Ellen likes to spend time sitting on the windowsill of her flat, smoking Gauloises and listening to Gainsbourg. She lives in a new-build in north Dublin, and its cheap, breezeblock construction and low ceilings are not, she says, conducive to a creative state of mind. So lately, she has taken to the window, to sit and wait for her muse.
She's used to getting some odd looks around this neighbourhood. Certainly, she's the only person who regularly sports a fox-fur hat. And the collection of Victorian tea dresses that she inherited from her grandmother sure don't help her to blend in. There's a group of kids who have taken to calling her "Grandma" and then breaking into shrieks of laughter. Ellen just lights a cigarette and looks the other way.
Ellen's MySpace page features an exhaustive list of every book, film, and piece of music that she has ever loved. It has taken her weeks to get it right, scanning in cut-outs from obscure magazines. She likes to think of the page as a little cyber-patchwork of her soul. Certainly it has taken up a lot more of her time than her dissertation, which could explain why she's once again having to repeat the year. It's a bit of an inconvenience because she'd always imagined that she would be living in Paris by now, working for some obscure, but relentlessly innovative designer.
She's been thinking about ditching college altogether and would do it in a heartbeat, except that her parents would kill her. Her dad's an accountant and her mother works in the bank so they're not exactly the types who understand that the key to creative success isn't a piece of paper but, as she often tells them, the freedom to nurture one's renegade spirit.