The Bald Prima Donna

I leave notes for myself, usually of something, a word, phrase of title of a book that I heard on the radio. Sometimes these notes, generally tiny yellow post-it squares, sit on a page in my filofax (yes, I still have one, finding it preferable to putting such information into my phone) and either are responded to or get moved on till there is time to deal with them directly. The Bald Prima Donna note was written down after hearing a programme about Surrealist Theatre in which one of the contributors had said it was Ionescu’s best work. I loved The Chairs, both to read and to see (I saw it in the Ustinov studio in Bath a while back – how many years? Ten?) It is marvellous spare writing. The Theatre of the Absurd. If only I’d had the courage all those years ago…..Still it is in me, that training, those ideas have been ingested. They stay in me. And life, after all, is a compromise. I shall look the play out. One day.

I want a quiet day today. I shall need courage tomorrow. It will be my first review for them and writing about ceramics always makes me a little nervous. Do I know enough? Am I charlatan? I asked him pretty much that same question at breakfast. Should I be embarking on a project where the principal method of communication is wholly new to me? He said, of course. And I know this, I know that many artists use other people’s expertise to produce their work. It has been so for centuries. It’s a control thing and a fear thing. But if I am to break out of the smallness of my experience I need to reach out beyond, into the unknown. Isn’t that so? The ideas, the concept, the initiation and graft will be mine. Won’t that make it mine also?

Enough with the worrying. There is a cardigan to mend (much loved) then a pot of tea to make and then sewing to do. Nice. Today it is enough.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.