Writing Stories

My knee is giving me jip. It’s the knee I bruised when I fell. It is healing for it itches at night, a sure sign but it is stiff and awkward. I walk anyway, sometimes with my trusty stick to guard me from further tumblings and sometimes not. The Pelican Bakery is open again – thank the lord – and its smells delight me once more, as did the large fishing vessel I saw down in the harbour, lit up like a christmas tree. There were two young lads on the beach beside a raging fire – the aroma of burning wood is such a comfort, as is the sight of the flames in this dark blackness. The starlings under the pier were chattering awake as I strode past. And another bird called out from across the invisible water – I don’t know what it was, a curlew, a guillemot or an oystercatcher? I also heard the screech owl as I walked down St David’s Road – its cry more like a wooo than a twit twoo. I don’t want to walk these mornings, the cold and ice are not welcoming but when I see and smell and hear the world in this liminal space it is worth it.

And as I walk I write stories in my head. They are cooking away in there. I want to give them life on paper but for the moment I enjoy being with them as they are – small embryos of possibility.

She’s still in hospital after over two weeks. Poor love, she cried over the phone. It doesn’t suit her. She is a tender soul. And then I find out that that isn’t her name and then she is so much older than I’d previously thought. I want to do what I can. Send her a bag of things as succour. I wish I could go and see her. Just to hold her hand and make it better.

The other night I dreamt that a woman was preparing a home for me, a basement room with now windows but one that was flooded in white light (even though her son had broken the light). Then last night I walked through a house with old wooden panelling, a beautiful house but there was no furniture, it was empty and yet I’d known it full. I remember the textures. And I dreamt of a pizza. It was because of what her daughter had said about hospital food. ‘We don’t eat pizza,’ she’d said.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.