As I was completing the revisions for The City of Earthly Desire, I became inspired to make a new cover for the book as well. I never really liked the previous cover all that much and feel this new design better reflects the primary setting as well as some of the 'darker' aspects of the narrative.
When I visited my grandparents in Hungary as a child, I was fortunate enough to have caught a few episodes of the animated series Hungarian Folktales (Magyar Népmesék).
The six-to-ten minute animated stories are all based on authentic Hungarian folktales, and the animation itself pays special attention to various folktale motifs. Ranging from charming and light, to downright dark and somewhat adult-themed in nature, the folktales area a delight to watch.
Though I only saw a few of them when I was a child, I have watched nearly all of them online as an adult. I recently discovered a channel on YouTube featuring the animated Hungarian Folktales in English. Well worth exploring if you have a penchant for good and, occasionally, quirky stories. These enchanting and enjoyable cartoons also provide some valuable insights into Hungarian culture and consciousness.
One of my personal favorites - The Angel Lambs - can be viewed here. Enjoy
Well, it took a couple of weeks longer than I expected it would, but I have completed the revisions to my novel The City of Earthly Desire. The revisions were partly inspired by some feedback I received from readers in the past couple of years, and partly by my own dissatisfaction with the way I had written a few of the characters. I am pleased with this revised version. I hope future readers will feel the same way.
Whatever the case, I had a good time during the revision process. It was a bit frustrating at the beginning, but after a week or two I really began to enjoy the work. I had the chance to revisit some old haunts and spend some quality time with some old friends. It was also quite rewarding to be immersed in something creative for an extended period of time. If nothing else, the experience reminded me of the importance of cultivating and maintaining a rich inner life.
I plan to republish the novel some time in the next week. Details will follow shortly.
The white stag is the central symbol in my novel The City of Earthly Desire, and appears in the emblem of my fictitious village of Ószabad in the narrative. There is, however, a real village in southern Hungary that features the white stag on its emblem - this village is Óbanya, which I visited for the first time this past Christmas.
Obánya's village emblem served as the model for my own fictitious rendering of Ószabad's emblem. In my novel, the communists eventually change Ószabad's emblem, replacing the white stag with a red star. I described the alteration in the following manner in the book:
Reinhardt was five when the communists changed the village’s emblem. For nearly two centuries the emblem had been a crest depicting a white stag standing between two green hills below a dark blue sky punctured by the sun on the right and the moon on the left. A few local party members and some AVO men from Pécs unveiled Ószabad’s new, updated village emblem during a small official ceremony all the villagers were forced to attend. The green hills, dark sky, sun, and moon remained the same, but the white stag had been replaced by a massive red star. The party members burst into applause. Having no real choice in the matter, the villagers joined in.
Seeing the emblem firsthand was a wonderful experience. Unfortunately, I didn't manage to catch a glimpse of any real white stags around the village, but I did see a few of the more common light brown variety.
My family and I visited southern Hungary this Christmas and spent a day in the city of Pécs (pronounced Paytch). The image above shows the main entrance to the Pécs Cathedral. The iron gates of the main entrance are crafted to resemble grapevines, with the Holy Spirit - represented here by a dove - perched at the top. The craftsmanship here is among the best I have encountered in the field of ironwork. Truly a sight to behold.
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