My back was rigid with anxiety as I walked. I tried to breathe it out. It makes me tired. I am fighting what is. I am fighting change. It feels chaotic as if the world has been upturned. It is nothing and everything. My arms fizz with it as it begins to subside. I need to let it go. To let it happen and see, to watch myself come out the other side, unscathed. Surviving. It’s a false use of adrenaline. My body is being hood-winked into thinking it needs be alert, that danger is round the corner when it isn’t.

I was walking down South Road, feeling less weary, feeling the power, and indeed pleasure of my stride and thinking about Robert McFarlane’s book Old Ways, that I’ve yet to finish but which I returned to the library cause it was due. And then it happened. A true, a genuine rush of adrenaline. My body surged with it. Is that what taking heroin feels like? I’d been lost in my thoughts when a door had opened just by me, the suction of air from its opening catching me in my face and then there had been a man’s voice. I’d been so taken unawares that all I could do was keep walking, moving. The jolt of it, that split second of fear was amazing. My body came alive, alert and alive.

A gentler morning. Few were around, the clubs were shut, as was ‘Chicken Lickin”.

A nice radio doc this morning about Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library where she sends disadvantaged children a free book a month to encourage better literacy. Its been taken up in Rotherham too. I’d love to get a flat there, Dolly said, to hide-out. Who’s she? asked one of her kids. One of her biographers talked about her need for attention. A bit harsh, but in the end if it does some good – who cares about the motives. We love getting them in the post, said one girl. That’s it, isn’t it? That personal touch, never mind DP’s signature and butterfly motif, it’s the present coming through the post. Real matter, something to unwrap and discover. Nothing nicer. Long live Royal Mail (though may it become a better employer).

I wake to voices, often. This morning, I think it was a woman’s voice (it sounded like ‘Trixie’ (aka Helen George from Midwife) or it could’ve been his. It said: ‘I’m letting them go, sweetie, the spiders.’

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.