It took me all morning to sew a star, and even then I didn’t finish it. Does it matter? I sew and unpick it and get frustrated that something as simple as counting stitches seems to confound me. I want to get it right, even if it is only experimental. I think that the more I do the more I will learn and the patterns, the motifs will become ingrained in me. Becoming my language too. So it must be slow. It must be small. I am fastidious. Can I not accept it and see it as a good thing? And then William Stafford’s words come to me. And I am momentarily calmed. Such a wise man, a kind man, I think. He wrote everyday, rising at 3 to do so. I lean to such regularity of behaviour, I am the same. Every day. Write something every day. I want to sew. I cannot always say why. And I am trying to find my way through it, in it, beyond it even. It is the process, the slow building of image or word. (Words seem more comfortable with me.) I need to keep bringing myself to the cloth, as I need also to bring myself to the page. They are the same. Both equally slow, both awkward. Stafford talked about writer’s block saying that he wrote anyway, just not as well and accepted that (I paraphrase, of course). It is the flow of doing, no matter what, the getting stuff down. A pacifist, his son remembers his father telling him of an occasion as a child when two black kids were being bullied in the playground and his father rather than trying to fight the bullies he just went and stood beside the victims, in silent solidarity. Such bravery. We spoke of it, he and I, sitting in the sun later that day. We both remembered similar occasions at our own schools and both had wanted to intervene like Stafford did but lacked the courage. I wish I had. I wish I had.

I saw a shooting star this morning. The second I’ve seen, ever. It dived behind Constitution Hill. A great falling, fast and bright. A moment and then it was gone. Beautiful. Am I wrong to feel special for having seen it? Was it for me? Of course not. But I like to think so, for an instant.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.