I am so tired. In fact, I’m more than tired. I’m beat. I’m bleary. I’m dog-tired. I’m done for. I’m frazzled. I’m run down, sapped, weak, wasted, worn out, EXHAUSTED. I’m…

…I’m out of breath after spouting the contents of a thesaurus at you.

I’ve spent the entire week, day in, day out, 9am to 6pm every day sat in a library. Conducting research, reading critical journals, writing essays…and I am worn out.


It’s not as if I’ve finished yet either. I have another thousand words and a whole other research project to go, so the end does not feel like it’s on the horizon (though good lordy, it most definitely is, with a deadline of next friday).

So today is not going to be a long one. In fact, it probably won’t even be an interesting one. But it is one in which I wish to make an announcement.

I have finally joined the world of ‘twitter’. For those of you (myself included) who don’t get it, I have so far gathered that you simply inform the world of every thought you’ve ever had and stick a ‘#’ at the end of it with a few witty words. I’m not so good at the witty. BUT I have found it’s an excellent way to spread word around about new blogs, news, ideas. So if you have an account and wish to have elspod 24/7 (GOD how bland that sounds!) then you are most welcome to follow me.

I promise I will post something outrageously interesting and informative when I am done frying my brain.

Until then, I give you an inexpert picture of me. On twitter. Tweeting away.

bird ellie

Find me at @elspod …and hope the crazy ebbs away soon.

I cheated on you

Last night, I fell asleep next to you. You held me for hours, not even the slightest twitch of movement away from me. You were safe in the knowledge that you loved me and I loved you…

…while in my dream I cheated on you.

* * *

It is horrible when this happens. You wake up in a horrible mess of sweat, confusion and guilt, hoping to the skies that what seemed so real to you just seconds ago won’t be displayed all over your face.

Unfortunately for me, I am about as subtle as an anvil when I feel guilty about something.

The second my partner rolled over to say good morning, he was greeted with a shrill: ‘Have you ever cheated on me in your dreams? Just tell me if you have, I won’t get mad.’ (Not even a chance for him to breathe. Told you. Subtle.)

Startled, he replied in the negative and narrowed his eyes at me. ‘Why?’

Now, this could have got out of hand really quickly. It can be upsetting for some people, knowing that their partner was thinking about another person, even when asleep. I’d certainly feel a bit odd about it. But why? We are not in control of our subconscious, and at the risk of me getting all Freudian on your asses, we all have desires that we aren’t fully aware of. Just because these desires have been embodied by someone else doesn’t mean our feelings when awake are invalidated.

Take my experience, for example. Before falling asleep, my partner and I had had a discussion about our relationship. It was a positive talk, thinking out loud about how to make things better as it’s difficult to stay on track when distracted by little things…like university exams, 9000 words of essays, living.

But then I fell asleep and had a mishmash dream of scenarios that involved past partners saying memorably romantic things to me. Nothing physical happened with them, but what they were saying sounded so perfect and uncomplicated that it was a very attractive picture.

Looking back on it then, the dream was not a negative message about our relationship but instead an escape. It was presenting me with everything I wanted, but with the easy way out. Love isn’t easy, relationships aren’t easy, so when they get that bit more tough, you look for solutions.

It just so happens that my solution occurred to me whilst unconscious.

When you’ve been with someone for a long time, you have to continue to make the effort because it is so easy to not realise what you have, to amble along at the same pace. My cheaty dream was telling me I wanted more ‘wooing’ I suppose, more romance. I wanted that feeling that you get at the beginning of a relationship, those butterflies when someone walks into a room. I wanted all that with the man I’ve been with for nearly two years. And I saw now that it wasn’t impossible. (Panic over.)

So instead of making a big deal about it, I smiled at the man I love. Because by cheating on him in my head, I realised what we had and what we needed to move forward.

Step by step.



I think I am possessed.

To my dear readers of this blog post –

Today, this blog is taking the (albeit vague) form of a letter, which is down to the fact that I have spent my entire day writing a short epistolary story. I have come home, exhausted, with my first draft tucked neatly away in my documents folder, happy with what I’ve accomplished…

…but at the same time, full of the emotions of the character penning the letters.

In short, at the tender age of twenty, I am currently feeling like an exhausted widow, having just said goodbye to her husband and daughter.

Heavy stuff to deal with on a Wednesday afternoon.

But isn’t this, at the same time, absolutely fantastic? That you can spend the whole day writing and become so immersed in the tale you’re creating that it crawls under your skin and refuses to separate itself when you put it away? Right now, I feel possessed by this character – but it is a welcome possession. I am waiting with baited breath for a voice to whisper to me the next line of a letter. Crazy though this may sound, I revel in the absolute control a story has over me when writing. Whenever this happens to me, I feel I have created something a little bit magical.

Someone I look up to a great amount in the world of writing once said that it is when you manage to write your greatest truth, with nobody, not even yourself recognising it in your work, that you have achieved something truly special. The piece I wrote today may not be special to anyone but me, but I am fine with that. I am happy in the knowledge that there is a tiny piece of me in that story, that there is a nugget of pure honesty nestled away waiting silently for recognition.

As long as what you write is true to yourself, you can ask for no more.

So today, I want to celebrate writing. I want to celebrate the fantasies, and realities, and topsy-turvy worlds of craziness that are penned by the minds of writers. Greatness in the shortest haiku or the thickest doorstop of a novel is something to shout out in happiness about to the whole world!

Today I wrote something true and I am proud of that.

Tomorrow, my lies may be true for another and I will be equally proud of that.

Either way, creation is a gateway to greatness. Let it take hold.

What did you create today?

Yours, in anticipation of tomorrow,


A ‘Farewell Weekend’ of misty lakes, muddy hikes and public smooching

I have had a truly fabulous weekend.

To ease the transition of me moving back to university and washing my own underwear, and of my family adjusting back to a much quieter house, my mum and sister followed me and my boyfriend home, and stayed overnight.

And strangely enough, it turned out to be quite the adventure.

* * *

Saturday morning arrived and panic ensued. My suitcase wasn’t packed, my room was a mess, and I was stubbornly determined to cook everybody pancakes for breakfast, whether they wanted them or not.

…In retrospect, not the best start to the day.

So I mastered the art of multi-tasking; showering whilst brushing my teeth, drying my hair while throwing clothes haphazardly into bags, shoving my feet into a pair of bright yellow wellies with one hand and flipping pancakes with the other. Against all odds, we made it into the car before nightfall.

Our first stop of the day was Burrator Reservoir on Dartmoor. However, in true Dartmoor style, the weather was awful, with thick mists and drizzling rain making the tiny lanes positively terrifying to drive along. It didn’t help that we were exchanging stories of serial killers and monsters…


Unfortunately, once we DID find it, the mists had descended to such an extent that we could barely see a thing. Let me demonstrate.

On a good day, Burrator Reservoir looks like this:



Author: Nilfanion

Author: Nilfanion

But all we could see was this:


Disappointing though this was, we were so relieved at having found it after all that exhausting over-reacting to shadowy silhouettes of trees, that we celebrated our discovery with a picnic of cold pizza and blueberry muffins…in the car of course.

We relaxed that evening with a wonderful meal in the local pub, spending hours chatting over food and drinks, and cramming dessert into our overly stuffed bellies. The short distance from the restaurant to the car seemed extraordinarily long as we waddled across the car park, cursing the goodness of the Belgian waffle.

footpathgate01abigThe next morning, hungry again, we headed to Plymbridge Woods for another picnic and a walk by the river. With my family, you can never just head out for a simple stroll, it always becomes a major hiking experience, and this was no exception. We followed the river up to a weir, strolled across an old railway bridge, clambered up a large muddy hills, hitched ourselves over styles, and smooched our way through kissing gates.

* * *

So, at the beginning of this new week, I’m looking forward to the next adventure and I am beyond content. I’ve had a whole weekend of adventure and discovery, hikes and (looking back on it) lots of food. And all of this, surrounded by the people I love the most in the world.149494_10201168364635909_324880755_n

We were dropped off Sunday evening with wind chaffed cheeks, sore feet and sadness in the air as we waved goodbye to the retreating car.

But boy, what a fantastic farewell weekend it was.

(I even mastered the art of camouflage.)


The Lost Words

I am not one of many words this week, partly due to exhaustion but, I think, mainly because I have been using a lot of words recently. For family, for friends, for my partner. I have read for my course and written for this blog…I haven’t yet taken the time to sit down and use some words for me.

'Candle Flame' by Zhenia

‘Candle Flame’ by Zhenia

Using words to soothe or recreate myself is a crucial part of my life. Words can be my anchor and my illumination when I have lost my way.

I can’t envelop myself in words when they are always directed at others – I suppose that makes me quite a selfish author, in some ways. But I don’t see this as a negative thing. I believe that writers pour themselves into their work in all sorts of ways, not always obvious even to them. We reveal our darkest secrets and deepest desires under a cloak of obscurity and clouded worlds. We mutate and twist and create a new us on the page so as to give ourselves a breather from the tangible being sat at the keyboard. It’s a release.

These past few days though…well, I can’t think of many words that I could truly say were mine. And if I’m being honest with you, right now I don’t have anything left in me to share.

So I thought I would borrow words from a favourite author of mine, Aidan Chambers. It is a quote from his novel ‘The Pillowbook of Cordelia Kenn’ and was originally written about love – but in my opinion, it can be equally applied to my relationship with words.

‘Darkness –

Your hand –

Light enough.’

Tonight I am a satsuma


Tonight I am a shriveled satsuma, juiced until there is nothing left but exhausted pulp and seeds of tomorrow.

Tonight my eyelids droop, heavy as dark grey storm clouds rolling their thunderous rumble as they swell and swirl.

Tonight the pellets of energy littered on my plate are Mount Everest’s for my tongue and teeth.

Tonight I am a cotton bud, fluffed and primed for soothing, filled to the fibers with sleepy dust, fairy dust, dreams.

Tonight there are no sounds but your steady breath soothing my wide awake soul. Telling me I am safe. Telling me to close my eyes. Telling me to sleep.

No time to say hello-goodbye, I’m late, I’m late, I’m late!

It’s easy to feel small. To feel as inconsequential as a dot of foam in the ocean, or a mote of dust in a hurricane.

Which is exactly how I felt this morning. Hurrying down the street, running late for the bus, my arm was aching with the weight of three heavy bags and a laptop. My hair was blowing into my eyes, my mouth; sweat was beading on my forehead. Everyone walking at a speed of 2mph and below seemed to find their path directly in front of me, taking up the entire pavement as I tripped on their heels. As I rounded the corner into the bus station I walked past a graffiti-ed wall with two messages on it:

‘May peace be with you. 

Be strong.’

I snorted and congratulated the universe on it’s ironic sense of humour.

The rest of the journey continued in much the same manner, until I felt I could scream at the heavens in that over-the-top sensational way they do in all the movies. Why would today – today of all days – decide it was a good time to test me? It was as if every twist of fate was lining up to take a shot.

We all have days like this. For some reason, there are times when our patience runs out at the same time as our time keeping skills and the whole day just goes to pot. And there are two options you are faced with when this is the course Fate seems to be taking you on:

Accept it.

Or fight it, and forge your own way forward through all the chaos.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not a super empowered, enlightened woman who clings to independence and gives fate the finger. Like most people, I am stubborn enough to simply get grumpy at everyone and everything, fixing nothing and as a result, just confirming my day as incredibly bad.

But a wonderful little person changed my view of the day with one smile and a fierce fierce hug.


With my little brother by my side, chanting an endless stream of questions and thoughts at me as we wound our way through Morrisons, I began to feel better. He was making me laugh, challenging me to ninja fights and telling me jokes, all with his skinny arms wound around my waist in a hug, as he giggled at the absurdity of a soup that comes in a sachet.

smile 2

It made me think. I don’t know if I do believe in fate, but this morning I seemed to blame it for the negativity of the day…and I suppose that means a part of me puts trust in it, at least to a degree. It comforts me to think that our lives are already partially mapped out, with blots of happiness and sadness in an unimaginable cocktail.

On the other hand, I also believe strongly in choice. I know for a fact I wouldn’t be where I am today, doing the things I am doing, with the people I am with, without choice playing a part. It’s the basis of our freedom and foundation of our lives.

I wonder why the two have to be mutually exclusive. Why can’t we have the freedom of choice whilst fate bubbles subtly underneath, pin-pointing the key moments of our lives? I know that Love feels bigger than mere choice, as if something larger is out there cheering it on. And I know that who we choose to love is set out by our own means.

So maybe those skinny little arms were affirmation that a choice to spend time with someone can bring a smile to the most disgruntled of faces.

And maybe that graffiti telling me to ‘Be strong’ was reminding me that fate was right alongside me the whole time.


‘E.T. phone home…’


From Day One of our lives, we are talked at and encouraged to make a noise, or a gesture, that conveys some kind of meaning, no matter how vague. We are applauded the first time we gurgle a jumble of letters; we are sung the alphabet and read stories. Communication is the thing that links us all. It builds and nurtures relationships, mends bridges, increases popularity and quashes quarrels. In fact, it is rather like pudding…

I have recently found that communication often dictates my happiness (or lack thereof). Before writing this blog, I finally tackled a build up of emails from friends that have been nudging at the edge of my consciousness for some days now, demanding attention. And as a result, I have meetings lined up for next week, I’ve caught up with an old friend, and I’ve (hopefully) given comfort to a cousin who needed me. 

And that’s the thing, isn’t it? Without communication of any kind, we would ultimately be empty shells running on autopilot.

We need conversation, we need the emails and phone calls and meet-ups. Even this blog is a form of communication. I may not know you individually as a reader, but I still communicate with you, whether through a view, a like, or a comment. Whenever I get an email saying I have a comment on a post, it makes me smile, it’s an affirmation that someone out there, faceless though they may be, cares and has heard what I have to say.

Communication conveys care. It is the tool we have to express love, anger, forgiveness, happiness, grief…every emotion on the spectrum only exists because we have the communication needed to give it a name and meaning. It is the most powerful skill set we have.

If you were angry at a person, in a situation irreversible without explanation and an apology, you would lose a relationship to silence and sulking.

If you found yourself infatuated with a stranger, no future could ever even be dreamed of without eye contact, body language, an awkward conversation laced with flirty comments.

If travelling, you couldn’t find a place to rest or eat without a universal understanding of the meaning of certain diagrams or logos.

If you were a long distance away from family or friends, you would be alone without the written word: post cards, letters, emails.

If you were the legendary E.T., stranded on an alien planet, you would be lost. With no communication with anyone else who could understand you, what power would you have? How would you survive? Who would comfort you?

Photo: Universal Pictures

Photo: Universal Pictures

At the end of the day, humans are a sociable species. We thrive and grow from interaction with others. We are lost and empty without it. We are eternally seeking out other life in the hope of reaching out to the unknown, praying for our relations to expand across galaxies. This planet is too small for the amount of love, curiosity, and thirst for knowledge that we need to express.


Everyone strives for it. From your next door neighbour to E.T. himself.

A Toothpaste Epiphany

So I have just got back from brushing my teeth with ‘le boyfriend.’ Startlingly uninteresting, I know, but it got me thinking.

There is not one simple task we can do together without something happening. Whether it be a dance in the kitchen while I’m trying to cook; finding myself suddenly slung over his shoulder mid-washing-up; throwing socks at each other in an attempt to blackmail one of us into doing the laundry; or even, as just happened, comparing the beauty of our skulls in the bathroom mirror by pulling back our cheeks and exposing as many teeth as possible…I simply cannot complete a routine without an interruption.

In fact, I can’t remember the last time I brushed my teeth without spluttering toothpaste all over the mirror or pushing him into the bath for spitting ‘too much like a man’.

And I love that.

oddity 3Now before you quickly leave the blog in disgust at how unbearably soppy I’m being, hear me out. Humans never cease to amaze with their capacity to love – with all our flaws, there is no denying that. With so many forms of love, it doesn’t have to be of a romantic nature to lead to smiles over a shared memory, or raucous laughter as your mum tries to unsuccessfully cram a woolly bobble hat onto her head in gale force winds. Every relationship has its beauties and its strange habits that seem boggling to outsiders.

oddity 2And that is what I treasure the most about my relationships, both with my partner and with my family and friends. I have secrets and jokes and stories individually with every one of them; I am a different person in each of their eyes; and what we share is a unique jumble of Life String that is knotted up to form something untouchable.

So when you think of that one person that knows you better than anyone else in this world, give a private smile and rejoice in the oddity of what you share.

Because, no matter who you are or what you have…

‘One’s not half of two; two are halves of one.’

-E. E. Cummings

oddity 4