Idonea Bell is a 23-year-old writer, library assistant and cat lady, not necessarily in that order. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University and spends most of her free time at the cinema or writing letters on her antique typewriter.
Idonea has been writing for as long as she can remember. As well as short stories, she is currently working on a novel that she started during her MA.
Q: If you could travel back in time, which of the great writers would you like to meet and why?
A: Franz Kafka. Having read a few of his diaries and letters, I feel we could share a lot of writerly angst! As a perfectionist myself, I find this diary entry particularly relatable: ‘December 2. Afternoon at Werfel’s with Max and Pick. Read “In the Penal Colony” aloud; am not entirely dissatisfied, except for its glaring and ineradicable faults.’
Q: Do you have a lucky writing talisman? If so, what is it?
A: No, unless you count notebooks. I can’t ever be more than a metre or two from a notebook and constantly have one open beside my laptop when I write – to take notes, visualise ideas and doodle exasperatedly when I hit a difficult patch.
Q: Do you have a favourite quote? (From a book, film, song, speech…)
A: ‘No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream.’ Not only is this a great quote, but reading it signals I’m revisiting my favourite novel, Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House for the umpteenth time.
Q: Is there a book that you keep going back to, and if so, how many times have you read it?
A: My books of fairy tales. Hans Christian Andersen is my favourite and an endless source of inspiration. I don’t know exactly how many times I’ve read my collection of his – I remember reading it over and over as a child, simultaneously frightened and enthralled by the stories.
Q: What superpower would you like to have and why?
A: I would love to be able to shapeshift. Writing is probably the closest I’ll get to living in someone else’s shoes, but I love the idea of physically transforming into a different person and just moving about the world.
Day two I dread to think how many flies I’ve swallowed since we came here. The air boils with them so that you can hardly breathe. They find their way through the mesh on the cabin windows. They swoop on uncovered food. Their corpses collect under lamps and in the plastic shells of ceiling lights. …