Pink Bows

There is a distinct aura of Mervyn Peake to my drawings. I’m not flattering myself – he was a natural and my drawing is mostly hit and miss. But I can see something there, perhaps it is what happens when I scan them, they become separate from the page and from me.

There are pink bows tied to the lampposts along the Prom, at least part of the way. They are heralding the approach of Race for Life in a week on Sunday. We used to see them running past our window in our last flat. Mostly (or are they all women?) middle-aged they huff and puff their way round. It’s nice. And the town is made noisy with shoutings of congratulations from loud hailers. Not my thing, but I celebrate their participation.

I struggled to write yesterday. It was like wading through porridge but I persevered and something was put down. You’ve broken the back of it, he said later. And now, just now, we edited it a little. I still want to tweak it but it’s almost there. I hope he will be happy with it. I asked and it came. My abundance, or at least the start of it. Two new reviews in prospect. It’s not a king’s ransom, he said. No, it isn’t. And apparently writers are earning less and less. And yet it is such hard work. Nothing like it. I wrestle to get my meaning out. And then I go upstairs and put on the radio and there is this Turkish authoress speaking so eloquently, so articulately and I am floored. I have still so far to go. Sometimes I think I know nothing at all.

Bold girls were hollering in town. Bold girls in sleeveless tops and mini skirts. In the rain. Shouting. I walk through the membrane of their clamour, waterproofed and separate. Lone boys with headphones clamped to ears strolled along the Prom. Who are they all? Are they students? They seemed different. I think about the Turkish writer’s claim that the mind lives after the heart stops. For 10 minutes thirty seconds, I think she said. I am still reeling with the thought. She might have been aware of me as I climbed on that hospital bed to lie beside her cadaver. She might have known my nearness and be unable to respond. Would it have made her sad?

We’re off out for tea and lunch later. A rare thing these days. To just sit and not plan. The next few weeks are busy – take the stillness when you can.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.