit around and wait for the inspiration to find me though. I’m going to chase it down and capture it. Then keep it prisoner in one of my many notebooks and force it into submission.

Q-station Manly

Susannah Place Museum

Holsworthy Barracks

I’m coming for you!

Inspire me Land Down Under!

Enjoy,

KK

© Katherine A. Kovács and The Writer Within, (2013-2016). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Katherine A. Kovács and The Writer Within with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

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So Long, Farewell

Hello Lovelies,

Sadly the time to say goodbye to the beautiful city of Budapest is drawing near. After almost twelve months, the time has come for us to pack our suitcases and complete the long haul journey back to Sydney.

It seems like only yesterday that my husband and I were packing up our house and travelling with our three young children to the other side of the world. It was a rather daunting and somewhat scary thing to do, but it was something we needed to do.

There are many things I am going to miss in and about this city, but there are many things I definitely won’t miss, like living in a 2 bedroom apartment with a family of five and constantly telling the kids not to run or stomp for fear of pi$$ing off the neighbours below us.

I also will not miss having to travel on public transport with three children. Despite the fact that the public transport in the city is very reliable and reasonably priced and the fact that there is no way I would ever want to drive in the city of Budapest, I do miss being able to jump in my car and pop to the grocery store without worrying how I was going to get all of the groceries home.

I’m also not going to miss the dog sh!t. I mean it’s not like the city is covered in canine fecal matter, but you definitely have to watch out, especially when you don’t have a car and walk a lot of places. A lot of people live in apartments in the city, so of course when their dogs needs to… you know… they have to take it for a walk, but if you choose to have a dog and live in an apartment then for goodness sake, pick up your dog’s crap!

I’m not going to miss the smell that almost every city has, I’m not going to miss the loud rumbling noise of the tram going past and I’m definitely not going to miss the dirt and dust that seems to permeate absolutely everything in the old building!

Yet, there many things I am going to miss from this city like the gorgeous view of the Danube River, Parliament and the Chain Bridge I have right outside the window! I’m going to miss the amazing food (but my pants will be thankful) and I’m going to miss the history. Australia is such a young country when compared to Europe and I revel in the rich and long history of this country. Each building, each street, even the trees tell a story, a piece of history to be marveled at and admired.

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I’m going to miss the castles, the manor houses and all the amazing architecture. I’m going to miss having front row seats for any fireworks or special events on the river Danube.

I’m going to  miss the way the lights of the Parliament shine on the feathers of the birds flying above at night, making them look magical like the glowing wings of fairies.

I am looking forward to seeing everyone at home again and sleeping on a mattress that is actually on a bed instead of on the floor (I’m hoping my back will thank me for that one). I’m not looking forward to returning to the “real world” though and having to hold down a day job and do school drop-off and everything else!  I’m going to miss being able to stay up until some ridiculous hour of the morning writing, without having to worry about having to get up and work or get children ready for school the next day.

It’s time to start a new adventure, please be kind to me, world.

Budapest, you gorgeous city, I am going to miss you dearly. I will miss your beauty, your history, your inspiration.

I give thanks to the city of Budapest, for inspiring me to keep writing and to start József’s story. Being surrounding by the world of my characters has truly been an amazing experience, allowing me to immerse myself in their history and time and inspiring  my writing. My goal was to write a draft of József’s story in the form of a novel of 80,000 words. I am almost at the 80,000 word mark and their story is far from over, but I have finished the part of the story that is set in this beautiful city, now it’s time to explore the next setting of Sydney, luckily that’s where I’m heading.

And so now I say so long, farewell beautiful Budapest, I hope to experience your beauty again some day.

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 Reason to Celebrate

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Image copyright Katherine A. Kovács, The Writer Within 2016

 

Hello Lovelies,

Just over a week ago, Hungary celebrated St Stephen’s Day, one of the biggest celebrations in Hungary. To put it into perspective, think of New Years Eve combined with Australia Day and you’re getting closer to the scale of celebration that this day is in Hungary.

St Stephen was the first king of Hungary, the man responsible for uniting the seven Magyar tribes and bringing Christianity to the newly formed Kingdom of Hungary. I’m sure it wasn’t all smooth sailing in forging a kingdom and a new religion for a previously pagan population, but still a reason to celebrate.

Something that I have discovered while living in Hungary, is that most Hungarians are enthusiastically patriotic, especially when it comes to cheering on their fellow Hungarians in sports, and they also love a good celebration, whatever the reason might be -Hungarians love a reason to celebrate.

St Stephen’s Day was celebrated with a four day festival with many concerts, plenty of street food (of course), markets, a procession of St Stephen’s Holy right hand (his mummified hand is kept in St Stephens’ Basilica) and one of the biggest fireworks shows I’ve ever seen in person.

Yes Hungarians love a reason to celebrate and celebrate they do. This has reminded me that we should always find a reason to celebrate, no matter how small that reason may be.

In my latest WIP,, my characters go through some very difficult times. This makes them aware and appreciate the better days, finding even the smallest sources of happiness as a reason to celebrate.

Now I’m not sayin that we all need to go through hell in order to appreciate the good times. Sometimes this happens and it opens our eyes, but sometimes all we need is to be reminded that life itself should be a celebration. The gift of another day, the happiness and pride that fills you when you hear your child read their younger siblings a bedtime story or even when your three children are playing together WITHOUT ARGUING!

Yes, all these things and more are a reason to celebrate. So I encourage you all to find a reason to celebrate each day. I’m not saying your celebrating should always involve alcohol, because you might regret the expense and the constant hangover, but be happy and spend time with those you love and find your reason to celebrate.

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

 

Heat Wave

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Image courtesy of Flickr CC user Micolo J

Hello Lovelies,

As I sit here melting in what is considered a “heat wave” in Europe (temperatures of over 30 degrees Celsius since Wednesday), I begin to think about how weather and weather conditions influence the setting of a scene.

Of course compared to an Australian summer, this summer “heat wave” is actually like a cool spring day, but with no air-conditioning I’m sitting in a puddle of my own sweat which actually does nothing to cool me down. Perhaps I’ve been spoiled in my life, having had air-conditioning in the house since I was seven years old. However when much of the Australian summer consists of days over 40 degrees Celsius, I see air-conditioning as pretty much a necessity rather than the luxury it seems to be here. I guess heating is a necessity in Hungary, to survive the winter but in much of Australia it is the opposite.

I know I shouldn’t complain, it could be worse, but there’s nothing like melting in a pool of your own sweat to put you in a cranky mood. I have found a positive though, I have experienced the “wrath” of summer as my characters would have experienced it in the 1910s.

Small fans were in use during this time for residential purposes, often used in bedrooms, but that was all they had – and all I have at the moment.

I decided to write József’s story, or at least start it, while in Hungary, surrounded by the same (or similar) environment he would have been. Little did I realise just how closely surrounded I would be, despite being decades apart. Yes the world is very different now, I sit her surrounded by technology that never existed during József and Anna’s time, however many things remain the same. The apartment building is from their time, the furniture probably is too and whilst I’m sure the building would have looked quite different all those years ago, I can still sense the spirit of days long gone and catch a glimpse into the way things were.

The external world influences our writing, whether we want it to or not, this is something that cannot be avoided. We can though attempt to ensure that the influence is a positive one by surrounded ourselves with their story and seeking the write inspiration and influence, like myself writing this story in Hungary. Not everyone can go to the actual location and I consider myself to be extremely fortunate on this account, despite the fact that I’m soggy and cranky in this heat.

So now I head off to write about a fellow with a sever hangover and a nauseated pregnant woman on a sweltering summer’s day (both are characters, not myself, I assure you!) and encourage you to immerse yourself in the story, experience it as much as you can and describe it in detail.

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.

Disappearing Act

Hello Lovelies,

Just letting you all know that I’ll be pretty much MIA over the next few weeks as things are crazy busy around here trying to pack and get organised for our Hungarian adventure!

I’ll try and post a few things either on here or on fb or twitter if I get a chance, but posts will be pretty scarce until we are settled in Budapest.

I promise I’ll make it up to you all with some awesome posts and sneak peeks once we are settled.

Enjoy,
KK

 

© 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

Sidetracked

Hello Lovelies,

Well this week has been another whirlwind type of week, with so many things to organise before we set of on our adventure. So unfortunately it’s been another no writing week for me. Even though I am not really having time for writing at the moment (except for my weekly blog posts), thoughts and ideas to do with writing are constantly popping up in my thoughts, especially when I least expect it. In fact, I’ve gotten rather sidetracked and I am finding that my thoughts to do with writing and the characters I’ve been creating are actually becoming more to do with one of the secondary characters in Lonely Hearts, so much so that I’m now thinking that this particular character also has a story to tell in the form of a novel or at least a novella.

Image courtesy of Flickr CC user- photolibrarian
Image courtesy of Flickr CC user- photolibrarian

The character that is occupying my thoughts lately is Rose’s adoptive father, József SzabóI am quite sure that the reason this character keeps making his way into my thoughts is due to the fact that quite soon I will be exploring his country of origin. The more I think about it, the more I;m considering the possibility that perhaps I am supposed to become sidetracked from completing Lonely Hearts and that perhaps now is not the time to finish Thomas and Rose’s story. Maybe I’m not ready to finish Thomas and Rose’s story just yet. Perhaps I cannot do their story justice if I were to finish now. I’m actually coming to realise this as I type (so I apologise in advance for my incoherent ramblings).

You see, when Thomas and Rose’s story begins, József is the adoptive father of Rose, but he is more than that. He is an Hungarian Jew, who left his country of birth during World War I in hope of finding a better life for himself along with his young wife and unborn child. József has been through love, loss and complete and utter devastation and comes out the other side to find some sort of happiness again. Perhaps I need to experience József’s story, before I can do justice to Thomas and Rose’s story. Perhaps things really do happen for a reason. If I am going to focus on writing József’s story, what better place to write about an Hungarian Jew than in Hungary itself! Maybe everything that has happened this year is the universe’s way of telling me to get a little sidetracked and to focus my attention on telling the story of József Szabó and how he came to a tailor in The Rocks, Sydney in the 1930s with an adopted fair-haired daughter and an investment interest of the one and only Thomas Heath.

Unfortunately, with my moment of realisation, I think I’ve just set myself up for a tonne of research. Whilst I’ve started to become fairly familiar with Sydney in the 1930s, now I need to start looking at Hungary during the outbreak of World War I and the treatment of the Jewish people during this time. Whilst I have researched this a little, in order to get a bit of a backstory for József, there’s a huge difference between researching a backstory and writing the actual story of such a character.

So it seems I am now purposefully becoming sidetracked from my original goal and am now going to focus on getting everything organised for our family adventure in Hungary and the start of a new WIP, the story of József Szabó, humble Jewish tailor living in Hungary during the outbreak of WWI.

Wow, exciting (and scary!) times are ahead!

Enjoy,

KK

© 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.

Other Side of the Road

Hello Lovelies,

This week has been a week full of reflection, revelations and tough decisions. There’s going to be some big and exciting changes coming  up soon for my little family and even though it’s going to be an awesome adventure, I’ll admit that I’m also a bit scared of what lies ahead.

At the beginning of the year, I think it was, I wrote “The Plan”. Well it seems life’s unexpected twists and turns have gotten in the way and not much is going according to this plan. All of the things that have happened this years have prompted a lot of reflection and caused me to re-evaluate what is important.

So the title of today’s post is to capture the nature of my thoughts at this point. When I chose the title “Other Side of the Road” I meant this not only as a metaphor but also literally and I am not one of those people who misuse the word “literally” (who know the people I’m talking about, the ones who are literally dying from laughter). You see, one of the decisions we’ve made is to take our family on an a rather extended holiday to beautiful Hungary, my husband’s home country and the origin of one of my characters from Lonely Hearts, József Szabó.

Image courtesy of Flickr CC user Moyan Brenn
Parliament House, Budapest Hungary     Image courtesy of Flickr CC user Moyan Brenn

Whilst I have been to Hungary before, it was in a time BC (Before Children) and only for weeks not months. This time requires a lot of planning with only weeks to get it all done. So one reason for the title of today’s post is a literal one, we are literally going to the other side of the road. Ok, I know Hungary is a bit further that simply the other side of the road, but it is the other side of the world and they drive on the opposite side of the road than I do, so that’s how I am justifying the use of literally.

This decision also had me thinking about my characters and the decisions they had to make in the past (and the ones they will make in the future), that will take them to the “other side of the road”, emotionally and also physically, leaving behind the world they know, away from the familiar and into the unknown. Whilst we won’t be travelling for months by ship like my characters, it doesn’t make the impending journey or the decision any easier, I imagine.

In some ways I feel like Claire Fraser in the Outlander series (****spoiler alert****) as she discovers in the 1960s that her beloved Jamie didn’t in fact die at Culloden and she prepares to travel through the stones once again to 18th century Scotland. As she decides what to take with her from her life in the 1960s to the completely different world of 18th century Scotland. I know I’m being a little dramatic, after all I am making this trip with my family and not alone, on a plane and not through the circle of standing stones and certainly not to 18th century Scotland. Yet in a way, Hungary is like a completely different world and whilst they of course enjoy every piece of modern technology and comfort we have grown accustomed to, it doesn’t remove the feeling of walking into a completely different world. If you ignore the modern technology and modern convenience and so on, walking around does sometimes feel like you have stepped into a completely different time. Hungary is an ancient country full of history, culture and traditions, from the stories of the nomadic Huns that settled on the banks of the Duna (Danube in English) to the brave Kings of Hungary that fought off invasion and to the modern show of bravery of those who rose up against Communist rule and freed Hungary from the grasp of the Soviet Union.

Just so you know, I haven’t abandoned “The Plan”, not at all, I still intend to achieve every aspect I set out to achieve, however the time frame might have to be slightly adjusted. I am never going to give up writing Thomas and Rose’s story, in fact Thomas and Rose’s world has also given way to several other ideas, looking at the stories of some of the secondary characters as well. So whilst I know this will be years in the making, I am not giving up on writing, even if I wanted to, I don’t think my characters would leave me alone until I finished telling their stories! Who knows, maybe this extended holiday will allow for some valuable writing time (I hope).

The journey we have decided to take is also much more than a physical one, it is also an emotional one. Through the difficulties we have faced this year, I kept wondering what was waiting for us on the other side. It seemed to just be one blow after the other, but no matter what life threw our way we somehow managed to survive somehow and come out the other side perhaps little bit stronger and even a little wiser. So now I look forward, a little scared but mostly excited to see what is waiting for us on the other side of the road (or world!)

On another note, I went to the grocery store last night to get a few things with two (of my three) children tagging along hoping to score some kind of special treat they could sneak into the trolley. On my way out, I noticed an older man with a beard holding at least a dozen bunches of flowers in his arms. As I walked past, to my surprise he asked me what colour flowers I would like, I tried to politely decline feeling like I was taking something undeserved, but upon his insistence I accepted a bunch of red carnations. Later I found out this man’s story; his mother had passed away several years before and each year on her birthday he goes and buys as many bunches of flowers as he can afford, handing them out to all the mothers that he sees as a way of honouring his own mother’s memory and also to remind everyone how awesome mother’s are. This small act of kindness reminded me once again that no matter how bad things seem at the time, we need to look for the positives, the sunshine on a cloudy day.

So my lovelies, no matter what is happening or what waits for us on the other side of the road, whether good or bad, let us always look for the sunshine, not matter how cloudy it is or whatever (sh*t)storm might be brewing, search for the sunshine and don’t rest until you find it!

Enjoy,

KK

© 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.