Walking Together

footprints Flickr CC user khdc
Image courtesy of Flickr CC user khdc

Hello Lovelies,

As we near the end of 2018 and prepare to welcome a new year, let’s take a moment to reflect on the year that was and look at what lies ahead for us in 2019.

As some of you may have guessed from my previous and rather sporadic posts throughout the year, 2018 brought a “tree change” for myself and my family. In many ways we are still settling into our new town and new lifestyle. However in other ways, it was like coming back to a home you never even knew you had.

“Home is not a building,

No matter how big or small.

Home is where you’re welcomed and loved,

As soon as you walk in the door”

-Katherine A. Kovács

2018 has been a year of tremendous change, but the change has been good. As I woke this morning to the sound of the kookaburra’s laugh, I was reminded of just how lucky we are. Waking to the sounds of birds and the wind rushing through the trees, brings forth fond memories of my childhood. Memories of holidays down the South Coast, the hustle and bustle of “city life” left behind for that time being. Now I get to wake up to this each and every day, the pressure, the noise and the traffic of suburban Sydney a distant memory.

Unfortunately, it can’t all be relaxation, reading and writing every day, I need to earn a living too (the pesky technicalities of being an adult!) Fortunately for me though, I believe I have found a place where I belong, a place where even though the work is challenging at times, it is also rewarding and even allows for me to explore my own creativity. The school, the staff and the students have reminded me why I wanted to become a teacher all those years ago, the reasons why I chose to become an educator and why I actually do love teaching.

2019 will bring with it new challenges and a new role in my teaching career. It is a direction that I had never before considered, but am now very much looking forward to. Each year, a theme is decided upon, that will shape and guide the staff and students and be interwoven into all aspects of the school. In 2018 this theme was “A Just Future for All”, in 2019 our theme will be “Walking Together”.

As part of my new role, I need to discover exactly what this theme means and, together with the staff and students, further explore this theme and how it will impact on our teaching, learning and faith formation in 2019.

Walking Together – quite a few images spring to mind when I consider this phrase. Biblical journeys, personal, emotional and physical journeys. I think of the steps taken, the adventures had, the support received along the way. I think of the journeys of others, how they are not always smooth or easy, but often rather difficult. Those who make the most difficult of journeys, are those who need the most support and understanding.

“You can’t understand someone until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes.” 

2019 will be the year of “Walking Together”. Let us build a community of support, understanding, empathy and, simply one of togetherness. Where the journeys we face in 2019 are ones of discovery and joy. When the road get s a little bumpy, we will always have someone by our side,helping us to understand and navigate the treacherous roads.

Wishing you all a wonderful and happy new year.

A year of “Walking Together”.

 

Enjoy,

KK

 

© Katherine A. Kovács and The Writer Within, (2013-2019). 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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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.

The Length of the Journey

Hello Lovelies,

This week I have been busy researching a particular location that will be included at some point in all three books that will make the Hearts Series. After having such difficulty finding information on the location, I was lucky enough to find an entire non-fiction book devoted to the history of the building, which I discussed in last week’s post. Since the book arrived on Wednesday, I have been busy devouring page after page as it describes in great detail the appearance of the building, right down to the type of wood used for the door frames and the material used for the cornices! I really feel as though I didn’t actually find the book, but the book found me!

The amazing book by Carl Ruhen that is providing great insight to a building that is long-gone.

The amazing book by Carl Ruhen that is providing a great insight into the magnificent building of a by-gone era.

“The Australia had a grandeur but it did not seek to exhibit flash magnificence. It breathed exclusivity, but it was never snobbish.” – David McNicoll cited by Ruhen (1995)

The more I explore Thomas and Rose’s world, the more I am coming to grips with the great length of time this journey will take. As I have mentioned, Thomas and Rose’s story will be detailed in a series of three books, currently called the Hearts Series. Lonely Hearts, which I hope to complete the first draft of this year, details the early days of their story – the first time they met and the trials and tribulations of the early days of their relationship. I already have all three books planned out (mostly in my head) but the actual writing of the story, the dialogue and filling in the plot holes is what takes time over the next few years, I hope to have the entire series written and published as eBooks, hoping to have Lonely Hearts published in late 2016. I realise that I am in for the long haul, this journey I am on is not one that can be shortened. The journey towards publishing my first novel and the remainder of the Hearts Series, will not be without difficulty and I still have so much more to learn in order to get to the stage of publishing, but as I journey further, I am learning so much more, my confidence in building and (I hope) my writing style is improving. I was looking back over my posts and writing since I started this journey and I almost cringe at the inaccuracies and faults in my writing. I’m not going to delete them though, I will leave them there as a reminder of how far I have come on my journey to embrace the writer within, as a reminder of the progress I have made with Thomas and Rose’s story and as a record of the conscious steps I have taken towards my goal.

So, here’s to progress, first drafts, magnificent locations and The Plan.

-KK

…Thomas then climbed out of the car, walking around to meet me as Johnson opened my door. Offering his hand, I took it thankfully as I tried to climb out of the car as gracefully as possible, careful not to trip on the length of the dress or stumble sideways in my new shoes. Once I carefully balanced myself on the path, I took Thomas’ arm and looked up as The Australia Hotel, Sydney’s most luxurious and elegant hotel, stood proudly in front of me.

© 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.

New Beginnings

“A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.” -Maya Angelou

Hello Lovelies,

This week we sadly saw the passing of author, poet, activist, dancer, actress, director and singer, Maya Angelou. Whilst I admittedly have not read any of her work in full, I have heard of her and know the inspirational person she was. When I read the sad news of her passing I began to gain a glimpse of the life Maya lived. Like the lives of many others, it was full of ups and downs but the most inspiring thing about the life Maya lived, I believe, was her ability to reinvent herself, with a life full of new beginnings.

According to Wikipedia (not always 100% reliable, but in this case I believe its information will suffice) Maya Angelou was born Marguerite Annie Johnson on April 4th, 1928. Her childhood was not an easy one by any means, her parents had a tumultuous relationship and Maya and her older brother would live with their grandmother more than once throughout their childhood. Maya Angelou was an amazingly strong woman and despite the difficulties she faced in her life, Maya has been awarded over 50 honorary degrees and is a celebrated poet, memoirist, novelist, educator, dramatist, producer, actress, historian, filmmaker, and civil rights activist and also, she was a mother. In fact Maya had her first child shortly after graduating high school and despite being a single mother in difficult time, she went from strength to strength to become an inspiration to people all over the world.

In light of my new-found appreciation of the person that was the inspirational Maya Angelou, I have been thinking about new beginnings. The times in our lives when we pick ourselves up and start again. It may be a time when our world has come crashing down or a time when we realise that things need to change, this is when we experience these new beginnings. Sometimes we begin this journey by making a conscious decision to start over or change direction, other times our path is altered subconsciously or by external forces. When thinking about the life of Maya Angelou and the new beginnings she experienced throughout her life, I began reflecting not only on my own journey and each new beginning I have experienced, but also the journeys and new beginnings of my characters, particularly in my (not so) short story, The Start of a New Beginning. After delving deeper into the journey of my characters and the changes in their lives, I have decided that the title for this WIP doesn’t adequately describe the journey of my characters and the many times when their lives have come crashing down and again, they start over. So in keeping with this sentiment, I am now referring to this WIP as New Beginnings. 

If you would like to know more about the person who was Maya Angelou, both Wikipedia and Maya’s official website are great sources

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maya_Angelou

 http://mayaangelou.com/

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
― Maya Angelou

Live your life with feeling, embrace it and see where the journey takes you,

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.

Past, Present and Future

Hello Lovelies,

Since my last post I have been thinking about the milestones coming up in my own life and in my family. In less than a month it will be my father’s sixtieth birthday and my own thirtieth (eeek!), while at the end of the year we will be celebrating my grandmother’s eightieth birthday. With all these ‘big birthdays’ coming up this year I have been thinking about my childhood and the things that have led me to this point in my life. Whilst I am happy with what I have achieved in my life so far, there is so much more I want to do, not only in regards to my writing and the journey I began almost six months ago, but in other aspects of my life. There is so much I want to teach my children and so much I want to show them and what better time is there than the present?

In keeping with the spirit of embracing the present, yesterday I took my children apple picking, something that I did as a child. I even went as far as to take them to (almost) the same orchard- well it was on the same road and with 4.5 kilograms of Granny Smith apples picked, I had three very happy children munching away in the back seat of the car. On our way home I remembered a park that my parents would always take my brother and I to and decided to stop and see if it was still there. The small park that I enjoyed many hours of play with my cousins and little brother remained almost unchanged, as if stuck in a time loop. So here were my own three children, in the present, enjoying playing at the same park that I enjoyed in the past. Perhaps some day my children’s children will enjoy some of the same things they once enjoyed.

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My daughter enjoying herself at the park- shortly after this picture she cleverly found the only puddle of stagnant water by sliding into the pile of autumn leaves at the end of the slide head first, with outstretched arms. Half a packet of baby wipes later and wearing her younger brother’s jacket, we made our way home. At least they had fun. Image copyright Katherine A. Kovacs/The Writer Within

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My cousins, little brother and myself enjoying the same park in the early nineties. Image copyright Katherine A Kovacs/The Writer Within

Even as I write this post, my children are watching a commercial for the sour Warhead lollies, after telling them I used to eat them when I was a little girl and attempting to explain the concept of sour to a six-year old and three-year old, I’ve decided that;s another thing from my childhood they might need to experience. They’ll probably spit out the lolly, but it’s an experience I’d like to share with them.

Our past is what makes us the people we are in the present and the choices we make in the present lead us to the path towards our future self.

Think about your goals and what you want to achieve and start to do things that will lead you down that path.

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions, they don’t really work for me. Besides, the goals I have are more long term and not something that can be done within such a time frame. My goals are more lifelong goals or aspirations, rather than a “New Year’s resolution” or “Five Year Plan”, my goals encompass my writing and embracing my creative self, as well as my family and my role as a mother. Let’s face it, I’m not getting any younger (I believe I mentioned my upcoming farewell to my twenties) and there’s no better time than the present to embrace the person we want to be in the future.

So what aspects of your past have influenced the person you are in the present? And what are you doing in the present to embrace the person you want to be in the future?

-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.

Genre- Lock it in Eddie

Hello lovelies,

Often when I tell people that I am a writer the first question is often asking me what style or genre I write.

For some writers, those questions are very simple to answer. Perhaps they are children’s writers or they write sci-fi, perhaps romance or even paranormal historic fiction. Yet, those types of questions, for me, are not as easily answered. You see, I cannot simply say that I write fiction, even though much of my writing is fiction. I cannot say I write romance, even though two of my WIP seem to be taking that path.

The truth is, I cannot lock myself into a genre, as my writing takes the path of my characters or whatever inspired me at the time. I have drafts of children’s fiction, poetry, music, lyrics, fiction and non-fiction. I do not choose where my inspiration comes from, but I do choose to embrace it. I do not choose the story my characters wish to tell me, but I do choose to follow them on their journey. I cannot ‘lock’ myself into a genre, the truth is I never really know what path my WIP is going to take, because you see,

Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.
– E. L. Doctorow

So, you see Eddie, I don’t need to phone a friend, I don’t need to ask the audience or any of that, because I won’t lock it in, I will not lock myself into a genre, even if it helps my audience to understand my writing, to decide whether my writing appeals to them. Published authors often have an intended audience, perhaps they are paid to produce several works in the one genre, but I am not a published author, I am just a mother, wife, teacher and (reasonably) young woman who is embracing the writer within. I have the freedom to explore whatever takes my fancy in my writing, without the pressure of possibly alienating my audience or disappointing my readers. I have followers on this blog and on my Facebook page and I am extremely humbled by the thought that my writing is enjoyed by others, not just friends of family, but also complete strangers from all over the world, that’s something truly amazing . I guess though I do not feel the pressure to lock myself into a genre as it is not the same as people who follow the works of a professional author because they enjoy reading a particular genre. Perhaps my followers enjoy certain aspects of my blog more than others, but at this stage of my journey, the pressure is not there. So for the time being I will write what pleases me, I will write what inspires me, I will write in the direction my characters take me.

And now, in complete contradiction of freedom to write what takes your fancy, I finish this post and head on over to write a 1500 word critical reflection of an education policy document.

Enjoy your week,
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.

Fact or Fiction?

Hello Lovelies,

It’s hard to find the time to write, but this week has been quite a productive one. My characters have given me enough insight into their first meeting allowing me to be able to fill in the blanks and put it into words, my fellow writers will understand just how exciting it is when something like that occurs. You see, it is not the writer who is simply writing the story, the characters are taking us on their journey and we are merely putting their story on paper. Sometimes your characters show you the whole scene and you have to find the right words to depict the scene, other times your characters let bits and pieces slip and you need to find out the rest. That’s where the fun of research comes in (again and again and again).

I already knew that Thomas and Rose met at Rose’s place of employment ,a small clothing manufacturer owned by a Jewish family who migrated from Europe several years before. I saw through Thomas’ eyes as he walked into the man’s office and looked into Rose’s eyes for the first time, but I didn’t know the Jewish man’s name. This is where research comes into play. Although this character in only in the story for a very brief moment and this story is a work of fiction, the name had to be factually accurate, this is when the research begins. I discovered many things about Jewish surnames, that I will not bore you with now, but through this research I did find what I believe to be the perfect name for this family, Schneider. Whilst this surname is a common German surname, my research has told me that it is a name that is a German-Jewish surname meaning tailor, the perfect surname for a family who design and make clothing, don’t you think?

After exploring the darkness last week, it was nice to be able to come into the light and discover the softer side of my dark and mysterious leading man and the beauty of my lovely and compassionate leading lady. Perhaps love was in the air? After all it was Valentines Day on Friday. I’m getting closer to completing the chapter that I abandoned a few weeks ago, but I am also discovering that the story is not heading quite in the direction I was anticipating and in some parts I’m not sure what will happen next. No need to worry though, my characters will show me the way when they are ready.

This week I would like to share with you a little excerpt from Thomas and Rose’s first meeting, again remember this work is raw and unedited and will likely change many times through the editing process.

Enjoy,

KK

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Image Flickr Creative Commons user Saif Saif

When I entered the small business, I was greeted by the owner, a dark haired Jewish man by the name of Szabo, who had migrated to Australia some years before with his wife and daughters. As I entered Mr Szabo’s office and sat down, her words took me by surprise, “Tea or coffee Mr Heath?” I did not even realise that someone else had entered the room. As I looked up I saw for the first time her warm brown eyes that hinted at the kindness and compassion she possessed. My brain struggled to register the words which she had just spoken to me. Her long waves of chocolate brown hair that sat below her shoulders were held back at the sides by two small brown hair combs. She was wearing a beautiful jade coloured dress, that had a ruffled v-neckline and belted waist that accentuated her curves. I know I was staring at her as after a brief moment her cheeks reddened and she glanced down at the small tray she had placed on the desk and repeated the question, to which I stammered out an almost unintelligible reply. Her mouth gave way to a small smile, I am sure she was laughing at me. I had been in the presence of many beautiful young women, but none had caused such an effect. The moment I looked into those warm brown eyes, I felt as if the world around melted away and this beauty, whose name I did not even know, was the only thing preventing me from drifting away. As she left the room and I sipped my coffee and remembered that I do not even drink coffee. I decided that I had to find out more about her, I had to find out everything, “You have a beautiful daughter Mr Szabo, you must be very proud,” what I said was the truth but I didn’t care whose daughter she was, I just knew that I must have her. “Who, Rosie? You very kind Mr Heath, but Rosie, she not my daughter, she not even Jewish girl. Rosie just work for me, she very good dressmaker.” Rosie… of course her name was Rose, it suited her perfectly, but in the words of William Shakespeare, “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” I asked Mr Szabo everything he knew about Rose, I found out many things by that afternoon, he explained that Rose was the only person besides his immediate family who worked for him. Even though he could no longer afford to pay her during these difficult times, Rose still continued to come to work each day. While I was told many things about her I did not know if she was betrothed, but it didn’t really matter, I would have her either way, but it would make things a lot easier if she were not. 

******

Most importantly I became privy to the fact that she was not betrothed to any man and so I began to pursue her, making unnecessary trips to Schneider’s, just so I could bump into her and invite her to lunch. Rosie was not like any of the other women I had been with and she was not the type of woman I would usually lust after, but for some reason I felt drawn to her. I had found what I was searching for, unaware that I was even searching until our eyes met for the first time. I was not used to having to court a woman, on past occasions, women would lust after me and I would let them. I would wine them and dine them, take what I wanted from them and send them on their way, feeling no emotional connection to them whatsoever.

From the beginning with Rosie, it has always been different.  

© 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.