I woke from a heavy dream. A dream in which someone had brought me an aquarium, the design (they showed it to me in a what looked like an Argos catalogue) of which was hideous and lumpen, but what could I say? I tried to think about the pleasure and peace I may get from watching the fish swim back and forth (poor captured loves). Then there was talk of sea monsters (I was with a group of women) and they were there before us, alive, yellow and orange, half-men, half-fish, Poseidon-esque, and they are really there in the deep waters waiting for us, one of the women said. I had to walk through a deep dark street to get to this house of women, there were no streetlights and there was fog. I could hardly see where I was placing my feet. When I arrived I was told there was to be a party later that day and would I go. I surprised myself and said yes, but said that I wanted to read before then. What I am not sure. Then I was making this huge bed with the women watching me (R was there certainly) as were the sea monsters. Corner after corner I tucked in. They were the old fashioned blankets with satin tops. Do you remember them? Mum and Dad were involved. I think I was returning to them after the party. It would be late. Was I worrying about letting them know? So much imagery. Some from things I’ve read, crossword clues, things I heard people say on the radio. The unlit streets and the fog is where I am with my work. Going forward, or at least trying to, in the dark. I must do it. I must see it through. But I am scared. Of what? Of failure, of stumbling of being found wanting. Do it for yourself. Better than not doing it, eh?

The stories on From Our Own Correspondent yesterday were heart-rending. Here I am ‘playing-hungry’ with my fast and there are real people, working people, academics, starving with young children on the streets of Bogota having being evicted from their homes in Venezuela. What can we do? What would we do if they came to us? And then the final piece, by someone called Nick Bryant, I think, and his essay to his newborn daughter Honor. Or is it Honour? A homage to the America he once knew. And his saying to her that her white skin is a sign of privilege, that she won’t be stopped by the police and assumed guilty the way of person of colour is. Ah me. I feel my own inner racism, I don’t want it, I don’t own it but I know it is there. I don’t listen to their stories when I should. I feel the difference, know it but don’t want to. We are the same. How long will it take us to know this and make it alright? All equal. All the same. And be kind, be compassionate, be merciful. A heavy day. Let there be some light at the end of that tunnel.

Breakfast of rice and Mrs Gaskell. Soon she will die. And I shall miss her. As I miss her. Eight years ago today. May you rest in peace, always.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.