It was almost instantaneous. I’d emailed them just ten, fifteen minutes before and then someone called. And they said yes. I couldn’t believe it. I even said that to them. I’m flabbergasted. Of course, then comes the worry of making it into something I need or want it to be. Will I be able to take photographs? When do I ask them? One thing at a time. I’m excited about the realness of it. The opportunity to encounter real people, even if they are afflicted. Can I make a difference, make an impact? I just want to be a benign presence, I wrote in the email, a calming influence. Is this just pie-in-the-sky stuff? Can art really do this? We shall just have to see. I’ve learnt to lower expectations, but also to keep my mind open to other, unexpected, unlooked for wonders. They always come. As to what I shall sew, I don’t know. Maybe begin with Proust. One step, Ellen. One step then another. Slow. And breathe.

I dream about food. Is it because I’m hungry or is it a waking anxiety that carries into my dream state? I often actually eat in my dream, though I rarely taste it. Last night it was some kind of plastic wrapped gluten-free bar or cake. I cannot remember what it tasted like, or its texture. Often I’m in a restaurant trying to decide what to choose, or they have nothing I wish to eat. Is it about choice, a choice of nourishment. Is it about creative or soulful nourishment? There had been a clue in the ‘i’ crossword to do with the ovine (I think that was the word) part of a plant. The answer was seed, but we talked about ovine coming from ova=egg. I dreamt of eggs. A great mass of them. Germaine Greer was with me, along with several other women. Most were gay. I think this was something to do with how disturbed I’ve felt over the allegations about Kevin Spacey. I have loved watching him on screen. All is tainted now. It cannot help but be so. His image has turned ugly. Anyway, in the dream I was advising them on how to be discrete about their sexuality in public, arousing much laughter. But back to the eggs. Greer was in turn explaining to me and another woman how to get food. The eggs were the result of some little trick she’d used. I brought her more. No, not now, she said, save those for later. Are the eggs my ideas, my not-yet-born projects? Clearly, Greer, whom I have dreamed of many times, is the wise woman, my counsel. (I saw her speak at the Royal Exchange in Manchester. She was eloquent, funny, self-effacing and utterly charming. Then I saw her at the framers I used to go to in Cambridge. I was too in awe to do more than smile.)

I sent off two other emails too. I’ve been putting it off, waiting for courage. But I need to get things in motion, make them real. We shall see. Sometimes people reply, other times there is that long, forever silence. Editors can be like that. I try to stop myself pestering them. I want to know, want to plan. It is out of my hands, mostly. Let it be. What is for me will come.

More wind this morning then they promised, me and my umbrella gave up, gave in and got wet. It blew at two plastic beakers lying on the Prom. They rattled and rolled. And further along a paper plate fluttered up before sinking down flat on the pavement.

A magpie’s call when I got back home after my walk. I rarely hear them at that early hour. It’s more of a clatter, than a call. Clack, clack. Harsh, rasping. This is no song bird. I start to hear the slightly tinny song of the blue tit now. No robins, as yet. They will come. The leaves have all gone from the trees outside my bedroom window. Yes, he said, but look at the buds. Can you see them? Yes.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.