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Ellen W

United Kingdom

"The true alchemists do not change lead into gold; they change the world into words"

Message from Writer

Hi, I'm Ellen - aspiring writer and tea drinker. I love reading, theatre and music and when I am not talking I am generally singing. I write mostly poetry and short stories but am always eager to try new styles and genres. Any feedback is really appreciated!

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Ellen W (United Kingdom) published:

Postcard love songs

FREE WRITING

She met him in the Summer, among the cocktails and the noise and the crowds and the sunlight. He caught her as she tumbled from bar to dazzling bar, and she had the uneasy sense of being swept off her feet. His laughter was a sweet scent, his smile ice-cream on her tongue. She traced his ebony heart and thought, just for a second, with the foolishness of a romantic movie, that she could grasp it between her fingertips and...

Seeking Peer Reviews

3 days ago

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Ellen W (United Kingdom) published:

Madness, Smoke and Magic

PROMPT: My December Competition

November is cold. Miserable. We long for December to arrive, with its promise of crystal snow and twinkling lights. We want the roaring fires, the bold children winking in red and green, framed on stiff clean card. We want the clear white snowfalls, dotted with red berries and laughing faces. The quiet family evenings by the tree. The white Christmas. In November we trudge through the brown slush on the streets, running the short distance from home to the bus and...

Seeking Peer Reviews

about 1 month ago

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Ellen W (United Kingdom) published:

She feels the world

FREE WRITING

She feels the whole world. Her fingertips
Gnaw and clutch at every scattering heart,
Her tongue clicking out a rhythm for them
To find their beat again. Each wandering soul

Is a self-placed responsibility, a student
She knows she must care for; each tempest
Is a challenge, each storm-strung mind an  extension
Of her own. She is fire, wise as the waves and

Heavy with bitter knowledge. 7.4 billion
Is a lot of lives to feel, you know?
And sometimes...

Seeking Peer Reviews

about 2 months ago

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Ellen W (United Kingdom) liked ignition 30/11 by ALangford (United Kingdom)

about 2 months ago

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Ellen W (United Kingdom) published:

Piggy Bank

FREE WRITING

As a child, she would put all her money in a small piggy bank. It sat in the corner of her room and every night, she would empty her pockets – the soiled pennies from the street, the sparkling coins her mother pressed into her hand for helping around the house, the odd coppers that her eccentric neighbour would spin her way as she skipped past – directly into it, and watch the contents fall with stability and promise into...

Seeking Peer Reviews

about 2 months ago

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Ellen W (United Kingdom) published:

Unresponsive

PROMPT: Novel Writing Competition

The scent of disinfectant and lightly-masked sweat was overwhelming. The air ached with the weight of unspoken thoughts and fear of what lay beyond the door. Myla tired of pacing the floor and moved to the open door, not quite daring to place herself once again amidst the sea of unmoving, frightened faces behind her.

Despite forecasts of sun earlier in the week, the weather had taken a turn for the worse and a thick blanket of fog was leaking...

Seeking Peer Reviews

2 months ago

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Ellen W (United Kingdom) published:

Unresponsive

PROMPT: Novel Writing Competition

The scent of disinfectant and lightly-masked sweat was overwhelming. The air ached with the weight of unspoken thoughts and fear of what lay beyond the door. Myla tired of pacing the floor and moved to the open door, not quite daring to place herself once again amidst the sea of unmoving, frightened faces behind her.

Despite forecasts of sun earlier in the week, the weather had taken a turn for the worse and a thick blanket of fog was leaking...

Seeking Peer Reviews

2 months ago

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Ellen W (United Kingdom) published:

Masterpieces

FREE WRITING

We were clay, in those early years. You took great care over
Your work, sculpting our minds, our voices. Singing the Seal Lullaby as we closed our eyes and English folk songs to
Rouse our little hearts as we trudged up hills blooming with spring. Drawing worry from every
Slow development and moment of mischief. Dear ones, you moulded

Until the wind whipped us from our beds and
Dragged us, wide-eyed and gasping, into the cold embrace
Of the world....

Seeking Peer Reviews

3 months ago

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Ellen W (United Kingdom) published:

Recovery

PROMPT: Interview Competition 2017

 When were you first diagnosed with anorexia?
I think my mum suspected it in Year 5, but I was officially diagnosed with it at the beginning of Year 6 by my psychiatrist, Audrey. She gives a visible shudder and I lean in, intrigued.

What did you think of Audrey?
I would say that, in all my life, she is the only person I have ever hated. In my state of denial she seemed almost like a fairy tale villain...

Seeking Peer Reviews

3 months ago

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Ellen W (United Kingdom) reviewed:

An Interview with a High School Teacher

PROMPT: Interview Competition 2017

Well done! I love the message that you give at the end about realism and not needing to always have a plan. Please keep writing - good luck and I can't wait to see where this piece goes!

3 months ago

Published Work

Postcard love songs

She met him in the Summer, among the cocktails and the noise and the crowds and the sunlight. He caught her as she tumbled from bar to dazzling bar, and she had the uneasy sense of being swept off her feet. His laughter was a sweet scent, his smile ice-cream on her tongue. She traced his ebony heart and thought, just for a second, with the foolishness of a romantic movie, that she could grasp it between her fingertips and tuck it away with her own. It was a rushed love of late nights and long beaches and headaches, and they danced it away in a flurry of sand and sunsets. And then he left her there, sun-kissed and alone, in the fading light.

Autumn came, tossing its colours across the shifting canvas of the sky. It painted the earth in its molten colours and she found another, somewhere on the edge of the world. This one was lonely, a...

My December Competition

Madness, Smoke and Magic

November is cold. Miserable. We long for December to arrive, with its promise of crystal snow and twinkling lights. We want the roaring fires, the bold children winking in red and green, framed on stiff clean card. We want the clear white snowfalls, dotted with red berries and laughing faces. The quiet family evenings by the tree. The white Christmas. In November we trudge through the brown slush on the streets, running the short distance from home to the bus and back again. We blow on our fingers until they turn from blue to scarlet and the familiar warmth floods our veins, because we were stubborn and said we didn't need our gloves. We assess the various Christmas adverts based purely on how they compare to the one we fell in love with four years ago. The workload and panic build up as we realise we haven't achieved quite as much as we were going to this year. Sunlight is fleeting, ice drapes itself in...

She feels the world

She feels the whole world. Her fingertips
Gnaw and clutch at every scattering heart,
Her tongue clicking out a rhythm for them
To find their beat again. Each wandering soul

Is a self-placed responsibility, a student
She knows she must care for; each tempest
Is a challenge, each storm-strung mind an  extension
Of her own. She is fire, wise as the waves and

Heavy with bitter knowledge. 7.4 billion
Is a lot of lives to feel, you know?
And sometimes she
Crumbles, see: she is running out of stories to tell
That won't pluck jewels from her eyes.

She is ever-reaching, ever-helpless, ever too busy feeling the
Pain she wants to stop around her to face herself.
She can't watch the news, can't walk past graveyards:
She will reach, once again, for solutions already far behind her.



And when her hands are too small, her reach too
Distant, or else her grasp too loose, it is only then that she,...

Piggy Bank

As a child, she would put all her money in a small piggy bank. It sat in the corner of her room and every night, she would empty her pockets – the soiled pennies from the street, the sparkling coins her mother pressed into her hand for helping around the house, the odd coppers that her eccentric neighbour would spin her way as she skipped past – directly into it, and watch the contents fall with stability and promise into the motley collection of pennies and pounds, cents and dollars from odd holidays, feeling that familiar feeling of pride as the clink of metal on metal told her that she was doing something for herself.

What on earth are you saving for? They would gaze incredulously and question her, eyes narrowed in the way in which only an adult condescends a child.

But she would just smile.

Wait and see. I’m not sure yet. Maybe I’ll go to the stars....

Novel Writing Competition

Unresponsive

The scent of disinfectant and lightly-masked sweat was overwhelming. The air ached with the weight of unspoken thoughts and fear of what lay beyond the door. Myla tired of pacing the floor and moved to the open door, not quite daring to place herself once again amidst the sea of unmoving, frightened faces behind her.

Despite forecasts of sun earlier in the week, the weather had taken a turn for the worse and a thick blanket of fog was leaking its way slowly across the landscape, ushering in the rain that now began to tumble onto her face. It was a relief to step out of the steamy waiting room, which was starting to feel only more crowded as the hours bled into the night. The smoky yard, devoid of life apart from a mother uttering reassurances to her sobbing toddler and a row of solemn, faded yellow ambulances, filled her with a strange comfort that she couldn’t quite place....

Novel Writing Competition

Unresponsive

The scent of disinfectant and lightly-masked sweat was overwhelming. The air ached with the weight of unspoken thoughts and fear of what lay beyond the door. Myla tired of pacing the floor and moved to the open door, not quite daring to place herself once again amidst the sea of unmoving, frightened faces behind her.

Despite forecasts of sun earlier in the week, the weather had taken a turn for the worse and a thick blanket of fog was leaking its way slowly across the landscape, ushering in the rain that now began to tumble onto her face. It was a relief to step out of the steamy waiting room, which was starting to feel only more crowded as the hours bled into the night. The smoky yard, devoid of life apart from a mother uttering reassurances to her sobbing toddler and a row of solemn, faded yellow ambulances, filled her with a strange comfort that she couldn’t quite place....

Masterpieces

We were clay, in those early years. You took great care over
Your work, sculpting our minds, our voices. Singing the Seal Lullaby as we closed our eyes and English folk songs to
Rouse our little hearts as we trudged up hills blooming with spring. Drawing worry from every
Slow development and moment of mischief. Dear ones, you moulded

Until the wind whipped us from our beds and
Dragged us, wide-eyed and gasping, into the cold embrace
Of the world. You weren't ready, not really, for your
Masterpieces to be exhibited, but you were

Proud nonetheless. We were crystal then:
Chubby-cheeked and giggly enough to make strangers
Stop and smile on distant streets. Every gold star, every funny antic
Swelled your hearts with cautious joy as you

Displayed your treasures. But then we were
Porcelain, glittering dangerously as we tossed our
Bodies around, oblivious to your winces and cries. The world
Was a battlefield to you then, a storm-strung ocean...

Interview Competition 2017

Recovery

 When were you first diagnosed with anorexia?
I think my mum suspected it in Year 5, but I was officially diagnosed with it at the beginning of Year 6 by my psychiatrist, Audrey. She gives a visible shudder and I lean in, intrigued.

What did you think of Audrey?
I would say that, in all my life, she is the only person I have ever hated. In my state of denial she seemed almost like a fairy tale villain to me – I hadn’t quite admitted to myself yet what I was going to me and she felt like a dictator, forcing me to change integral parts of myself for no reason at all.  She pauses, considering the perfect way to put it. One of the ways in which people describe anorexia is like a little voice inside you which takes over and squashes you down. She is almost like a toxic ‘best friend’. To me, my first...

Retrospect

He has the kind of smile that makes you want to relive your life. Not to hide it, or change it, or somehow unblemish it to make it worthy of his gaze, but simply... simply to live out your memories in the knowledge that such eminent joy is possible on a human face. You want to go through it all again - the late nights, the cruel remarks, the endless, fruitless heartbreaks - just to do it all knowing that somehow, somewhere, in the distant expanses of your future, that grin waited to radiate a glowing warmth into your lonely chest. Because you couldn't imagine thinking of anything but that smile, that laugh, those glittering grey eyes, ever again. A childhood without them would be a childhood wasted - a childhood void of colour and drained of noise. But you can't go back into those empty days. You know that, really. So you sit, in trance-like awe, and drink in...

Talking to “You”

The smallest things

You are stumbling down the beach in your shorts, your sand-coated socks, those silly patterned tights your Dad bought you. You appear to have misplaced your shoes somewhere and I am afraid to ask. Your unruly mop of jet-black hair, almost silhouetted against the soft afternoon light, tumbles around your pink cheeks. A pool of molten gold seeps into your unexpecting hand and you giggle, grasping at it with confusion and glee.

Swaggering and flaunting with a fierce modesty, you fill your cracked blue bucket with water then drag it up the shifting sand towards me, wobbling as you leap from dune to dune. I reach out, laughing, loving, scarcely believing - I have to hold you to be sure that I'm not in some kind of beautiful dream. Our fingers meet and you swing yourself up the delicate arch of my back, clambering the short distance to my shoulders where you sit in splendour, the King of your own...

Symphony

It started as the pluck of a violin string. It was quiet, almost imperceptible, and she dismissed it in a moment. Then she felt another, the vibrance of the note ringing briefly in her chest. Then they came all at once, a flurry of string players soaring through their short-lived harmonies. As she traced his familiar laugh once again with her fingertips, the bass joined in, a steady thumping on her heart which tossed her back and forth in his dazzling gaze. The clarinets began a soft, sweet melody which flooded from her head down her arms and to the tip of her toes, setting her skin tingling eternally at his touch. The rest of the players raised their instruments eagerly and an elegant cacophony took her over like never before, at once thrilling and terrifying. She was young and rushed, and started to think it was all too perfect.

Then suddenly - silence. The bows poised, the conductor leaning...

Flash Fiction Competition 2017

Fútbol

Percy! Alfredo! We'd grasped a few of their names which we screamed, booting the ball across the open field. Utter strangers, lives poles apart, we played together for hours. It didn’t matter who we were. Why we were there. That in the morning we'd move on and leave them, like everyone else. In mere lifetimes these things would matter again but not tonight, on this makeshift pitch in this aching sunset. Enjoyment drew our minds closer than ever as awkwardness crumbled at our feet. So we played on, language barrier dissolved by laughter, as twilight bled gently into darkness.

Symphony

It started as the pluck of a violin string. It was quiet, almost imperceptible, and she dismissed it in a moment. Then she felt another, the vibrance of the note ringing briefly in her chest. Then they came all at once, a flurry of string players soaring through their short-lived harmonies. As she traced his familiar laugh once again with her fingertips, the bass joined in, a steady thumping on her heart which tossed her back and forth in his enchanting gaze. The clarinets began a soft, sweet melody which flooded from her head down her arms and to the tip of her toes, setting her skin tingling eternally at his touch. The rest of the players raised their instruments eagerly and an elegant cacophony took her over like never before, at once thrilling and terrifying. She was young and rushed, and started to think it was all too perfect.

Then suddenly - silence. The bows poised, the conductor leaning...

Talking to “You”

The smallest things

You are stumbling down the beach in your shorts, your sand-coated socks, those silly patterned tights your Dad bought you. You appear to have misplaced your shoes somewhere and I am afraid to ask. Your unruly mop of jet-black hair, almost silhouetted against the soft afternoon light, tumbles around your pink cheeks. A pool of molten gold seeps into your unexpecting hand and you giggle, grasping at it with confusion and glee.

Swaggering and flaunting with a fierce modesty, you fill your cracked blue bucket with water then drag it up the shifting sand towards me, wobbling as you leap from dune to dune. I reach out, laughing, loving, scarcely believing - I have to hold you to be sure that I'm not in some kind of beautiful dream. Our fingers meet and you swing yourself up the delicate arch of my back, clambering the short distance to my shoulders where you sit in splendour, the King of your own...

Flash Fiction Competition 2017

Fútbol

Valencio! Percy! Alfredo! We had picked up a few of their names and screamed them joyously as we booted the ball across the open field. Utter strangers, lives a million miles apart, we played with them for hours. It didn’t matter, in that moment, who we were. Why we were there. That in the morning we would move on and leave them behind, like all the others. In a few brief lifetimes these things would start to matter again but not tonight, on this makeshift pitch in this delicate, aching sunset. In that little pocket of time, enjoyment drew our bodies and minds closer than ever as words and awkwardness crumbled at our feet. And so we played on, language barrier dissolved by laughter, as the twilight bled away gently into the night.

Songwriting Competition 2017

Pledge

If I could hold you forever the way I am now;
If I could love you this purely, I could just show you how
To be strong, to be constant, you are who you are:
Just trust in yourself and I know you’ll go far
 
Every time that you’re bleeding, you feel your heart breaking;
I’m the one who is here, every step that you’re taking
I’ll be holding you, telling you it’ll all be okay:
We’re parent and child, forever this way
 
I’ll be the one here who holds your head high;
Who flies when you’re laughing and falls when you cry,
I’m your comfort, your rock, my love cannot be wrong:
You must make your own world but I know I’ll belong
 
Every time that you’re bleeding, you feel your heart breaking;
I’m the one who is here, every step that you’re taking
I’ll be holding you, telling you it’ll all be okay:
We’re parent...

Songwriting Competition 2017

Pledge

If I could hold you forever the way I am now;
If I could love you this purely, I could just show you how
To be strong, to be constant, you are who you are:
Just trust in yourself and I know you’ll go far
 
Every time that you’re bleeding, you feel your heart breaking;
I’m the one who is here, every step that you’re taking
I’ll be holding you, telling you it’ll all be okay:
We’re parent and child, forever this way
 
I’ll be the one here who holds your head high;
Who flies when you’re laughing and falls when you cry,
I’m your comfort, your rock, my love cannot be wrong:
You must make your own world but I know I’ll belong
 
Every time that you’re bleeding, you feel your heart breaking;
I’m the one who is here, every step that you’re taking
I’ll be holding you, telling you it’ll all be okay:
We’re parent...

Piggy Bank

As a child, she would put all her money in a small piggy bank. It sat in the corner of her room and every night, she would empty her pockets – the soiled pennies from the street, the sparkling coins her mother pressed into her hand for helping around the house, the odd coppers that crazy Billy, her eccentric neighbour, would spin her way as she skipped past – directly into it, and watch the contents fall with stability and promise into the motley collection of pennies and pounds, cents and dollars from odd holidays, feeling that familiar feeling of pride as the clink of metal on metal told her that she was doing something for herself.

What on earth are you saving for? They would gaze incredulously and question her, eyes narrowed in the way in which only an adult condescends a child.

But she would just smile.

‘Wait and see. I’m not sure yet. Maybe I’ll go to...

Writing for Children Competition 2017

The Berdley detectives

We first met the man at dinner when Mother introduced us.

“James, Lucy, this is Mr Sharp. He’s here on important business and will be staying for a few days. I want you to be on your best behaviour and don’t disturb him. Understood?”

We nodded and sat down, studying the new-comer all through our meal. His moustache twitched up and down as his lips moved, giving it the look of a runaway mouse. His voice was high and slightly accented.

“I must thank you for your kindness. I hope that I can repay you. Now, I must retire to my work and not waste anymore of your time.”

“Of course, Mr Sharp.”

I stole a glance at my younger sister across the table. We shared a grin and rose to leave the room. As soon as we were alone in our bedroom the laughter burst out.

“What a weird man!”

“I know!” I agreed, “and he has a dead...

Poetry and Spoken Word Competition

But this lullaby goes on

When she was young she dreamed of love and all that came within;
she saw the hearts of man leap with the life they felt begin.
 
And now she walks with violent hope across the empty street –
she knows he’ll come, she’s sure of it, he told her where to meet.
 
A spark of doubt begins to light a chill across her spine;
fear cuts like fire in the darkness of her mind.
 
Hunching up her shoulders as she paces left and right
her powdered cheek is caught beneath the twisted arms of night.
 
Her heads turns round and round and in her chest her heart leaps high;
she sees the empty street, but doesn’t dare to wonder why.
 
But she knows he is gone.
 
Her white hand opens, drops his letter to the smoky ground:
crumpled like a flower in the storm that flashes round.
 
She drops her head, older now,...

Open Prompt

The other side

The dark was cold. She had always hated the cold.

It was fine in the daytime - a sudden burst of darkness before the light turned on or the beckoning black of a dusty cupboard had never bothered her. This darkness was small. It was contained. It could be shut away or extinguished; it was fleeting. It was a single pinprick in a glowing world light and colour and once she entered it, the brightness outside was still there. Still waiting for her. Glittering in her mind, the silver of light under the door called to her, promising loyalty and the warmth of the sun. When the world was bright with a million globes of gold, a void of blackness had no power.

The night was different.

When she was younger, her mother bought her a bedside lamp: a garish blue bulb with ambiguous fairy-tale creatures roaming across its surface. It was placed by her bed with the promise that...

Open Prompt

The other side

The dark was cold. She had always hated the cold.

It was fine in the daytime - a sudden burst of darkness before the light turned on or the beckoning black of a dusty cupboard had never bothered her. This darkness was small. It was contained. It could be shut away or extinguished; it was fleeting. It was a single pinprick in a glowing world light and colour and once she entered it, the brightness outside was still there. Still waiting for her. Glittering in her mind, the silver of light under the door beckoned to her, promising loyalty and the warmth of the sun. When the world was bright with a million globes of gold, a void of blackness had no power.

The night was different.

When she was younger, her mother bought her a bedside lamp: a garish blue bulb with ambiguous fairy-tale creatures roaming across its surface. It was placed by her bed with the promise that...

Your View

Opinionated

On the education system:

When did we become defined by pieces of paper and the amount of facts we can memorise? The pressures placed on young people to pass exams and set themselves on a career path for life are unnecessary and damaging. A student’s wellbeing takes a backseat to their marks and education is no longer about experiences and opportunities to succeed. In a world where your academic achievements seem to matter more than who you are as a person, things need to change.

On abortion:

No one has a right to a woman’s body but herself. The refusal of many places to allow women to terminate their pregnancies is just another way to remove women’s rights and leads to dangers to the mother’s or the baby’s health, families struggling financially and the terrible lot of being an unwanted child, alone in the world.

On mental health:

There is such a stigma surrounding mental illness that we think we...

What Came Before

Spotlight

The lights are dazzling. I cough and open my mouth, my voice hanging in my dry throat. I feel the strange pulse still beating at the back of my mind, a thumping behind my ears. All around me is silence and waiting. A sea of emotionless stares, desperate for me to open my mouth and shock them. Waiting for me to be something that I... I'm not sure I can be.

I think of three months ago, when I got the call and could hardly contain my excitement. Some would say that I didn't at all, dancing around the living room while my parents laughed and my little sister screamed at my legs - she didn't know what was happening, but she never does. Any excuse to run around like a madman and she throws herself gloriously into the fray. Then one month later, when we went shopping for the perfect outfit for the day, flitting from shop to shop...

TV Pilot Competition 2017

268 Miles


INTERIOR – EVENING – MODERN LIVING ROOM

Five friends are sat on the floor with post-it notes on their heads

Markus [17, tall, checked shirt] (post-it says ‘GOD’): OK, am I real?
Anna [17, confident, hoody and jeans] (post-it says ‘DEAD MOUSE’): Well…kinda. Depends on who you ask.
Markus: Ok…human?
Harry [16, sarcastic, bomber jacket] (post-it says ‘MARIAH CAREY’): Not really. I suppose you’re quite…humanesque.
Markus: Humanesque? Really?
Anna: Come on, let’s move on. I’ve got it! Am I…Michael Jackson?!
Beth [18, shy, skater dress] (laughing): Not quite! Ok, Adam – your turn.
Adam [13, seems old for his age, tie-dye t-shirt] (post-it says ‘HARRY POTTER’): Oh, I don’t know guys.
Markus: Come on! You’re a magical male who wears glasses and fights evil. How are you not getting this?
Adam: Ugh, I’m not Harry Potter again am I? You promised!

They giggle

Anna: Go on Harry.

Harry groans and throws...

Signing Off

Changing times


Dear 2016,

I guess this letter is long overdue, but I’ve been struggling with what to say. I suppose now, as we draw near to your conclusion, it’s as good a time as any to let you know what I think.

The thing is...you’ve been awful. There’s no denying it. I doubt there is anyone who has not at some point commented on the huge swarm of tragedies that have clouded this past year. You have been the year of terror and war; the year of huge political upheaval. The year of celebrity deaths where I, in the comfort of my home, have checked the news each morning and announced the loss of yet another hero. But for me, 2016 has been a very different experience. Because despite your ups and downs, you are the first year where I have really felt comfortable in my own skin. Where I am finally convinced that I am myself. I have come into...

Self and a Statistic

Silent

In a quiet house, a young boy stares at his phone, fixated as he connects with people all over the world, with the entirety of humanity at his fingertips.

​Two metres away, his mother sits gazing at him in silence, thinking with regret of the day they bought him his first phone - and his childhood ended.

Why I Write

My obsession

I write because I have to. I get a thought in my mind, a profound moment of clarity which, in that moment, feels like the most important thing I have ever experienced. It fills me with the kind of inpspiration and dread that only comes from realising something very special. Not special to the world; just special to me. And I know that if I don't record this thought - if I don't find some outlet for the gnawing idea within me - it will disappear. It will become nothing but another blur where I vividly remember how I felt but can't remember why. Another daydream or question when I was watching the news. And this thought scares me more than anything. That huge moments in our lives could just...vanish. I write to feel important and to understand my insignificance. I write to remember and write to forget. To escape. To feel human. But overall, I write because I have...

Walking

The girl of the night

She didn't so much walk as dance, barely skimming the dusty earth with her pointed toes. Her body was light, excitement bubbling from her curling fingers and the gentle tilt of her head. Around her, the night seemed open and fresh, rocking from side to side in her lilting wake. The darkness that plagued her was nothing but a set of wings upon which she soared to her secret place. Her happy place. She was one with the night, sharing the stars and bathing in the empty moonlight. The path she had walked so many times bore not a single footprint; her panting breath the only mark of her fleeting journey.Her dance was a lonely one. And in that, she found freedom.

Speech Writing Competition 2016

Society and the beauty delusion

 
Somewhere in the world, there is girl staring into her mirror. It is cracked, but this doesn’t bother her.

Maybe it hides her sins.

She has been there for hours. Her room is littered with the debris of her failure – yellows, pinks and golden browns, palettes of paint that she has decided cannot quite fit her complexion. She is close to deciding nothing can. She lifts yet another brush to her face, dusting the powder over her blotchy cheeks. She pulls back her hair tightly and slides in yet another pin. She tries on outfit after outfit, sucking in her stomach and forcing a smile. Why shouldn’t it work for her? After all, all her friends seem to manage it. Then she gazes at herself expectantly. And she realises something.

She is unrecognisable.

From a young age, boys and girls are taught that looks are important. That as a person, you can be intelligent and achieve great things,...

Objection!

Real Reform

“Exams that give the best possible preparation for apprenticeships, places at top universities, and good jobs.
 
From Michael Gove’s educational reforms speech – he is explaining what he believes is needed in the future of education

This is not what education is for. When we first began to teach children, it was for learning. To give them experiences, widen their knowledge and allow them to understand the world they live in. To develop their awareness and sense of self. And exams were, by definition, a way to evaluate how these skills and ideas had been learned. How, then, have we arrived at a place where this has been reversed – where learning is for responses to exams? Where children from the age of five are told ‘learn this, it will be on your test’. And where the wellbeing of a young person takes a backseat to what career path they plan to take.
 
I am currently completing...

1 Photo, 20 Words

Strange

Watching space echo across
Generations, inexorable as the mind's cracked
Footsteps. It's hard
To remember that life is all. Everything.
 

Universal Knowledge

We all know

The constant, nagging fear that something inside you is not right, and everyone else can see it; the sudden, poignant happiness in those odd moments when the world seems fixed and utterly perfect, and you are delirious in your strange joy; the ache of knowing that was the last time you would hold their hand and feel their solid heartbeat. And the hidden, consuming desire to win.

Book Review Writing Competition 2016

'The Handmaid's Tale' - Margaret Atwood

"When we think of the past it’s the beautiful things we pick out. We want to believe it was all like that."

Of the myriad of dystopian novels that have flooded our shelves over the past few decades, I have yet to find one that fills me with quite the same thrill and uneasiness as Margaret Atwood’s ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’. From the first page, the subtle intertwining of memory and present day, punctuated with snapshots of the narrator’s often rambling thoughts, weaves an intriguing and unusual story. 

The book tells the story through the eyes of "Offred", the unnamed protagonist. Offred (literally meaning Of Fred) is the name given to her by the Government when she becomes the handmaid for the Commander Fred. The story takes place at a time when a religious organisation naming themselves the "Sons of Jacob" have taken over the Government through a staged terrorist attack. They are quickly able to remove all the rights and...

Book Review Writing Competition 2016

'The Handmaid's Tale' - Margaret Atwood

‘When we think of the past it’s the beautiful things we pick out. We want to believe it was all like that.’
 
Of the myriad of dystopian novels that have flooded our shelves over the past few decades, I have yet to find one that fills me with quite the same thrill and uneasiness as Margaret Atwood’s ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’. From the first page, the subtle intertwining of memory and present day, punctuated with snapshots of the narrator’s often rambling thoughts, weaves an intriguing and unusual story.

The book tells the story through the eyes of ‘Offred’, the unnamed protagonist. Offred (literally meaning Of Fred) is the name given to her by the Government when she becomes the handmaid for the Commander Fred. The story takes place at a time when a religious organisation naming themselves the ‘Sons of Jacob’ have taken over the Government through a staged terrorist attack. They are quickly able to remove all the rights...

7 Cubed

'Madness' inspired by The Psychopath Test

Madness is lonely. He was alone as his delicate scratches blistered his skin and his eyes bled stars. He was alone when his mirror was so cracked that he would stare at himself and not recognise his own splintered features. When he traced the lines of his weathered face and painted the earth. As his life seeped into the night he was isolated, reduced to a statistic or the shallow mark of his fingernails on the doctor's wall. And he was alone when he fell; when he flew. But like a sunset, he was alive.

Mysteries Abound

All these things we cannot know

We don't know what dangers lie in the shadows at the corners of our eyes, just out of our grasp. And why the loneliness and emptiness of these shadows scare us more than any conflict we are forced into.

We don't know what people are thinking behind their painted faces, when they nod and smile as if knowing exactly what you expect. The story of their widened eyes and slightly clenched fists. What secrets they whisper to the stars in the dead of night.

We don't why, despite thousands of years of progress and discovery, to be human is still connected to our basic animal instincts. Why fights must be settled in the fiercest of ways, and fear still hurts more than the dreams we succumb to each night. And why our image of perfection is unlike anything we have ever achieved.

And we certainly haven't agreed on when we are most human - when we take the chance, or...

Enumeration

5 things insomnia taught me

1. The world looks different when shrouded in the 3 am streaks of moonlight. Somehow sharper and more real; my actions are amplified and displayed in an elegant show of madness. Of monotony.

2. Midnight holds all my secrets, in an infinite state I can only reach when my restless brain shrieks blue and scarlet in longing for the morning. Lies that learned to love the darkness.

3. The mind is full of voices, tumbling through when all I wish is to do is escape to the world of my imagining. Doubts and murmurs, fears resurfacing after years in the dust of my subconscious. Screaming to me in the silence I do not dare to fill.

​4. The dark is a dangerous place. It fuels despair and makes my clearest acts seem fuzzy and distorted in my tinted eyes. It lives to isolate - fights my every connection and shelters its children under its tender arms. And it is sweet...

Countdown

After the blow

I'm sorry, she sobs as she stumbles from the room.
Her red-stained clothes blur to a smudge beneath her.
Swirling in horror, she can't see her feet.
But she knows she must get away.
She can't believe what she's done.
He can't catch her anymore.
She scrubs her hands.
He washes away.
She's broken.
Free.

One Sentence Story

Teatime

He sat and sipped his tea in silence, gazing at the empty cup and saucer that gathered dust beside him.

Letter Writing Competition 2016

Before

Dear child,
In just a few short hours, you will be granted something incredible. God knows, people have fought hard enough for it. I have seen people loving it, hating it. Ending it. Dreaming of its endless possibilities, seemingly unlimited and priceless. I have heard gentle men screaming with savagery as it is threatened; I have watched people die defending it. In spite of it.

Child, in a few short hours you will be given a life. And if at times that seems mediocre, don't believe it. Look a little closer. Reach further than you have ever gone and find the side of yourself you have long hidden from the world. Use every essence of your being to remember what you have been living for. Because nothing in heaven or earth has the right to take this from you; it is our greatest inch of freedom. Of a life.

But you cannot touch a life. Cannot hold it close -...

Letter Writing Competition 2016

Before

Dear child,
In just a few short hours, you will be granted something incredible. God knows, people have fought hard enough for it. I have seen people loving it, hating it. Ending it. Dreaming of its endless possibilities, seemingly unlimited and priceless. I have heard gentle men screaming with fearless violence as it is threatened; I have watched people die defending it. In spite of it.

Child, in a few short hours you will be given a life. And if at times that seems mediocre, don't believe it. Look a little closer. Reach further than you have ever gone and find the side of yyourself you have long hidden from the world. Use every essence of your being to remember what you have been living for. Because nothing in heaven or earth has the right to take this from you; it is our greatest inch of freedom. Of a life.

But you cannot touch a life. Cannot hold it close...

Ellen W's 40 Likes

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