World Cup Soccer and Writing

Thunderheads in the beautiful Texas Sky

Since I like to celebrate strong women in my books and on my blog, I want to say how impressed I was with Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović when the Croatian Soccer Team lost to France in the final game of the World Cup. The internet was filled with pictures of her celebrating the team despite the defeat, and social media was abuzz with praise:

One social media user said: “The heartbroken Croatia president looks graceful in defeat hugging every player!”

Another wrote: “The Croatian president is coming out of this as the winner. Football shirt, rain, crying, hair ruined, doesn’t give a damn.”

What a lady. What an example of strength of character and putting others first.

Those clips were taken from EXPRESS, a UK publication that had a terrific story about Croatian president and other reactions to the game and to the outcome. The more I read, the more impressed I was with this woman and her support for her team.

All of the news reports I’ve read, made me curious about this country called Croatia. I’ve never known much about it beyond the fact that it is a small country in Southeast Europe.

The following I learned from Wikipedia:

Following the Axis invasion of Yugoslavia in April 1941, most of the Croatian territory was incorporated into the Nazi-backed client-state which led to the development of a resistance movement and the creation of the Federal State of Croatia which after the war become a founding member and a federal constituent of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. On 25 June 1991, Croatia declared independence, which came wholly into effect on 8 October of the same year. The Croatian War of Independence was fought successfully for four years following the declaration.

I remember learning bits and pieces about the Croatian War of Independence from story-lines in the popular hospital drama ER. Goran Višnjić, a Croatian-American actor played Dr. Luka Kovač on the NBC television series, and Luka talked about serving in the Croatian military after losing his wife and children in a bombing raid. While that was a fictional scenario, it reflected what had been going on in that war and the horror of any war.

Some interesting facts I learned about Croatia:

  • The primary language for writing is Latin. And here I thought Latin was a dead language. 🙂
  • The country is just under 22,000 square miles in size. Slightly smaller than the state of West Virginia.
  • It is 91% Christian, and the population is 90% Croats.
  • It is ruled as a Unitary Parliamentary Constitutional Republic – a unitary state with a republican form of government that is dependent upon the confidence of parliament.

And it has a terrific soccer team and one hell of a good president.

Kristen Lamb is a writer who I consider a strong woman because of how she has come through her personal and professional challenges and continues to be an advocate of her fellow writers on her blog. She shares tips and advice on the business and personal side of writing, often challenging us to do better, to be better. Not only as writers but as people. In a recent post about the dangers of constantly being connected to the Internet and busy on one device or another, she wrote about the consequences:

Habits can be particularly insidious because its behavior so ingrained it’s subconscious. Add on top of this a world that keeps pushing us to go faster, do more, be more. This adds fuel to the proverbial fire.

Our modern world trains us to never hit the ‘OFF’ switch because there’s money to be made if we’re constantly plugged into the Matrix.

Perhaps we work at a computer all day. How do we take a break? We hop on-line, dive into social media, watch Netflix or play on-line games. We’re never taking time to ‘get out of our own head’ which is often why we lose touch with our emotions.

As a consequence, our capacity to ‘feel’ atrophies.

For writers, not being connected to our feelings can be disastrous. Feelings, and how we touch each other through sharing feelings is a vital part of making characters real. If they are not real, then real people may not relate to them.

On the more personal side, Kristen focuses a great deal on the propensity we all have to hurry past feelings, especially those associated with grief. We don’t want to be sad all the time. Social media encourages us to “buck up and smile.” Or we put the onus on ourselves to swallow our “negative” feelings and put on a happy face.

She asks some good questions:

Do you seem to struggle more in our modern age with being able to feel? When a negative experience hits, are you (like me) quick to go look up a blog, binge-watch HBO, or scroll Facebook? Are you afraid to feel? Unused to being able to feel? Have you turned into a mini-documentary maker, too?

Have you become addicted to distraction? Are there childhood memories that are SO REAL (even decades later) because you didn’t have any technology to interrupt? So you remember the smell of the grass and Coppertone, the feel of the sand, the bite of saltwater up your nose when you first dove into the ocean…

That’s all for me, folks. And I do hope you take a break from electronics for a little while and pet your cat, take your dog for a walk, kiss your wife or husband or partner, hug your children, look at the flowers in your garden, and just enjoy.

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