64 words

Oriel Davies outside

I dreamt of Mum last night. She was young and still beautiful. Turning to face me she had smiled and kissed me. Oh, yes, she had said, we don’t kiss on the lips, do we? I had been sitting behind her sewing. Repairing a white shirt. Our relationship  and the dream been suffused with warmth. I’d asked her about a fair-haired man who was also present, saying that I’d thought he was Geoffrey’s friend. Oh, no, Mum had said, he’s mine. After all, she’d said, every one needs a token Ginger at a wedding.

I have been distilling my text. Cutting it down and what he calls ‘murdering my favourites’. 64 words from 4400. 64 words in nine sentences. So many of the sentences I’d collected made him laugh. But that isn’t just the point. It isn’t just about laughter – there are other stories to tell. It will be a minimal piece. I am a minimalist. It is scary being so sometimes. Less is more, less is more, I chant. It will be a white room. A white space. The viewer will have to trust, to go into the space to find the words. It is how I want it to be. I’ve cut out any reference to people’s names. It felt better to do so. I want it to be universal – to belong to all. To be specific in detail but not particular to a person. I hope it works. At this stage it is impossible to tell.

64 words. Will it be enough to tell the story? It is all about associations in the end. Triggers. It is what I do.


At three in the afternoon we see a homeless man lying in a sleeping bag on the beach. He is lying close to the wall, a little out of the sun. His beard is long, matted and grey. Beside him in the sand is a brand new silver transistor radio.


By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.