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New Website!

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I wasn’t really expecting to create a new website but I realised last week that I did sort of need one for what I am doing at the moment. Everything I had was too specific, so now I have a general website full of words and pictures. It’s titled ‘Words and Pictures‘ just like my old site. It’s snuggled on a WordPress blog (like this one) and my vclinde.co.uk domain redirects there too.

You can have a look at my poetry and see some examples of my writing as well as publications/competitions, there are examples of my playscripts, some info about my writing, a bio page that is finally a little clearer (probably saying a little something about me, no?), all of my cookbook reviews,  and lots of links. The blog link brings you back here and this will remain my real blog, the blogs over there are largely pictures and fun things I like on Tumblr/Pinterest etc. which will hopefully keep the front page interesting.

This is partly me getting organised ready to announce my next big poetry project. I have had a full year without a project since the end of the Three Random Words collection but this one should be just as much fun and I’m hoping to get lots and lots of people involved again. The announcement about the project will come at 11am on January 11th and then facebook, twitter, and both websites will be full of news, updates and ways to get involved so please do keep your eyes out for it! I am very excited about this and cannot wait to share it with everyone.

Vick.

What Would You Do?

I found this on Pinterest several months ago now but I keep going back to it. I think that it is a wonderfully interesting question. I have a lot of answers but I’m not sure I can settle on just one of them. I would love to know what other people would do if you could live the next 24 hours and then erase it and start over.

Have an argument? Gauge reactions to something? Tell a truth you’ve hidden? Go somewhere you shouldn’t? Eat anything you want? Do something really dangerous? Break a law?

If it was your Groundhog Day would you rob a bank or learn to play the piano? I’ll bet one thing though…not many people would say that they would go into work. It’s something that I’ve been thinking over so often that I just had to put it up here.

I like ideas like this because it makes you realise what is important, makes you think harder about lots of different aspects of your life and what you want most. All thoughts on this very welcome. Answers on a postcard (or the comments section if you’d like!)

Vick.

And a little more…

Yesterday I posted about using Pinterest. As a brief follow-up to that there have been some changes on Pinterest overnight.

You are now able to rearrange your boards, which is something that people have been asking for for a very long time. It’s not something that has ever bothered me (I have a relatively small number of boards compared to most users) but because it means that they are still listening to what we want. This gives me a lot of hope that other complaints will be heard. Hurrah! There are also a few cosmetic changes but nothing that makes it harder to navigate around the site.

Also, I’ve now posted my business links all about Pinterest on the Jackdaw 19 website if people would like to have a look at some of the articles that I’ve been reading about Pinterest and business users.

Vick.

Who Are You?

Introductions are my nemesis. I really hate having to introduce myself. In the few seconds between meeting a new person and the glazed look sliding over their face I curse the heavens and wonder why on earth I didn’t just bloody well become a civil servant.

I nearly did. Back in 2008 I had a degree in Politics, experience of several levels of campaigning as well as an internship with a charity as their Parliamentary Assistant. The next step was to choose a stream of politics, fit in and work my way up as close to the top as I could manage. This might be a little bit of a surprise to people who have met me in the last few years. I am not a civil servant, in fact what I am now is much more complicated than that.

Recently online Kim Lakin-Smith commented on how hard it is to write a bio for yourself. Nowadays for everything that you sign up for online you are asked to provide a profile. Most of the time there is a word limit to this mini autobiography, not an easy task to reduce yourself down to 500 words or 500 characters. A concise way of describing your life, your dreams, your passions and your individuality is neither simple nor desirable in most cases.

It is not only online, quite the opposite; whenever we meet new people our first impressions are coloured by so many factors and introductions are deeply complicated. For those of us not in an easily defined career, the question: “what do you do?” is one of the most unwelcome you can hear. My parents (and I) have lived in the same house for most of my life with the same neighbours. This week our 96 year old neighbour died – she was truly made of sterner stuff. I know very few of her friends or family and when I meet them at her funeral I do not know how to introduce myself. This is a common problem at family parties, conventions, weddings, funerals, parties, holidays, reunions etc. etc. The list goes on, unless you have at least half an hour and a genuine interest in getting to know me then I have no idea how to introduce myself to you.

I said when I closed the doors on my old blog and opened this one that I would write a more fragmented blog, with more opinions and more of my personal views and yet I still shied away from doing it, perhaps because of a lack of clarity of who I am, but also because I do not want one opinion to become who I am – which is easily possible on the internet. Having said that I am as much at fault as anyone who happens to read my blog, for not being clearer about all of the aspects that make up my personality, which also applies to meeting people face-to-face. When people ask me what I do I tend to pick one part and stick with it, I don’t have the courage to explain my real personality to strangers. I am barely brave enough to attempt to let my friends know.

I decided that I do not want a career. I do not want to choose a job and climb up through the ranks. I don’t want to do the same thing every day and work with the same people all the time. I do not want to hone one set of skills but rather learn a new set each time I have a new task. I want to live in every direction, learn as much as I can, be endlessly curious, makes a different mistake every day, scare myself, scare other people, think, act, breathe.

I know that I am fortunate that I can do this. I have been able to try and find something that I love, a way to enjoy my life rather than simply getting through it. People spend the two biggest portions of their life asleep or at work. I have always been rubbish at sleep so I want to at least get the work part right. I have a cushion, moving back into the family home has been far from easy but with the ability to dip into savings I have a chance that few people have – I can honestly try to live an amazing life, a life without holding back. I have never been as brave as I have wanted to be but I am trying and I am learning to be better at carpeing every diem. I am very privileged and it may seem to some that I am being selfish but at the same time not trying to do the things that I love while I can do them, to me seems like a dreadful waste.

It is not an easy decision to make, to try and live life on your own terms and it is not a decision you make once but every day, every hour. Some days I don’t have the courage to do it and I sit for hours scanning through employment agency websites. Those are the low points. My skills do not fit those jobs, my needs wouldn’t be met and I have a feeling I would make a pretty rubbish employee. Then something makes me realise that I choose this way of life for a good reason and that I should stick with it.

It is the hit-by-a-bus philosophy on living. I want to save some money so that I am protected and can look after myself in the future but I don’t want to be so cautious that all of my life I am waiting for hopes that don’t happen. What if I am miserable all of the time, promising myself that it will be worth it in the end and then I am hit by a bus. What a huge waste. We have one precious life, what a truly terrible thing to squander.

Of course money is one of the main things that will hold you back, it is always the way, you need funds to be able to keep doing what you do and most of the time there isn’t cash falling out of the sky. However it is not the only thing, we hold ourselves back and are held back by other people as well. Without support it is nearly impossible to try and live the life you want. If the people who surround you tell you that you are being foolish and that you should give up and try for something more sensible or just pick one thing to try and do in your life then it’s much more likely that you will. If the people who surround you tell you this – change the people around you.

So, who am I? I am a poet. I am a cook. I am a friend. I am a playwright. I am a reader. I am a scholar. I am a critic. I am an observer. I am a participant. I am a daughter. I am a fan. I am a designer. I am a girl. I am a photographer. I am a PA. I am an artist. I am a collector. I am an organiser. I am an enthusiast. I am a creator. I am a woman. I am an explorer. I am a dreamer. I am a writer. I am a traveller. I am not someone who will settle. I am someone who tries to only say yes when I mean it and not be afraid of saying no. I am 25 and I am not someone who is willing to give up on living a life that I enjoy, on living a life that matters, on making the most of the life I have.

Vick (whoever she is).

p.s. Although he’ll never read this I should apologise to my Latin teacher for ‘carpeing every diem’. Sorry, Sir.
p.p.s. The top picture is mine. Most of the rest can be found on my Phraseology board on Pinterest if you’d like to link through to the original sources.

Thanksgiving.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving in America. I’ve had one thanksgiving while I was in the US and several more faux celebrations in the UK. I like how it has become a time to honestly think about all of the things and people that you are really thankful for. I could go really over the edge and tell you who and what I am thankful for but although this is a personal blog, I think that might be a bit too far! However there is a #trend on Twitter at the moment called #readerthanks where people are thanking authors, books and reading influences.

I grew up in a house full of books with a bibliophile and an English teacher. I was reading classics when I was eight, finished the school library and never went anywhere without a book – in other words, a complete nerd. Too many authors of classics to thank but I do give thanks for all of them as well as my early-age suppliers.

T.H. White – for giving us a book of life and morality that teaches without preaching.

J.K. Rowling – for making it easier when you were the girl always teased about reading too much and living in the library most of the time.

Kenneth Grahame – who opened my imagination and made picnics magical.

Brent Weeks – without the Night Angel trilogy I wouldn’t have started exploring the fantasy genre.

Doris Grumbach – for every challenging word, for every comforting word.

Mark Charan Newton, Ian Whates, Mark Chadbourn and David Moore – who made me feel that is was okay to be ‘just’ a reader at conventions.

Victor Hugo – for the most wonderful stories.

Annie Dillard – who made me love America before I ever got there.

Walt Whitman, Susan Minot, Lawrence Durrell and Lord Byron – for starting and keeping my love of poetry.

Any person who has ever given me a book – the best gift and all treasured.

I am sure there are many more, but I am thankful for all of the books, authors, characters, fellow readers, poems, words and stories.

Vick.