Shared Experience

Ellen writing (3)

This journal is an exercise in containment, experimentation and order. So many things – ten thousand things –┬áspin around inside my head and I need to get them down, be still with them for a while. For instance, we were walking one afternoon this week on the prom┬átalking about singles. You know, the old 45s. I used to play my father’s ones on a small dansette I had in my room as a child. I loved it. I remembered one called ‘Bony Moronie’. I gotta girl named Bony Moronie, it goes, she’s so thin, like a stick of macaroni. I can still recall the feel of them, the thrill when they dropped down under the stylus and the music came.

I found a dead squirrel down by the boat club early this morning. It had been left spread-eagled on the pavement. It seemed an ungracious act to leave it there, in the wind and rain. Dead but flying. Poor thing. What was it doing down by the harbour? There are no trees there. Had someone carried it there and deposited it on the ground? Why? Years ago I picked up a squirrel that had run into the road and been knocked by a car. It was still alive but in shock. It died in my arms. I was profoundly moved. Did I help its passing or hinder it?

I saw a hologram postcard of Jesus in a junk shop in Amsterdam eons ago. I’d like to find one again. He looked so peaceful.

Ah, the radio. Such a source of joy. I have to turn it off to write. I succumb to the silence, willingly but I miss the voices, that sense of belonging to something rich. There was a programme yesterday about the composer of light music Eric Coates. Apparently, he could only write once he had his tweed jacket on and a Sobranie cigarette in his hand.

The Shared Experience Theatre Company are doing a production of Hans Christian Andersen’s Little Mermaid. I have been lucky enough to see many of their productions. I yearn to see this one but time-wise it is tricky. They are physical, passionate, stripped-bare productions. They make me gasp. The Magic Toyshop and Bronte were particularly fine. The Little Mermaid gripped me as a girl. Love in silence and pain. Mermaid to maid. Then to loose it all and become sea foam and then spirit. I cried and cried, lingering on the illustrations for hours.

Death. 10,000 are feared dead. We do what we can. Pray for us, they say. Of, course. Always.

Life. Lauren Imogen Pool born last Friday. Seven pounds seven ounces. Bless her. I wish her a joyful life.

Life and death we straddle the both. Tightrope walkers balanced by grace.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.