Like so many, it’s taken a freaking global pandemic to make us take stock of our lives. A period where we have faced the fragility and injustice of life head on, a wake up call to change ourselves and the world around us.
Despite the added responsibility to teach my sons by day and work on weekends and some nights, I’ve carved out extended periods of time for what author Cal Newport defines as, ‘meaningful work’. To write, research, collate and paint.
Here are the first pieces I’ve painted on canvas in years. So many years I’m not sure I can count them.
A combination of oils, acrylics, pastels and charcoal, these pieces are heavily influenced by Monet and Van Gogh, and stroke by stroke, have taken me by the hand, back to myself.
Honouring myself in this way, not hiding from something that used to give me joy, I’d talked myself out of, has allowed me to bond more deeply with my family, with less resentment, and more love.
In tribute to my new, old self, I reverted back to the monochrome gravatar/profile pic I first used as a blogger a whole decade ago, taken many years before that by my friend Dr William Wynn-Jones as a reminder not to lose myself again.
To not forget what lights me up.
To not confine myself creatively again.
To acknowledge I can be many things. That I am many things.
A former screenwriter. A current screenwriter.
I’m nearing the end of a 20,000 word screenplay I’m hoping to adapt into a 60,000 word novel borne from a conversation with my therapist at the start of lockdown. She set me homework that day to start the piece. To commit to it, and now it’s almost complete.
A comedy drama, I’m writing it without expectation nor pressure on myself, for the love it with the dream it leaves the page and finds an audience.
The route of screenplay to novel is not common but I’m following what comes naturally to me and the first draft is without a doubt, a screenplay.
I’ve remembered through committing to 500 words a day that I find birthing characters and creating plot lines far easier than writing blog posts. Both mediums, however, must be compelling, economical, and universal. Emotion on screen.
…I’ve also reconnected with my Greek roots, predominantly the written word via app Duo Lingo, and my parent’s many Greek recipes in my Dad’s new Facebook group George’s Meditterean Kitchen, and on paper, notes scribbled into exercise books as my Mum reads recipes to me over the phone or tucked into shiny greetings cards with flowers on the front, she’s sent me in the post.
Lockdown has seen me reestablish old friendships, nurture life-long ones and distance myself from those who never brought me peace.
I’ve consistently implented and retained boundaries, leaning on my morals.
As my therapist reminded me at the start of this crisis, ‘we are not our jobs, we are our values’.
…I’ve read religiously over these past 3 months, quite possibly more than in the year preceeding it, re-reading classics with my kids from their reading list such as The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe and Tom’s Midnight Garden, and I myself returned to classics spanning Doris Lessing’s The Golden Notebook, F.Scott Fitzgerald’s Tender is the Night and Maya Angelou’s I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, for inspiration.
I gobbled up Sally Rooney’s masterful debut novel, Conversation With Friends and read Untamed in two days by Glennon Doyle, a manifesto that will liberate us all.
Netflix has equally held my hand through bouts of sleeplessness with the frivolous and addictive Selling Sunset for escapism, and the thrilling Unorthodox in the most captivating mini series I’ve ever seen.
BBC3’s Normal People made an idellible mark on me (I’ve frustratingly started the novel after watching the series) and while morose in parts, felt like watching a biographical piece as I remembered my own first love and feeling an outsider at school, gaining popularity and a greater awareness of who I was at Sixth Form and later University.
Re-living films like Mean Girls and Big Daddy with my own children on the lounge projector provided nostalic hugs I didn’t know I needed.
Oh, and I’ve had a name change and am no longer vegan.
A name change felt fitting to reflect the transformation. So, Hi, I’m Vicki Broadbent.
Feminism is a choice and I’m choosing my husband’s name from now on.
It’s the name you’ll see in the 2nd UK edition of my book MUMBOSS (I got a 2nd edition-thank you!) and also on the cover of the US and Canadian edition of my book out on Sept 8th, which also receives a new book title name too: The Working Mom.
Both have had a make-over too with my image being replaced with a pop art cover I adore and a quote from Marie Claire.
‘A must-read for any woman looking to balance a career with motherhood’. Go buy it folks.
I’m an author, I’m a blogger, I’m a broadcaster, I’m a painter, I’m a screenwriter, I’m a filmmake, I’m mother and a Broadbent.
So, yeah, as I mentioned, I’ve changed.
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My debut book is my guide to surviving and thriving at work and at home and offers insight into how to create a digital business or return to work with confidence.
Mumboss: The Honest Mum's Guide to Surviving and Thriving at Work and at Home (UK 2nd Edition)