shoe sketchbook (1)

I can hardly hear her on the phone. Her voice is muffled, it trails off. But she is mid-flow, is laughing, and I don’t want to shatter her joy. We talk about Christmas. We both like the carols, don’t like the fuss. Do you send cards? she asks. We used to take round a sponge to our neighbours, she says, but they’ve mostly passed away now. Her tooth is still troubling her. Bye, Bach, she says.

Two men in the dark walking towards me, I can hardly make them out in the gloom. They’ve both got wooly hats on. Yeh, he’s banned now, one of them is saying, banned from The Angel. There is silence. And then the same voice, I can’t believe he said that.

I only have time for a list. A memo for tomorrow, maybe Sunday. I need to get it down. All these threads that may come to nothing but maybe, just maybe they will manifest. Here it is: Charlotte Bronte’s letters, handwriting copied on a light-box, the endurance of the men on Scott’s Antarctic expedition, Victor Borge and my mother laughing, laughing with my sister over Turkey fricassee, food and mothers, and what else? Advent, yes, advent. The saga over the purple candles. I am all about detail. Too much sometimes.

There is a misily rain outside. November rain. Have to go. Speak soon. Juggling plates. A sluggish writing day. Its never wasted, he says. Don’t judge. Not yet. Just keep writing. That’s all.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.