Feeling Inspired

I’ve been reading a fair few blog posts today, along with various other tasks that have kept me busy. I connected with some blogs I hadn’t read in a while and began to comment again and to engage with everything. As I was reading, I started to notice something that made me smile: these blog posts were making me want to write. They were filling me with an inspiration that I haven’t felt in ages.

The thing I love about the community – I mean, there are so many things which I love that I couldn’t just list one – is the creativity. Today, I read posts that ranged from book hauls to a letter about past friendship. As a blogger, you can choose to read what you like and though you can sometimes feel an obligation to read, I feel like there’s more of a relaxed atmosphere around what you read. As there are so many blogs out there, you could never be expected to read thousands of posts but being given a variety of inspiration from all around the blogosphere and the world is fantastic.

How I felt today, whilst sitting down and reading, was connected. Not in the manic, social-media-must-rule-my-life sense but rather, I felt connected to human emotion and experiences. I think that’s one of the reasons I started blogging – I wanted to be involved with the beautiful web of life and feelings; this was and is one of the best ways. I was stunned by some writing I read as well, the fact that someone could create such beautiful imagery from verse and their own heart.

Ideas started running around my head. I took little things from each post – a section of recollection, the euphoria of friendship, the invincibility of having your words read and understood. Seeing collaborations like The Artistics and blogger interviews made me feel like the community was interconnected and respectful of each other. That made me want to pick up my keyboard (well, just tap out some things on it) and finish posts I hadn’t touched in weeks, start on new ones and let the thoughts run free in my head.

People have such amazing stories in their heads and I often forget that I can be one of those people. In the mayhem of social media, stress and my own brain shouting at me, I forget that I’m a person and a blogger too. Engaging with people reminded me that I have my own independent thoughts and that they shouldn’t be blanked out for the sake of fear about how people will respond to them.

Of course, I try not to read posts when I feel too drained. It’d only make me feel worse but there are plenty of occasions where reading someone’s writing, that they’ve spent their time creating, can create a wish to share my own writing with you. Isn’t that the best feeling? It really reminds me why I love blogging so much.

I want to say thank you to anyone who writes. You might not know it but every word I read and every emotion captured in a sentence inspires me to keep going. I don’t know what I’d do without the community to lift me up and most times, they don’t even know they’re doing it!

Have you read any good blog posts recently that have inspired you? Have you written any that you think I should read?

Love from Elm 🙂

Books I Need to Read This summer

I love books, to a worrying extent sometimes. A-Levels stopped me reading and I really want to get back into it, now that I have actual free time. What better way to do that than to rave about the books I want to read this summer?

These come from a range of places, from recommendations to just stalking my Twitter for books I should read. Will I get through all of them? Hopefully, but who knows?

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
OKAY YES I HAVE NOT READ THIS BOOK I AM SO SORRY. I honestly think I’m one of the only ones who hasn’t read it? It’s been on my TBR for years now and it’s ridiculous how I’ve not read it? WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME??? I’ve read the other books in the Grishaverse, like Shadow and Bone, Siege and Storm, so this is a must-read especially because my friends always scream about it.

A Thousand Perfect Notes by C.G. Drews
For a long time, Cait’s reviews on Goodreads were my main source of book recommendations. She’s wonderful and I read a story by her on Wattpad, a long time ago; her words were addicting and emotional. I can’t wait to read this – I can tell it will make me sob but it’ll be worth it for the beauty her words can inspire.

The Astonishing Colour of After by Emily X.R. Pan
I’ve seen so many great reviews of this book, including the brilliant Ilsa telling the world how much she adores the book. The premise sounds so interesting too and I’ve heard the writing is fantastic.

Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody
When I read Daughter of the Burning City, I fell in love with Amanda Foody’s work. She writes with such attention to character and setting that it actually makes me cry. I’ve heard that this book is really diverse too, so that makes me want to read it more.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
There’s no doubt about it: I need to read this book. Its message is so incredibly important and though it will be hard-hitting, people need to read these words. I’ve needed to read it for such a long time but thiss summer, it’s going to be one of the first I read.

Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust
Though I’ve seen a fair bit of hype for this on Twitter, I don’t know much about it. The summary sounds awesome and I need to read more fairytale retellings anyway. It seems diverse too but again, I don’t know too much about it; I want to go into it with as little expectations as possible.

Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan
like the last book, I don’t know much about this one apart from that it’s fantasy and apparently awesome. I’m the type of person who gets scared of hype so I’ve resisted crying over reviews. We’ll just see how it goes.

Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy
Originally, I heard negative things about this book but that was mostly from my internalised you-have-to-be-gay-or-straight-make-up-your-mind that plagued me for ages, and made me dislike myself a fair bit. However, I think I really need this in my life because it presents people realising they might have a different identity in a positive light. There should be more books like that.

The Hazel Wood by Melissa albert
I’ve heard so many things about this book, both good and bad in terms of the plot and fantasy world. I really want to see what the hype is about and I kind of want to be able to wail about it to people??

I Was Born for This by Alice Oseman
Radio Silence was the best thing I have ever read and from all the reviews I’ve read, this book is spectacular as well. It talks about fandom, identity and reality, all of which are parts of my life in some capacity. Alice Oseman seems to right in a way that relates you to the narrative so I desperatly want to get my hands on this (e)Book soon YES.

There you have it! I honestly can’t wait to read these; wish me luck! They’ve been on my TBR for so long, although said TBR is still growing.

Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them?

From Elm 🙂

Glass Cats, Books and Life’s Fire

There’s a glass cat that I recently put on my ‘ornaments’ shelf. I stood up just now, got it and set it beside me on my bed. I stood up for the first time in half an hour, after I had cried with sadness at the glorious ending to a book, strode over – grabbed the cat – and here it is now. Bare with me here but the cat kind of represents why I’m coming to a huge realisation about how I feel: it represents my love for creating things.

Now, the cat itself doesn’t symbolise why I, just now, remembered why I love the very idea of ideas springing forth from my mind. I finished a book, Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia, and felt so hollow at the fact that it was over that I cried. But then, something changed. The spark that had been growing and growing inside of me throughout the book finally exploded, roaring into life with a sudden shock. It feels like it’s swallowing me up and though it might be temporary, I jumped up with purpose and moved.

I bought this cat in Barcelona, when everything felt like it was too much and too soon and like it was burning. Now, I’m sitting here with it next to me, shaky and feeling so desperately alive that I could cry. If you can see it, the featured image is this cat.

It’s smooth, ears poking out from its head, the nose a faded point and the eyes little more than indents; its head faces forward. Almost rigid, its back only has the most inconspicuous speck of scratch; its sides curve in the slightest amount. It’s got a tail, pointing up and forward and curling. Almost like it’s on the move, its paws feel like they’re ready to run, to take the air by storm. This simple piece of glass, bought in a shop with other such pieces of glass, has lodged itself in my heart. The book made me appreciate things like this, messy and real as it seems to me, sculpted beautifully as it seems to others.

Maybe I’ll write a review on the book, the first one I’ll ever do, because I feel like this book changed my perception of things. It forced me to look at life with all its colours and collages and sounds, to burn up with a need to create and to love and to smash down the boundaries I set for myself. As soon as I had that cat beside me, I grabbed my computer and these words poured out, easier and freer than they’ve been in months, ever since I spiralled downwards. They’re disjointed and brittle but that’s how I feel now.

You may be asking, “What’s a book and a cat got to do with life? Why are you sitting alone in your room, getting emotional about glass, electronic pages and memory?” Well, it’s because it’s restored some faith in my life. It’s taken the twisted parts of myself and righted them for a little while; it’s made me want to make things.

Clutching this cat in my hand, I rushed downstairs with it, palms clammy and heart beating so hard. “Dad, take a picture of this cat!” I almost demanded. I stood there, shaking again, the reality of all of it washing over me.

Fingers sliding over glass and tears at the beautifully continuous story of a character has made me realise that I am real, full of idea and love and a need to be. I want to belong, to thrive, to meet others and laugh with them; I want to create worlds inside my own head that I perform or write about or just imagine in the quiet recesses of my mind. At the end of the day, I’m a dreamer. I wish for things which often seem unobtainable. Instead of shutting these dreams down, I want to revel in them. Eliza taught me that passion and creativity don’t have to always be constant but if you love something, whatever it is, you shouldn’t give up on it. And if you stop doing it, the world doesn’t stop either.

Freedom may only be temporary, fickle, prone to sad and happy books or to others bringing me ‘down to earth’. I don’t care. For now, I can immerse myself in creating anything and not feel guilty. For now, I can remember why I started this blog, why I love it, why I love to share whatever I can create with the world.

I weigh the cat in my hands and set it, lopsided, on my pillow. Perhaps I’m not invincible but that can’t stop me from thinking the world can’t be explored. I want to go, to be, to write, to act, to dream.

No matter if the thoughts overtake me again, a book, a cat and a fire inside me showed me that I am not my fear. I am not just a ball of screams and echoes; I’m a real person with beauty in my smiles and worlds in my words.

This post, with all its jumbled cracks and subtleties, feels freeing. God, I feel like I could belong somewhere; I feel like I do belong somewhere. If only one person reads this post and knows that at this moment I don’t feel so awful, it’ll make me happy. Maybe there will be a thousand smashed glass cats to deal with and a million unfinished books to read but I still have these ones. I’ll still have the cat and the book that set me to write this post.

From Elm 🙂

Alive with Ideas

Hii!
I have no idea where time’s gone. This week has been a blur: it was Monday, I blinked and now it’s Thursday. I’m so sorry for not posting in what feels like ages; I have no excuse!

Yesterday, something pretty amazing happened. No, I didn’t suddenly solve all my problems; no, I wasn’t swept off my feet by some dashing person (though that would be funny). No: I got really, really excited about work.

I’ve been getting pretty behind on all my subjects which caused me a hell of a lot of stress, not to mention the stress from all the work I have to catch up on from me being sick on Monday. I have to do a bucketload of history, Psychology and too much English to think of but strangely, positively, the English is the least stressful. You’d think it wouldn’t be: I missed my appointment for my coursework (that’s not even called coursework any more) because I was ill. I hadn’t done the preparation I’d needed to do but yet again, life proved me wrong. Everything turned out better than okay.

For our English “Non-Examined Assessment”, we have to compare two texts of our choice on a topic of our choosing. I chose to go down the line of female empowerment in Moll Flanders and Lady Chatterley’s Lover (I’ve only read the second one). Typically, I haven’t done much research on the subject, just the books themselves.

On Thursday, after a series of emails between me and my English teacher, I agreed to go and see her at lunch. Instead of stressing, I didn’t let myself think about it much: I didn’t see friends that day though and spent the entire time “working” or trying to. When the time actually came, my head started buzzing with thoughts of what I’d say and how’d I’d say it. It was the first time – because I’d never been taught by her before this year properly – that she’d really get to see what I was like when I was passionate. She’d get to see a side of me that nobody, not even I, have seen in weeks.

I walked into the English classroom with something like lightness. Despite not really knowing what I was talking about, I wanted to talk about it. I knew that here, to her, I could express my opinion and be happy about that. It’s rare for me to ever do that; I often hide behind the opinions of others because I’m too afraid to show my own thoughts. Here, it was flipped on its head and although I feel quite disconnected from everything right now, then I felt wholly with it, connected and involved with the words I was speaking.

Essentially, we refined my idea into the way female empowerment may be controlled by their relationships with men in the two novels. I remember almost shouting “OH MY GOSH exactly!” when she said a particular point I agreed with to do with Lady Chatterley. I got painfully excited when I started talking about social context, like I never am in class. There, I’m quiet or harsh when I have a point but then? I was confident and I smiled. It was surprising for me because I’m not used to myself being enthusiastic.

After we’d stopped talking about my coursework, we spoke about other literature. I recommended a book to her, honestly squealed about Jane Eyre – would you call it fangirling? Did I fangirl with my English teacher?! By the time we were done talking, we’d been speaking for about half an hour (when it should have taken only 15 minutes) because we kept expanding on topics in a part stream of consciousness.

I forgot what it was like to feel like I knew what I was doing. I utterly neglected the fact of my mind, that it can whir and bring forth ideas like any other. She let me see, through her exclamations of “I love that idea!” that I’m not just a cardboard cutout of an English student.

Yesterday, I think I proved something to myself. I showed myself that I do have feelings, thoughts and worlds of possibility right at my fingertips. Unlike normally, I showed my real, unfiltered personality. Maybe it was only a small part of myself; maybe it was only for a short time; maybe it was only to one person. It doesn’t matter.

Don’t be afraid to show your passions to people. You aren’t stupid, sad or weird for getting excited about things that others might not get excited about. If your heart sings when you think about a certain thing – books, TV shows, things that make you happy – you can show that to people. Don’t hide behind what you think people will think of you because at the end of the day, these are your feelings and they are beautiful.

From Elm 🙂

My Personal Statement Failings

From this September, I’ll be starting to apply for the university that I’ll attend either in 2018 or 2019.

WAIT, back up a second – I’ll be applying to university. That’s a scary enough thought in itself, without taking into account the fact that I’m terrible at making decisions about my future. I know what course I want to do but the university I want to go to? Not so much. I haven’t gone to enough open days; I haven’t done enough research and now I’m starting to panic about campuses, finance, making the “correct” decision and being happy.

The thing is, with universities you have to write a personal statement which is part of your application. It goes to the 5 unis you apply to so you don’t write individual statements for each university. Luckily, my course will be the same for each university but if you apply for different courses at different unis, you need to balance carefully what you put in and not mention specifics.

You’d think it would be easy to write one, right, especially for a subject which prioritises organisation of ideas in a coherent form? No. I’ve got the summer to write a few drafts but today, in school, we’re starting to think and write about it: we had a talk this morning about what to include and afterwards, we were in a classroom brainstorming for 3 hours. I’ve already been brainstorming in my head but when I tried to write stuff down, I realised something. I really don’t have much to write.

There are some questions on a sheet we were given and I’m going to do my best at answering them here. Not, of course, in a literary style; I have little energy to do such a thing at the moment. That “literary style” will be saved for when I actually get to writing the thing. These are just my initial “ideas”, hahaha, like I have any of them!

Why are you applying for your chosen course?
I really like the idea of combining the creativity and originality of creative writing with the innovative analysis of texts based on the times in which they are set and the interpretations which you can bring forth from them. You can also discuss your ideas with others – something I’m not so good at but that I enjoy (I won’t put that bit in my Personal Statement though). Also, I like how they compliment each other a lot in that you can transfer skills read in books, poetry and scripts into your own writing. Ooh, this is one thing I can talk about!

Why does this subject interest you?
I really love reading but that’s a generic answer. The Canterbury Tales as well as Jane Eyre got me interested in literature, along with my beautiful human being of a previous English teacher. Last Friday when I (sneakily) went into his lesson as he teaches my friend, they were looking at Chaucer and I literally squealed. I’ll be honest, my blog really got me interested in writing as a profession and something which I adored. I presume here I can talk about how much my blog inspired me to create new ideas without filling up the character count too much.

Include evidence to show that you understand what’s required to study the course.
With English degrees, you can get an average of 6 hours a week of contact with lecturers or professors. That means that you’ll have to do a lot of independent study, as well as doing a lot of wider reading which is part of it. I’m also guessing that you’ll have to research historical context; because I’m fascinated with that and the effect it has on writer’s technique, presentation of characters and the attitude towards certain groups, this will be fine. I think I’ll mention my interest in doing further reading in the statement because it actually shows I can vaguely do something… Maybe.

Why do you think you’re suitable for the course?
What I’d like to say: “Lol hi I’m A MESS I’d be shiiit; don’t accept me!”
What I will actually say and should believe: I’m able to work effectively in a group which is useful as we’ll be evaluating the work of others; I can… Um… I have a lot of enthusiasm… But everyone will put that! NO! I am able to effectively combine the disciplines of a writer and a reader – nooo, that’s too pretentious and awful! I’ll just think about that later when I feel more positively towards myself.

Do you have any particular skills and experience that will help you to succeed on the course?
Summer schools? NAAAAH oops… Same with Uni taster days oh god. However, wider reading and writing for a magazine may help, such as a school newspaper I want to set up (although it was my friend’s idea but shhh).

Do your current or previous studies relate to the course you have chosen?
Well I’d bloody hope so, seeming as I’m studying English Literature at A-Level. History will inform me of wider historical contextualisation of the themes. However, don’t they already know what subjects I do? The woman this morning told us not to write about the subjects because of character count and it’s needless information… Right then. That’s another one to go on the “think about later” pile, along with the 100000 other things.

Have you taken part in any other activities which demonstrate your interest in the course?
NO. The blog? Still nope; that’s not specific to the course itself. I wish I wasn’t so lazy and that I’d applied for summer courses early.

Personal Skills
There’s an A B C we were told about which is basically a model which lists the activities, the benefits of it and how it relates to your course. Here we go – or not!
Volunteering: punctuality which means I will be good at deadlines; organising people which means that I have good skills when working with people; encouraging others which means that I will be self-motivated for independent study as well as spreading positivity (yes, that doesn’t relate but it’s a good thing!).
Blogging: I’ve done it for 2 years which shows I have dedication, meaning that I’ll stick to an idea or a project; I’m able to share ideas with a large audience which will be helpful in group discussions when our work is being evaluated; I’ve become more open to ideas within society, meaning that I’m able to take in new interpretations and expand on my own thoughts.

And… That’s it. Oops.

At the end of this, I realise that I had more to write than I thought. On the other hand, there are still a lot more things I could do and could have done. However, there’s still time for me to do things. Speaking to a school in September will further add skills to my meagre list.

Perhaps I’m mildly angry that I don’t have much to say; I don’t have any leadership roles in the school and have little responsibility therefore. I’m what you may term average but that just means I need to find qualities and experiences within myself that make me unique. Even if you think you’re dull as hell, no one is utterly, 100% boring. Start listing skills you know you have first and don’t panic; there is still time.

Are you writing a Personal Statement at the moment or have you written one and got offers? What are your best tips? Any help would be really appreciated, especially because there will be plenty of people in the same position as me who don’t know what to write. I think this can benefit all of us.

From Elm 🙂

I Had a Wild Imagination – Writings of a Younger Elm, Number 3

Read parts 1 and 2 here.

When I was about 8, I fancied myself quite the creative person. I was in year 3 or 4 – I bloody hope I was that young or I may cry from embarrassment – and we were set a task to write a fairy-tale type story. I don’t remember what the task actually entailed but it was to explain something and we had to use our imaginations.

I came up with this excuse for writing. The real thing is upstairs in a booklet of braille paper, with print transcriptions on the back of the pages so that my teachers could read it. On the front of it is what I assume is supposed to be a Moon – a circle of paper coloured in with dots of… Some gel pen I believe. Because I adore making a fool out of myself, I’ve read it to a few people to give them an idea of how bad I was. I copied it out into a document around a year ago and just for you – because I like showing my embarrassment to the wider world – I’ve put it here for you to laugh at.

Sarcastic or horrified commentary is in bold.

Moon Man That title cracks me up because it’s so cliché

Before the moon was in the sky it was a man I don’t think I knew anything about science because that’s both impossible and just hilarious to imagine – the moon’s a lump of rock, child. Moon had two wives and two sons When is this set?? Also, was there jealousy between the two wives; what were their names and backstories? Character development – come on!. One day the two sons asked moon “Father can we go and catch some fish from the lake?” Perfectly in unison? That’s so cool! Wy are they asking Moon (inventive name) anyway? moon who is obviously too cool to have his name capitalised agreed and the two boys went off That was the shortest conversation ever and so totally gives an idea of what the characters are like!. The sons caucht That was either a severe error in my Braille or I just decided that “to cauch” was a great new verb some fish but instead of bringing the fish home they had a great feast and all that was left was bones. You selfish little bastards – children these days!

That evening the boys came home with no food. wOOOOH BEEF – I’m crying that was the worst pun “Where is the food!” cried moon man. Yeah – where is it, hmm? You gonna tell him you greedy- The two boys tried making up excuses but moon I’ve just realised how there can be no moon?? There would be no tides and also the Earth would be different – THIS IS ILLOGICAL soon knew what they had done. Moon had given the two boys a second chance. Bloody hell that was quick – show some backbone!

A few minutes later the sons were fishing peacefuly What’s NOT making me peaceful is my terrible spelling by the river. They caught more fish but again they had a briliant BRILLIANT spelling there feast of fish and bones were only left. Are you KIDDING ME? AGAIN? These little shits never learn I’m telling you; Moon gave you a second chance and what do you do? THROW IT AWAY!

I really think I need to calm down… This “story” is making me question my own plotting skills or lack thereof.

When moon man heard this he was brisling with anger Now children – Word Creation lessons with Elm! Take a word, modify it slightly and there you have it – a brand new word! Isn’t that simple?. Suddenly moon had a plan Like a typical 8-year-old, I doubt I knew what that plan was and I just chose to seem mysterious by not explaining it – it builds up suspense, okay?. The boys had gone out somewhere Soooo specific – I really am getting an idea of where they went!. Moon crept silently out of the house to find the boys. The suspense is growing… I can’t take it any more.

He found them by the river staring into space Are they robot-boys? Is everyone a robot – that’s why there’s no moon!. They were unaware of what was just about to happen. No actual shit

As quick as a flash Moon man jumped out from the shadows WOAH WOAH WOAH calm down!, like whirlwind Is that a friend of his?, grabbed the boys and crushed them into tiny bones. What the fuck. What the actual FUCK???? THEY ARE YOUR CHILDREN and they do something wrong – no, you’re not going to talk to them! You’re just going to kill them! WHAT
“Their just bones!” he growled. Wrong use of their you illiterate arse – also has he turned into a lion? But soon Moon’s two wives came out looking for their sons I wonder why “Where’s our sons?” they asked moon. Well, they’re dead. I overreacted and crushed them just because they didn’t bring back fish for me. Sorry.

When they got back to the house moon told them what he had done which was a mistake. Oh reeaaaallyyyy When moon went to bed the wives set the house on fire That’s understandable but still, a bit extreme? Did I like violence or something?. They burnt moon and were just about to run off when they heard moon’s voice saying But he’s dead? He got set on fire!: “You think I’m dead but I’m not! Wow. Just… Wow I will come back every month!” Erm why? Why every month? And so that’s how the moon is in the sky today. Because THAT makes perfect sense. Congratulations – you’ve won the award for most disjointed story!

That, kids, is the first evidence I had that I liked writing. Pity that this writing was, umm, terrible. I think at that point I genuinely wanted to be an astronaut…

From Elm 🙂

I’d be a Terrible Character in a Novel

I read a LOT of (mostly young-adult) books, of numerous genres, and so I’m familiar with the stereotypical characters you get in each. The feisty, doesn’t take shit from anyone heroine; the poised, beautiful but deadly girl who’s witty, charming but who is insecure about her abilities; the tough one who realises it’s okay to express emotions, that you don’t have to have your guard up all the time. I’m guessing you’d know a fair few people who could fit into the ‘typical’ mould of a protagonist. You could even fit yourself into that picture.

Then, there’s me.

With my, errm, unique personality traits, disposition and tendency to be paranoid, not believe anything people say to me, unflinching curiosity and the ability to get annoyed easily, I would simply be a disaster waiting to happen in a novel.

I will show you. This mainly consists of dialogue – enjoy!

Dystopian

The first meeting of the Dissenters was held in the abandoned Arena. Almost crumbled to ruin, outside the jewelled City walls yet unravaged by the Pillagers that frequented this side of the Divide, it was a perfect place to meet as not a soul would suspect this little group of going out of the Gates, or of daring to step foot in such a decrepit building. Standing, awkwardly in the centre of the room was Elm, clothed in the traditional wear of the Aschians.

“Erm, she muttered, shuffling her feet. “So, we’re all here today and I’m glad we could all make it…”

“Yeah yeah,” one of the people standing in front of her called. “Do you actually have a plan?”

“Of course I BLOODY WELL have a plan!” Elm suddenly screamed, hands clenching into fists in front of her. “You think I’d actually risk my entire life coming out here, when we might die – have you considered that? Have you thought that we’re going to fucking die one day and there’s nothing we can do about it – our Termination Date is set; you can’t escape that, and even if you could, you’d just die anyway! So NOW you ask me if I have a plan? Of course I do!”

“Elm?” murmurred another person. Please, calm down… You’re getting stressed, and that’s not good for the morale of the people-”

“Ha, you take me for some sort of leader? Yeah NO; I can’t even lead a herd of sheep and that’s why they put me on Conformity duty!” She breathed heavily, eyes narrowing.

“Sooo… You have a plan, then?”

“If I didn’t, we’d be screwed – and yes I will tell you what it is; I’m thinking; be patient! Bloody hell I wasn’t even stressed earlier – I was fine – oh Upholder, this is going to fail!”

“Just calm down! Please!”

Science Fiction

If the spaceship had been any more decadent, it would have been visible from Earth, with its apparent turrets and inner light, from a mysterious source which eminated from the heart of the monstrosity. Corridors echoed with the clamour of unfamiliar machinery, sounds of the ‘life forms’ trapped in ponds on the ceiling, and panicked exclamations from those who had vocal chords. It was a pity, then, that Elm couldn’t really see the bustle around her: only a few flashing lights, the blinding white of the floors made of an indefinable material and the what seemed to be red, fluctuating energy which spread out from a square object in front of her.
She extended her hands, cautiously, flinching back as a strange sensation caught her fingers. “What the fuck is that?” she yelped, staggering back a step.

“That would be the Preson Generator – is that what they call it?” The voice to her left startled her, so much so that she whirled, hands coming up and forward to jab at her supposed assailant. “Woah! Woah, it’s only me; you’re safe!”

“Safe?” Elm snapped. “Right, so you expect me to believe it’s you? Yeah, I can’t see you and you know I don’t care about that but it’s the PRINCIPLE of the matter! I don’t know where I am, I don’t know what these sounds are so I’m sorry if I get pissed off at you because I don’t know what’s what any more!” Breaking off, she took in a lungful of recycled air, choking a little.

“You alright?” The figure stepped forward, gripping her arm. She stiffened.

“Yeah I’m fine, just tired, you know?”

“You always say that! Either that, or you’re tired for no reason; if you say that it’s irritating I’ll kill you!”

Elm sighed. “Right anyway – what does this thing do?” She gestured vaguely behind her, coming into contact with the substence again and shrieking in pain.

“Stop! We’re in the middle of a crisis and you’re not panicking for once – that’s an achievement! But just get away from the thing; I don’t know what it is – don’t touch it!”

“Oooh it’s so cool! Look I don’t know where to go, so I’ll just stay here…”

“Elm… Oh hell, I give up.”

Contemporary Romance

The girl stood in front of Elm, wringing her hands nervously. Elm seemed just as perturbed, her hands twisting in complicated knots, her face slightly pale.

“Look, the girl whispered. “I needed to tell you… I love you, Elm.”

The only response she got was silence, followed by a slightly crazed laugh. It grew, crescendoing into a guffaw so loud that it bounced off the walls, tears of mirth sliding down her cheeks. “You… What?!”

“I-I love you. I needed to tell you before we left.” She only began to notice the vaguely unhinged look in Elm’s eyes when they were – by chance – pointed directly at her.

“You love me? Why – why would you?” Her voice was incredulous.

“Because… Because of your personality. And you’re pretty, and-”

“What specific part of my personality though? What makes you like me? It’s not like I’m anything special, and also, I’m short, and my voice sounds like a horse!”

“Your laugh is cool, and you’re helpful to others!”

“I have feelings for you too but I’m pretending I didn’t say that – and also, bullshit – I’m sorry, how can you though? It makes no sense!”

“Yeah, it does – why won’t you just relax?”

“Because I can’t – EXCUSE ME! But are you sure you like me? Love me?”

“Yes of course!” The girl was looking slightly annoyed, lips pursed, glaring at the other in front of her.

“But how do you know? What if I do something stupid? What if-”

“Aaarghh!!!”

So, there you have it. Me in a novel would be… Interesting.

How do you think you’d have reacted if you were in that situation?

From Elm 🙂

Conflicted

What is right and wrong
When it comes to you?
Gone without you for so long,
The lines begin to blur
Into one.

I should hate you,
With all my heart,
After all this time, tears falling through
The shards of glass you left, and yet
Something draws me to you,
Inexplicable.

It is wrong to forget the ways,
The words and broken promises with which
You hurt me: when you speak,
With a silken tongue and caring whisper,
Is it right for me to remember?

I am told to close myself to you,
To be careful, to always
Hold you away from me,
Resist, persist in desisting your love
Expected to not want to be
What I was, because that is
Wrong. Wrong.

They would despise me for it,
And my head wars with my feelings
Tearing, ripping apart, destroying
The careful foundations rebuilt
After your departure.

You were the flame, the original,
Untainted, flickering, morphing into
Somebody different, but even still,
My hands remember the heat.

If my body gives what my mind is unable,
Is that such a crime?
Detach the flowers, hearts, labels-
Could you ever understand,
I cannot give you what you want.
What do I want?

I am scattered;
You are broken, pieces
Running from the wind of morals shattered
But is it twisted for you, too?

To be hurt, to love, to twist my heart,
All are verbs from the same litter
Of hopeless animals: will you have them
Go hand in hand with me? Will I
Ask you to dance with these dangerous lovers?
No. Yes.

There is no right and wrong
When it comes to you,
Only the melody of past mistakes,
Not corrected, not forgotten
But put aside for one final view
Of paradise.
Now, is that wrong?

From Elm 🙂

Angsty, Insensitive 11-year-old – Writings of a Younger Elm, Number 2

Before reading this, you should read part 1 to get an idea of the origin of this idea, and true scope of my… Well, I refuse to call it story-telling. It’s just attrocious.

I’d found this story a while ago, and this was going to be the first part of this “series”, but I wanted to let you see the less insufferable side of me first. Well, I don’t really know actually; the MORE mature side.

When I was 12, I was irritating, over-dramatic, prone to thinking that I should belong in some novel, and I had a crush on someone and thought I was in love with him. When I was 11, I was worse. Yes, that’s possible: I thought that I was grown up, had just started at a new school, was clueless as to how anything worked and just… I’d recently come out of my very very weird phase, and I’m cringing so hard because my younger self was embarrassing as fuck.

Bear that in mind when you’re reading this abominable “creation”. Luckily, the only person who I sent this to was my mother; nobody else has ever read this. I hope. I believe I continued this, but then deleted it. Here is “Chapter 1”, fit with sarcastic commentary. At one point, I do scream at myself; imagine someone going into a rage and waving their hands about whilst yelling.

Chapter One: Churchhill Chaos

My teacher stares angrily down at me, with blazing eyes like pools of fire Just imagine someone with literal fire in their eyes – also that’s the most overused simile ever. The familiar classroom surrounds me, with its grinning pupils and ghastly teacher Here we go…. “Well?” She demands. “What is the answer?”

My mind tries to clear itself, but the horrible images still remain Basically there WAS a prologue but it was just tedious; long story short, she had a nightmare or something?. “Hell?” I say, clearly. What the hell did I just say? Ooohh such a good pun – OR NOT! The class erupts into rude sniggering laughter, filling me with horror and dread. Twats
“You weren’t listening to the lesson, were you?” No shit, Sherlock snaps Miss Benetis furiously, her face turning red. CALM DOWN
“No Miss! She wasn’t, she was away with the fairies!” PLEASE tell me that wasn’t what started my not-cool fairy obsession of 2012… shrieks Alice Lest Is this another Katie? Oooh!, a short girl with blonde, wispy hair, to all appearances a cute innocent little girl (but in truth she is my mortal enemy Ermmm…, who bullies me non stop). The class chortles away, but I do not pay any attention. Eyyy good! I have more serious problems to deal with. “Bethany, how dare you be so rude and disrespectful!” You were meant to put a new paragraph there – new line new speaker! Miss Benetis practically screams. “You are in YEAR SEVEN ALRIGHT calm down! now, you can not get away with it anymore.” Her voice gets softer, a sure sign she is about to explode. Is she okay? Seriously, they’re in YEAR SEVEN, give them a break! I hold my breath.

“Right!” She shakes the room with her lethal yell, her fiery figure dancing and erupting OHMYGOD it’s a demon holyshit wait why is she erupting? “I will not put up with this at all! You all stay behind, and Bethany, you stay for an extra 5 minutes!” WHAT, just because she didn’t answer a question? Bit extreme. Groans fill the room, stares of pure hatred point in my direction, and Alice nudges me hard and hisses “I’ll get you for this.” Guys she’s gonna get her revenge – I’m sorry I shouldn’t take the piss out of this but I absolutely didn’t know what it was like to be picked on and I can’t take myself seriously No one in my form likes me, except Rebecca. She is one of the nicest people I have encountered at Bale Secondary School, What is it with naming schools so badly? and is the only one who sticks up for me.
“Will you shut up Alice. Where’s the question mark? It wasn’t her fault, was it?” She asks now, looking pitifully at me. LEGEND
“Yes it was!” cries Alice and most of the class. “Of course it was! It always is.” BITCH PLEASE Tears well up in my eyes, trying in vain to come out. I try with all my might to hold them back, but Jennifer Wakefield sees. I’m just crying here because that was a very bad way to introduce a character. Snorting, she chants: “bethany the baby, always gonna cry, bethany the baby, she’s gonna die!” …… WHAT THE – that was awful and it’s like a 6-year-old – SO BAD – rhyming was terrible GET OUT – I can’t any more

Other people in the form titter at this, but I try to pay no heed. “That wasn’t very inventive. YES! I can think of some more!” cries Charlie Becksworth, Oh. Thought that was Bethany. and proceeds to taunt me with ridiculous sayings and insults. The bell rings three times, but Miss Benetis pays no attention. “Thanks to Bethany, you will all stay behind 5 minutes!” SOOOO petty She roars, doing very well at imitating a lion. Ahahahaha no
“Well well well.” cries Alice, “seems as Bethany is such a baby with no morals No – morals – what?, lets be silent in mourning for her birth!” You are so shit at insults
WILL YOU SHUT UP!” yells Rebecca, looking as if she wants to strike Alice down. They’re 11
“Oh, you’re one to talk, aren’t you? Always sticking up for that pipsqueak over there–how old are you again Bethany? Oh yeah, I forgot you’re too dumb to understand what that means!” shrieks Charlie, snorting and giggling. They’re getting worse – also who snorts and giggles at the same time? “Ha! Now she’s gonna cry!”

Miss Benetis pays no attention, staring at us with anger and hatred. THEY ARE 11! Why? Why is it always me? “BABY BALD Bethany!” This last remark bites into me, so sharp my skin prickles and fizzes Is it on fire or something?. Just because I have a hair problem doesn’t mean I’m bald!

RIGHT! This needs an entire paragraph to explain; sorry about the font but I don’t know what it looks like so I’m just gonna use it. When I was 11, my sister told me about a condition where a person has a compulsion to pull out their hair: it’s called Trichotillomania, and you can read more about it here. At the time, I neither knew what it was called nor bothered to search it up (afterwards of course I did) and I tried to include it because… I don’t know. It was badly done and I’m just angry that my younger self didn’t do ANY research.

“Pa!!!!!!!” Too many exclamation marks – these people just need to chill cries Charlie. Oh no, I must have been thinking aloud again. “She’s mad, and weird, and stupid! She shouldn’t even be in this good school at all!” Errrmm WHAT you little shit! That’s it.

I jump up, figuring that the 10 minutes has gone, be it quickly. “Go away Bethany, and don’t come back in here.” says the tyrant teacher calmly, pointing to the door. I hurry out, with shouts and jeers following me. FINALLY she leaves!

Outside I find a strange boy staring at me. Okay? You just walk out of the classroom and he’s staring at you? Logical. “You’re the girl that’s getting bullied, aren’t you?” He asks. WHAT the actual HELL? You don’t just ask that question! What was that? So unsubtle and you can’t just – you insensitive-
“Yes, but why?” I reply, bemused at how he knows. If you’re actually being bullied, it’s very rare that you would so readily admit it to someone you don’t know, even if you need someone to talk to.

“Well I just–` Our conversation is interrupted by Charlie coming out of the classroom. Convenient, huh? Also, I’ve lost track of who’s who; this character development is laughably bad.
“Ha! You don’t have to know. Come on Henry, she’s weird and you don’t need to know her.” Okay – if he’s friends with this Charlie person, then surely Bethany would get suspicious, but I doubt she would – if I continued this, I hope I made that a source of conflict but probably not. He hurries Henry away, leaving me thinking how nice he might be. I hear a sob, and I turn round to see Rebecca hurtling towards me. She flings her arms round me, saying again and again how sorry she is. I comfort her and tell her she need not worry. I like Rebecca. She has substance?

The rest of the day is a hazy blur, with people taunting me endlessly, and I don’t see Henry. Of course I tell Rebecca about him, and she is now trying to find him while I sit on a bench That’s so awkward, people skittering around me like flies. Flies don’t skitter. They fly. Clue’s in the name Someone taps me on the shoulder: I wonder who THAT is! “Uh… I’m Henry, the person who saw you outside your form room.” I’m so so clever; I guessed it! I guessed IT! I turn round, and there he is. Just at that split second, Rebecca comes running up, smiles at Henry and sits down. Convenient
Hi,” I say. “your right Arghhh wrong use of “you’re”, STOP!, people are picking on me. Bullying, in fact.”
“I thought so,” says Henry, coming round to sit down on the bench. That’s actually kind of insulting and even more insensitive… But fine, whatever floats your boat “I no CRYING CRYING that grammar that Charlie, he’s a liar and he’s been saying ghastly and untrue things about you.” Who says “ghastly” in year 7?

Again we are rudely pushed aside by Charlie Bugger off, who goes storming up to us, pushing me and Rebecca and making us shriek. He grabs Henry, hissing at me What a snake – get it?! I’m becoming hysterical “don’t talk to him again. You hear me?” I nod feebly, for there is nothing I can do. Kick him where the sun don’t shine. Do it! And then go and make friends with Henry, who will actually treat your issues with respect, and go through a great transformation and do all that growing up and stuff that happens in “books” AND JUST ACQUIRE A CHARACTER!

Ehem… I think I need to go and calm down, whilst howling in mortification.

If anyone read this, they’d think I was a miserable child, but I wasn’t: I just didn’t understand how to write reasonably about other people’s problems, though I thought I did.

Hope you, um, enjoyed this?

From Elm 🙂

Eventbrite – My Ideal Author Panel!

A few weeks ago, I was inspired by Eventbrite – an organisation where you can find out about events taking place near you, and you can plan your own events as well – to create a post on what my dream author panel would be! Being a bookworm, and someone who gets excited at even the thought of meeting authors, I jumped at this opportunity.

I’ve never been to a book conference, but I very much want to in the next year; it’s one of my (secret but now not-so-secret) goals for the year ahead. Loving so many genres, I think that I’d be interested in many potential panels, which makes creating my perfect one quite challenging. I’ll give it my best shot, though, and remember that if you feel inspired by this post then go on over to Eventbrite and have a look at some of the great conferences you can attend! Or, better yet, you can create a post of your own and share your ideas, or plan an event with their event planning software.

Where would it take place?

Ideally, it would occur in or around London, as I could get there easily. None of the authors I’m thinking of live in the UK I don’t think, but logistics could be sorted out as to availibility. A lovely place would be a library in London, not least because they’re beautiful places and I love the atmosphere of a library.

Who would be involved in the panel?

Even though I want to involve all of my favourite authors, I’d choose Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff – who co-author The Illuminae Files (Illuminae, Gemina and the third book which I’m eagerly anticipating), which is a series set in space, and written in emails, chat conversations and ship logs. In addition to that, there would be Rick Yancey, author of The 5th Wave: a science-fiction series about aliens that fascinated me, confused me and destroyed my mind. Lastly, I would have on the panel Josephine Angelini who wrote the Worldwalker Trilogy, a series of books where the main character is taken to another alternate world where her alternate version is an evil dictator: it involves twisted morals, enthralling witchcraft, and a character who goes through some amazing development. Each of their books made me think, made me cry multiple times, and have made it into my favourite series’ of all time. It would be moderated by Marissa Meyer, author of the Lunar Chronicles series.

What would the panel be about?

All four of these authors have one thing in common, asides from being able to write a compelling storyline: they all write science-fiction, or have a series based off of it. That includes new technology, and especially new concepts; that is what the panel would focus on. To put it simply, it would be wonderful if they talked about how to write a successful SciFi series, with an emphasis on the identities of their characters. I say this, because all of these authors have done something very unique with their books, and that would be reflected in the subject of the panel.

What questions would be asked?

• What’s the most important element when writing a Science fiction novel?
• How do you keep readers interested in your series?
• How do you view the idea of identity in terms of your characters?
• Do you feel personally connected to your characters and if so, does that reflect how you write them?
• How does the world and environment you’ve created influence your characters as people?

The thought of this is now making me so excited, though I know it’d never happen. Oh well: I can dream; I adore all of these authors and their respective books, and would love to see them in a room together.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading. Who are your favourite authors, and what would your favourite bookish panel be about?

From Elm 🙂