Was it compelling enough? I go over my application in my head, as I walk, as I brush my teeth, as I write and as I sew. I just don’t know. How can I know? I needed to contain it, give it a certain amount of time and no more. I did it. I sent it. Isn’t that enough? No, never. It is a pattern, a pattern of behaviour. I just don’t know how to celebrate my achievements. Not big. They are not big achievements, but I get them done any way. A small life. I do have a small life but inside it is cavernous. My inner world is limitless. My dream world too. The end of a dream I had yesterday afternoon had a bird pecking at me. It was biting, not pecking, biting my hand, my thigh, my bum. It was eerie, scary. And I knew it was biting because it was scared. I wanted to let it out. There were too many people in the house. (We’d gathered for a party.) People where everywhere in this huge house, kitchen, living room, dining room and hallway. I called to him to help me, to help wrench the attacking bird from me and put it out. I tried to pull it off myself but it was jagged and thorny and it fought me. This morning’s dream had me anticipating a journey. I had to find somewhere to stay before my flight the next morning. I was with someone, a woman, and discussing where to go. I knew she didn’t want me to stay with her, though it would’ve been feasible. Could I stay in the school? I wanted to ask. Instead I began to write down possible places on a piece of piece. El Candil was one of them. This is a restaurant in Nerja. I knew this in my dream, and thought it would be fine to stay somewhere in Spain even though I would be flying from London. I was hurt she didn’t want me, and couldn’t work out why, but wanted to be practical, to resolve it for myself. Then I woke.

Did I do enough? Was it enough? Was it good enough? Let’s unravel it. The idea is a good one. And you know that you have the determination to see it through. The issue, as always, is the funding. It’s a lonely course to always be doing the inventing alone. It takes so much energy and these days I am depleted.

No more challenges, he said. Just sew. Just sew. I need the simplicity of it. I wanted to write about the clinging to routine. The lines that one has to follow. It doesn’t matter if it doesn’t come, make a pledge to do it anyway. But it’s not just the funding is it? It’s the acknowledgement that winning brings. The acknowledgement that it is worthy work. You are worthy, it says. You have been chosen, it says. The chosen one.

The sky clears, the grey thundery clouds pass. I saw a flash of lightning across the sea as I walked. The railings had been moved but the tour trucks were still there. Drunk students ambled along the Prom in the drizzle. No swimmers today. I slept for an hour and half yesterday afternoon. I was dog-tired.

A gentle day. Coffee, sewing and The Archers. Grounded. Held by smells – coffee, elderflower and lavender. She writes promising gooseberries. Yes, please, I say. And blackcurrants? Will she send some? Wouldn’t that be marvellous? I miss her. But I feel so small this days.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.