Side Character in My Own Story

I am the comma
In a sentence, the afterthought
To a word, trailing off in the middle and
Never the important sort
Of ellipses.

I’m the backing vocals
At the height of a crescendo, hope
In quiet harmony, unheard,
Falling down a slope
To lie, a discarded melody.

I am the old love interest,
Story-tired, something better ready to leap
Over my head, the readers
Never thinking how much it hurts to keep
Smiling, hiding, smiling…

I never finish the glorious tale of two
Who are happy without the underdeveloped character
With too many tears, whose chapter
Ends with a question mark.

I am the sorrow and muted horror
When love gives way to nothing-
The writer spirals somewhere different,
Pain too lonely, too boring,
But where’s that story arc for that?

The words write me,
Heartbreak created from an apostrophe-
I, a possession, owned by failure,
Vanishing into a sidestory
Of the story’s saviour.

From Elm 🙂

Blank Slate

She had shining, chestnut hair and the girl with duller locks watched her from afar, as if she was some kind of painting. When she laughed, her whole face lit up; her eyes blazed, mouth stretching into the widest smile you’d see.

Her walk was precise, feet tapping the floor of the corridors: she carried herself with ease, interacting with the people around her with a certain finnesse that the other girl could never replicate. Her laugh was never forced, always ringing out above the rest – her long limbs and delicacy dominated every room she entered.

Her marks in tests were sparkling, perfect – she seemed to have everything under control. It was because of that that the other girl watched her with a certain admiration, only increasing with time. She was everything that the other wasn’t, or so it looked.

On a sunny day in mid April, the other girl noticed the change. It was a gradual process at first: her walk became slower; her laugh became a little less vibrant. Going from gold to bronze, she kept up the facade of happiness, strolling down the same corridors and greeting the same people. When green eyes met brown across the lawn, only by chance, the latter was utterly devoid of emotion. They weren’t filled with the usual laughter and the other girl frowned, a fleeting look of worry crossing her face. The brown-eyed girl turned away, almost seeming to be disgusted.

Breathing deeply, she walked after the girl whose face she could never figure out. She was only a formless blur in the hallways to her but perhaps one voice would be enough to do something, anything. Before she could ask herself why she cared, she shouted – “Hey!” running to catch up with her, tapping her gently on the arm.

The girl whirled around, flinching violently, eyes widening in astonishment and panic. A breathy laugh escaped before her mouth flattened, visibly, as a struggle took place. Her features smoothed into the polite, distant mask which you see on strangers – so different from the alive expression she once wore; so alien from the agitated gleam which the girl with green eyes had seen.

“Um, yes? Is everything okay? Indifference laced her tone, tinged with a small slice of impatience.

“I, ahh…” Stumbling over her words, the girl glanced from left to right – barely able to focus on the face of the girl in front of her. “Look, I know you don’t know me and it’s probably rude of me to ask this, but – are you okay? I couldn’t help noticing you’ve looked really, um, not yourself the last couple of days…”

The girl stared at her, starting in surprise. “Me? Yes, I’m fine. Why do you ask? You don’t know who I am. You don’t know how I usually act!” Her tone acquired a hint of sudden defensiveness as she stepped forward slightly, intently gazing at the other girl.

“I know but I just wanted to check… I haven’t told anyone; I just saw you and you weren’t smiling and you looked so sad and-”

“You’re telling me I always have to smile? I always have to look happy? I’m not allowed to feel like shit – is that it?”

“No, no!” She was flustered, face flushing; blinking a few times, she focused back on her face. “All I was asking is if you’re alright. You might need someone to talk to… It can help.”

Upon the girl straightening up to her full height, it was evident that she’d been slouching for such a long time that it had become her normal posture. She stepped forward still, air rushing into her lungs with an audible swish. “Someone to listen to me! You know what – I do need someone to listen to me but it isn’t you. What-” Her lips twisted in slight scorn – “I don’t know you, at all, and the only time you noticed is when I showed it. Funny how the people who are supposed to know when you’re feeling awful don’t see shit and those that don’t know you at all are the only ones that notice!”

Taken aback, the other girl shuddered a little. “I only want to help,” she mumbled, glancing fleetingly into the eyes of the taller girl. “Do you want help?”

“Yes, I-” She broke off, blinking. “I’ve needed help for so long but everyone thinks everything is fine. They think that my head’s all put together but I don’t know what to think; I want to scream and inside my mind I’m shouting!” At this, her hands came together in a sharp clap, making the girl in front of her jump. “I’m so fucking twisted and sick with myself that I don’t know how to feel alright anymore and nobody bothers to ask why because they think I have everything under control.

“People don’t like to see me cry because if I cry – if the so-called perfect, high-achieving girl cries – then they think the world’s over. I don’t want people to take this too seriously – I’m fine most of the time – but I can’t stop this now.”

Nodding, the other girl bit her lip softly. “I’m sorry – people have expectations of you. They – I don’t know – they want you to be someone you’re not.”

For a split second the girl of flawed perfection appeared terrified, the soft angles of her face morphing into hard and unforgiving lines. Her mouth opened, white teeth blinking in the light, as if in a gasp that only she could hear. She swayed, breathing in, out, in, until her breaths mingled with that of the wind and the other girl’s. Her shaking subsided, giving way to a terrible stillness.

“I don’t know who I am,” she whispered, her murmur seeming somehow flat. “I don’t know where I’m going because there’s no one here to help me. I’m trapped and alone and nobody sees except you but to you, I’m just someone you saw randomly and decided to help for God knows what reason. I’m scared – I’m so scared-”

Green stared into her eyes and shivered at the look within them. The raw emotions, the fear and wildness, withdrew behind shutters that she could almost see close. Even the air around her seemed to be stagnant as it waited, every emotion bleeding from her, only leaving the surface behind.

“It’s the only thing I can do,” her eyes seemed to say. “Who am I?” The mask dropped into place and the board was wiped clean: she was blank again. What could the other girl do to bring her back, really?

After she had walked abruptly away, the shorter girl stayed there – standing – for a few minutes. Replaying the encounter in her mind, she realised that the girl was utterly shattered, the only thing she do being to smash down her feelings. Would anyone notice, when the exterior was so whole? Did anybody care enough to look?

* * *

Sometimes, the people who seem the most put together are the most broken. Sometimes, people aren’t what they seem and you never really know a person until you see them at their most vulnerable.

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 🙂

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 🙂

All of You Wrote This

Hi guys!

So, this is a week’s worth of YOUR writing – the complete Exquisite Corpse piece. I’m so proud and happy that everyone took part, because it means so much. And you know what – it actually works, all together, and flows!

I’ve changed a few words here and there that were in different tenses, and so it might not be as clear who wrote it.

Thank you so much to everyone who took part, and especially to Rina. You’re fantastic, and every single one of you has creativity inside them. Don’t doubt yourself just because you think you can’t do something, because we know you can.

And, here it is! Enjoy.

A girl stared out to sea, the breeze combing through her auburn hair. Tentatively she removed a pale hand from the railing and brushed away the single tear that was coursing down her cheek. She breathed in the fresh, salty sea air in attempt to calm herself, and her racing thoughts. She thought, and wondered whether a chocolate milkshake might cheer her up, but then she started to dwell on the past.

But instead of calming down she felt like she was drowning –
drowning in the sorrows that she stared into the souls of. Thinking of her past, her now dead mother. Her eyes started to sting, shimmering in the light that swept across the sky.

The sun cast a golden glow across the horizon, it’s light tinting the clouds pink, purple, magenta. Tears fell freely down her face as she recalled what happened a few hours earlier. And even though she didn’t want to admit it, she knew it was her fault. As if on repeat, the yells and screams battered her mind, causing her hands to clench into white-knuckled fists.

She was snapped out of her absentminded rage to realise that she had clenched her fists so tightly that she had drawn blood, yet she was too numb to care. She had no control of her fists any more, her legs giving out under her. If she could take the pain away, she would; if she could take time away, she would. Thinking of all the events that had occurred, anger and disappointment was what she felt deep down; her suffocating sadness slowly started to engulf her. Tears ran down her face as she thought about what she’d just done.

She turned her back on the rippling waters. To gaze on their beauty seemed wrong today. She remembered how angry he was, how sad he was. They made a pact, “Promise to put each other out of our own miseries,” and that’s exactly what she did to him. She kept her promise.

Looking the other way, she couldn’t see the danger approaching behind her back.

“You killed him – you killed them all!” The scream cut her like a knife, echoed by the roaring surf and offset by the blazing sun. She flinched at the vigorous tone, then began seething as she finally understood. Her demonic twin sister was the true culprit. Although, in all honesty, she wished it was her. The sick twisted being didn’t deserve to see his last moments.

She felt this pain in her chest like someone was ripping her broken heart out of it. Frantically she ran towards the figure, screaming, “No! It wasn’t me, I promise!” The tears began to fall thick and fast down her cheeks as she pleaded, “…Please…believe me…” But the form paid no mind to her cries, calmly grabbing her body as a sedative was pressed to her neck. Her screams drowned out and all that was left was a spiralling darkness.

Blackness receded from the edges of her vision, creeping away from her. Shivering, with her head pounding, she stared around as the air hummed, stones digging into her back. She wasn’t shivering because she was cold, though; she was shivering because of the fear that was rushing through her veins – the fear that He might come back, the fear that He would get revenge. Thinking about what happened filled her with emotions she didn’t know she possessed. As she closed her eyes, it all came back in flashes. It was painful to relive it, but she kept her eyes shut.

He was yelling, again; He was hitting, again – right in the front of her mind.
It was as if the movie of her past was unfolding, in front of her, helpless to respond. Never had she felt so much pain as she had to face the worst moment in her life knowing how it was going to end. – She was scared, and many “what if’s” came to her mind. What if no one found her? What if no one ever found out what happened to her? What if he did the same thing to someone else? She couldn’t let that happen; she wouldn’t let anyone else experience this, she had to do something, but what could she possibly do?

Through the agonising lashes, the silver lining came in the form of her loathsome twin sister. She had abhorred her sister for so long that she hadn’t tried their mind link in years and wondered if it still worked. She clutched her fists into tight curls of hope, as if whispering to the ghosts of her former past to help her, but it was no use. All that surrounded her were clouds of darkness, of her fears, of the past, and of the future she’d no longer have. Something had possessed her to do this but what she felt on the outside was nothing like what she felt on the inside for all the inside ever was, was hurt, pain and regret, so much regret. Her voice became hoarse and her mind was again swamped with dreary thoughts and memories.

Eerily, his last words to her echoed around her head, like a tornado: “I’ll see you tomorrow,” “tomorrow,” it repeated. Except she never saw him. Not tomorrow, not the next and not the next. He had vanished as painfully as he had appeared- through the cloud of ash on that fateful day.

Instead, she took to gazing at her reflection in the nearby creek to pass the time. She almost couldn’t recognise the face staring back at her in the water- a face full of pain, of memories that would never be forgotten. Where was the person she was before? Or. Was that who she really was? Just a naïve girl who used to convince herself that she was somehow a good person? Maybe she was just discovering her true self, at the very moment. She thought maybe she was the real evil twin. There were two of her on one body. Her evil twin sister never existed. She made it up in her head to deal with her dark side, her very dark side.

She looked down at her hands. They were covered in blood. The blood reminded her of what she had done. She lost all the control and fell on her knees. Crying, shaking, feeling the pain, she stayed on the ground.

Lightning struck somewhere nearby. She could see the bright light. She could feel it, tingling around her skin. She looked down at her body, her hands still drenched in fresh blood, and saw that the lightning bolt came directly at her. She was illuminated, electrified, yet she did not feel any pain.

No. She felt good. She felt intoxicated as she felt herself being torn apart. Moments later, she was staring at a replica of herself; it was her twin sister.

‘I should’ve done this long ago.’ They both spoke the same sentence, at the same moment. They were both identical. A fight between the two would usually be pointless, because for all intents and purposes, they were equal.

But not this time. This time, one of them had just been lightning struck. The energy of the strike coursed through her body, filling her veins with a raw power so different from the quiet suffering and resignation that had flowed there before. She felt herself burning from the inside, consumed by a force tot great for her comprehension. She lunged towards her sister, face contorted with fury and pain, though strangely she didn’t remember deciding to move. A guttural cry was wrenched from her throat, but it didn’t sound like her voice.

In tandem, two hands rose, fingers splaying as thunderous power was released. It crackled along her skin, rushing at her sister in a burst. Fire roared, making her body quake, the twins crying out in identical shrieks of agony, mixed with exultation. With eyes streaming, her power surged, fueled by years of hate and pain to overcome the sinuous tendrils of her sister. Screams, blurred in her memory, a flash, and an explosion that rocked the world. Finally, after aeons of pain, the echoes of a sorrowful existence resounded in her mind, until all that was left was the afterimage of a tranquil seaside, a solitary tear sliding down her face.

The Participants (go and check out their blogs!)

Letters To Emma
Just A Blank Space
Infinit Magic
Aspiring Blue Cat
The Orang-utan Librarian
Liss and Dani
Just Average Teen Me
My Teenage Madness

Thank you, everyone! You’re amazing.

From Elm 🙂

I have An Idea!

What am I doing?!

Okay. So I’ve been thinking about this for a while – by a while, I mean about a day. Alright, I’ve been THINKING about it for longer, but I’ve only been seriously thinking about this for a day.

I should REALLY get onto explaining the idea, shouldn’t I?

It all started whirring in my head last night, when this blogger friend of mine were talking about writing.

Then, today, the idea blew up into massive proportions when I found this blogger‘s work.

On here, I’ve written one poem – you can read it here – yeah, self-promotion right there!

Can you see where I’m going from here?

I’ll straight out say it: I want to create a blog for my writing.

I have some questions, though: would you be interested in reading? Is this a good idea?

I have a Wattpad account, but I never use it. The community there scares me a little because of the sheer size of it, and it’s also because I don’t think I could keep up with two communities. That’s the truth.

I’d post short stories on there more than poetry, and hopefully, once I get ideas, I could post chaptered novels.

I’ve created this sort of fantasy world in my head, and I could write about that. I could write about so many things; the only question is, should I?

So: should I do this? I’d love your input!

Thanks, everyone!

From Elm 🙂