I bring so much fear to the making of my work, whether it is art or writing. Sometimes it completely floors me. This dread. This heavy, stomach churning dread. What is it? What is it that I am frightened of? This is my work, my story, my tale. I do it alone, in a safe, private space. And yet, the demons, the frightening ones follow me in here. Not just in here, in my studio, but into my head. So this is what I shall do. I shall write them out. Here on this page. Everyday, 500 words. Writing out. A purging before the real work is to be done. And yet, this is work. This is as real as the other. Perhaps a distinction need not be made. Is it safe to write it out here? This is a public space. Yes. I believe so. It’s rather like my performances. I am in public, in a public space and yet I am also invisible. Made invisible by the nature of what I am doing. Claws retracted. Domesticated, made tame.

No Donnie-don this year, he says as we walk the Perygyl, I wonder why. Donnie-don or Donnie-doris. Our name, his name for the dolphins we usually see out at sea in Cardigan Bay. Perhaps it has been too cold, I say, or the fish haven’t come. Who knows? Who knows? I register his disappointment and indeed, mine. It is glorious to see them. (If indeed they are dolphins, might they be porpoises? The dead one I found on the beach a year or so back was definitely a porpoise.) They make one feel light, joyous, connected to something larger, important.

A very large spider scurried about by the front door as I stooped to put on my walking boots this morning. I shuddered but found myself talking to it. It eased my panic. Might I be ugly to him too?

She mentions them every time I see her, he says. He’s talking about the geraniums and Margaret. Margaret our ninety-year-old neighbour. She sees them each day when she goes out of her front door. They have blossomed, bloomed. I am inordinately proud of them. You’ve done it, he said. It’s your nurturing. I just hit and hope, I say. As I have done with both gardens. The first in Cambridge, the second in Truro. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t. One year the sweet peas came. Glorious by the kitchen door. Inhaling the scent, the sweetness. Then in Truro, nothing. Not a sign. The rhubarb was abundant though, and the lavender. I want to be good at it. To take care.

Each morning I check the B&Bs. Mostly still vacancies, though yesterday Yr Hafod and Shoreline were full. That’s nice. I am pleased for them. The rain has kept people away. It has been too relentless. And the wind. The Prom flags are ripped ragged by it. In shreds. Do they replace them each year? Who makes them?

I listened to The Moth Radio Hour yesterday for a full three hours. It was a toss up between that and Little Dorrit. I’ve heard LD before so I went for the Moth. Such wonderful stories. And told by real people with all their ums and ahs and hesitating emotion. One particularly struck me told by Jona L a writer. He wanted to talk about his shame over a mis-quote in his book about Bob Dylan. He was  publically castigated, lost his job and self-respect. He talked about looking after his young daughter, about why he writes and quoted a Sufi saying, that went something like, God breaks your heart over and over again till it is open. And then there was the Sudanese refugee. Such a life. How can we not offer shelter to such people? I was moved as I worked. Worked my Work. So slow but imbued with thoughts. It is enough. Is it enough?

He is concerned about one of the cats. He keeps seeing it lying down, motionless. It is old. It is dying. It distresses him. I want to do something, he says.

I found another shopping list to add to my collection.

Braces’s Bread….enough said.

Brilliant, he said.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.