Tuesday, 29 December 2009

What's Next?

So, another year draws to a close.

I'm determined to make 2010 my biggest year yet. Up until now I've either drifted through my years, from time to time getting caught on some reeds or the riverbank; college, uni, a job I need to pay the rent... but I don't know why I'm where I am, how I got here, or where I'll end up.

Well, from the beginning of 2010 onwards I am going to use my own goals as my compass, and decide for myself where it is I'm heading. No more doing things just because I don't want to disappoint the people around me, or because I don't have anything better to do than go along with what I'm told is best.

I'm prepared to make mistakes here and there, and have to adjust my course, and surprise a few people along the way. After all, I know that all the important people in my life will support me in whatever I decide I want to do.

Today I've been planning. I'm surrounded by hundreds of big and little ideas of what I want to do, and excited by the fact that so many of them seem achievable. I now need to prioritise them so that I can focus on one at a time and start ticking things off my list of accomplishments without becoming overwhelmed.

I'm looking forward to this next year.
How about you?

Friday, 25 December 2009

Merry Christmas Everyone!!!

I just wanted to wish everyone a very very happy Christmas, full of love and joy and wishes come true.

Christmas is usually just myself, my mum and my brother, but today all our friends in the area are merging our Christmas celebrations and gathering together as an extended family should.  I volunteered to make the brussel sprouts for the party, and spent yesterday making pies (Pumpkin and chocolate cream! Not together... that would be odd.). Now just to work out how to transport the pies and us without some terrible mishap. I'm thinking I might cycle and let the pies take over the back seat of the car.

There are splodges of snow still in the garden here, in my mind that counts as a White Christmas, and Classic FM on with the Christmas requests downstairs. All is well with the world... or at least this little corner of it.

I hope things are just as wonderful with you!

Much love to all! xxxxx

Monday, 21 December 2009

Bring It On

2010 is fast approaching. As is usual at the end of a year, I've been doing a lot of thinking about where I am in my life. But this year I'm realising how far I am from where I want to be, and worse, how unsure I am of where it is I do want to be.

The most important thing I do know now, is that there is no pay off for me playing it safe. I need to do something that is worthy of my time and effort. I want to make a difference with what I do, in some way, otherwise what am I working for? And without this challenge and integration of values, I just end up miserable, constantly trying to find time to jam everything important to me into my "spare time" instead of including it in my life.

It's so easy to get cozy somewhere, stuck in a safe little rut, doing the same things every day while thinking and talking big and saying what I'd like to do someday. It's time I stop living like this. I don't want to talk big, I want to live big.

As of today I'm no longer playing safe.

I don't know exactly what this means for me yet. At this moment it feels like I need a complete change of direction, and the courage and commitment to actually go through with it without going, "Oh, but.... it's so haaard......."

The whining, complaining part of me says, "But whyyyyy do I have to do this? I only just finished my degree! Let me rest! Let me sleepwalk through life a little first, it's less scary." But the rest of me is becoming stronger, and saying, "No no no no no. No more. No more wasting life on things that are pointless and life-leaching."

I have ideas about what I would like to do and I'm spending the next couple weeks fine-tuning and looking at options. After that..... I'm ready. Bring It On.

Friday, 18 December 2009

First Snow!

Snow snow snow!
In December!

This doesn't happen here... like.... ever.
So excited!






Tuesday, 15 December 2009

In the Land of the Northern Lights

I am very happy. I have finally tracked down an actual DVD that I can buy of Joanna Lumley's journey into the Arctic circle. I watched it a year ago and fell in love entirely. With Norway, the people there, the Northern Lights, and with her. When I was young I dreamed of being an explorer, I read the Swallows & Amazons books constantly and was transported into my own world of high adventure and new discoveries.

Watching this documentary, you're watching someone who is grown up and famous, reverting back to the childhood dream mode... and actually fulfilling these dreams. Never once saying, "Hmm, this must seem silly to you." Oh the goosebumps when she steps into the Arctic Circle for the first time, what to speak of seeing the Lights themselves.

I love watching this for the beauty of the film itself, and for Joanna Lumley, who is simply fantastic with her dignified childish wonder, and for the hope it gives me that there need never be a "use by" date on childhood dreams.

If you haven't seen it, you should. The DVD is available on Amazon at last. But the whole documentary is now on Youtube. First part here:

Monday, 14 December 2009

Home-Grown Silent Movies

I stumbled across these linked in an old email. These quick mini videos are  the result of an afternoon playing in the woods with a camera, back in the days of yore... before we were grown up with uni and jobs. (Although, since finding these I've been thinking about how to get everyone back together for more. I'm thinking spies... watch this space.)

All are taken with the silent movie function on my point-and-shoot camera.
Each clip is only a few seconds long, and quite absurd. Enjoy!

This whole filming thing started with the discovery of my brother's unexpected silent sneaking skill. I have no recollection of quite how we made this discovery...

Don't trust nonchalant people standing in the middle of the woods.

Watch out for strange hooks coming from behind trees.

Our interpretation of that famous scene in Indiana Jones

Some kind of chase.

When a tree stands on the boundaries between dimensions, odd things can happen.

Also, don't trust cute little girls standing on tree trunks.

And last but not least. Don't blink or you'll miss it!


A kick into action.. or inspiration in the form of "that should be me!"

While we were having breakfast this morning my mum put on some one-off documentary thing from Channel 4. I didn't feel like watching TV and was about to turn it off, but within seconds of it starting I was spell-bound. It was one of those things you watch and think, "oh my god, this is something I would have made given the chance" (well, as a not-quite-yet-filmmaker I watch and think that, maybe not you.)

It was just so.... me. It was called The Solitary Life of Cranes, and was about crane drivers, how no-one thinks about the fact there are people in tiny boxes at the top of the hundred or so metal structures towering above you wherever you go in London. It was all about the things they see that no-one else does, the patterns, the little things they notice, weather, sunrise seen from the sky, the quiet and solitude... and the whole documentary was shot in exactly the way I have written up treatments for my own films several times. It was like watching moving photography. Quiet, simple, no faces, no talking heads. Just a constant stream of amazing imagery, and the voices of the crane drivers talking about their experiences.

The whole time I was watching I was thinking, "I could have done this. I have to start making films. I could have made this!"

As it drew to a close I became determined to stop going, "Eh, but it's all so difficult and commercial..." and actually write something that is me, and then pitch it, instead of worrying about having to get an official media industry job and working on other peoples' projects for years before daring to think of my own. I can work on mine in my own time while I'm working in my normal job, or while I'm working on other writing.

Then the credits started rolling. First came all the special thanks.... then the director's name.
Not only has she made a film that is identical in every way to my style and attention to things no-one usually considers, she even has my name! (Properly, I'm Vrinda Eva Webb)

Seeing someone with my name making my films has given me a good kick to stop procrastinating. I've come up to my room now to start work on my own projects. I'm going to start working on either one of my storybooks (still running on the inspiration of meeting the illustrator the other week) or on the script I've put to the side since last year and would love to have completed.

So off I go to do that now.

The butter to my bread...

Out of Julie & Julia, I loved this quote most of all.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

VrindaWebb.com - my little web baby

Instead of waiting until everything's perfect (which will take a while, as I'm extremely new to this) I've decided it's time to show the beginning of my website. It still needs, among many many things, a homepage, and an About Me page without glitchy links that appear by themselves. And many more photos.

But it's still a baby, and it's mine.

So without further ado, I bring you.....



Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Christmas in Retail. (never again)

Only two weeks into working full-time in solid Christmas retail, and I've hit breaking point. I left work today promising myself that I'm going to never, ever have to slave away in retail for another Christmas. I know "everyone knows" already about the commercialism of this season, but today I suddenly saw it clearer than I ever have before.

Customers are stressed, rude and snappy... of course having a thousand and one things to deal with, how are they supposed to find the time to spend their hard earned cash on things that no one needs but they're told they need to buy? And as for everyone working in the store, tempers are fraying, disagreements become huge deals, people are getting under each others' skin and trying to make everyone around them as stressed and miserable as they are.

We're open for late shopping, no one wants to be there until 9:30 at night, not when they'll just be doing is stumbling home and collapsing into bed, only to get up and come back to work the next morning. Comments are made about the futility of going home at all, semi-humorous suggestions of bunks in the staffroom.

I feel spoilt and self-important complaining about an occupation that thousands and thousands of people do as their normal lives, especially when I've spent so little time doing it. But maybe the fact I have never had to subject myself to this is why I'm finding it so difficult now.

Looking around today I was hit hard by how depressed everyone was, shoppers and staff alike. It doesn't feel like a group of people anymore, it feels like we're part of some robotic vision of how life should be. Work, spend money, work, spend money, work, don't have enough money? Buy on credit! And in retail, we're the ones being paid to part the public from their money. The more money we take from them, the more we're rewarded.

I don't have to be part of this soulless factory mentality. If I can avoid it, I don't ever want to rely on wages like this again. I want to be self-employed, freelance, reliant on my own skills to make the bulk of my money, not just another faceless employee. I know that this will take some time to plan and build up, but one step at a time and I'll get there. Now that I've seen the alternative, I have serious incentive to becoming serious about finding my own direction.

I'm going to spend this next year focusing on all the things I can do instead of slaving in retail, or some other bread-line job. Every day I will take some step, large or small, towards my own goals and accomplishments. That's at least 365 steps. Enough to start me down my new path.

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Candyfloss of Dreams

While looking through my archive of photos I stumbled across this one and it made me smile, so I thought I'd share.

Last September I spent a week exploring Paris with Becky. On our second day I saw a child near the Eiffel Tower walking around with candyfloss and decided I wanted some very much, but then I couldn't find where they'd got it. I was most distraught of course, and every day from then on I scoured the tourist sites looking for where to find candyfloss.

Finally on our last day, sitting on a bench in Jardin de Luxembourg, a child walked past with candyfloss. I jumped up, euros in hand, and started walking the way the child had come. After a minute I passed a couple more kids with pink fluffy clouds of sugar and knew I was on the right path.

When I finally found the woman in her booth and pointed at the sign for candyfloss, she was so amused by me joining the queue of people half my height and a quarter of my age, that she kept spinning and spinning it until it turned into the most giant candyfloss mountain I've ever had, probably the size of some of my fellow sugar-cravers.

A most satisfactory conclusion to my candyfloss hunt, and farewell day in Paris.

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Chance Meetings

One thing I love about my job is the variety of people I meet. Yesterday I was scanning through  an assortment of different papers and asked the customer what she planned to do with them.

It turns out she's an illustrator of childrens' books, something I have been thinking about for a while. I mentioned that I was working on a couple little stories for childrens' books and she gave me her email address and website, telling me to send her what I have and saying that she has worked on books long enough to know when they're ready to be sent to an editor.

I'm not certain that my stories are what she usually deals with, but, she mentioned that she does illustration with collage. Something that would suit one of my stories perfectly, a story I've been trying to work out what style it needed. So even if I didn't send it to her, I have an idea for my own work. More than anything I would love to both write and illustrate my book.

She's got me thinking about it again. I think I'll start to work on it seriously now, instead of it being an idea for sometime in the future when I'm a Writer. And who knows, maybe when I start working on my stories again I'll find something to send her..

Website, coming soon. (no, really this time!)

I very, very much want a website with my photos, just collections and favorite images, somewhere I can show what I am proud of and use as a portfolio if (when!) I go more serious with my photography.

After months of coaxing, cajoling and bullying my brother into actually making me the website he promised to build me, I've gone back to the free software I started making my site with in the first place. He's still promising to finish building the one from scratch, but instead of waiting I'm doing my own thing and I'll replace it with his when it's done.

I now have the basic skeleton of my website in running order, it just needs a few cosmetic tweaks and a little more content, and it'll be ready to actually show people. I can't wait to have somewhere that's mine at last, rather than just a page in a giant website like Flickr (which I do love). I plan to have it viewable by next week.

Eee, excitment!

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Clean Slate - plus Bike, Work and Skating.

I miss writing here. It's been so long since I have written regularly that I feel like I should catch up on everything I've missed. I never know what to write when I do sit down to begin.

I think I need to start fresh instead of trying to catch up. Clean slate and all that.

************ ( <<== this symbolises a slate being wiped clean.)


Two weeks ago I finally bought a bike. It's a pretty pretty white Raleigh Caprice and I love it. It opens up a world of freedom I haven't had since leaving London. This is the wrong month to begin cycling I think, I had a week of lovely crisp weather before it turned rainy and cold. But I'm determined to cycle anyway, it's like flying, I get everywhere in a fraction of the time it would take to walk, and whoosh the whole way with the wind in my hair. Could there be a better way to travel?

And last week I went full time at work, at least until Christmas. This means more money, but far less free time, which is tricky when the holidays are drawing closer and you have no presents for family yet! Somehow I'll manage.

I went iceskating on Sunday with friends I haven't seen for a while, it was huge fun, I discovered that I can skate, I didn't know that you see, and now I want roller blades (or quads, either kind of skates would be amazing) so I can skate all year round.

And this is the end of my clean slate post.
I'll be back sooner next time.

(My bike by Battersea Bridge on a lovely all-day bike ride last week)