I am assailed by it, I have been most of my life. It reduces me, shrinks me. And yet, it is part of me. Others might call it vulnerability, sensitivity – and not necessarily a bad thing. I try to not let it stop me living, trying, trying to be brave. I create but doing so scares. I need to follow the lines some days, allow though I’ve always been crap at doing so. Even when I used to ‘colour-in’ as a child, I couldn’t stay within the lines, my colouring crayon would always go over and it would mortify me. I need to write today. It is my job, my living, if a sparse one. And then there is this project – this great scary monster of thing that is forcing me to encounter one of my worst fears -computers and unfamiliar computer software. Try it, she advises, give it a go, play around abit. She makes it sound fun. To me it isn’t. I am terrified, even downloading it, if the blurb is to be believed, is dangerous. Is there someone out there would could help me? I have the ideas and want to make them happen but how? Oh, and to make something trite and amateurish is worse, worse of all. Breathe. There are other things to concentrate on today. Oh, God make me brave.

It’s ages since we spoke, she and I. I got through. She has another cold. Their Christmas was quiet though they had unexpected visitors. I felt her distress over this, I too am a retiring soul like her. I love to see people, to converse but on my terms, not unexpectedly. But she managed it, though it, and the impromptu take away Indian the friends brought, played havoc with their digestions. There is something 19th century about her and her small life, as there is about me and mine. Kindred souls. She asked after me too. How I like her, cherish her even. Keep her safe. And me. And him. And her. And her.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.