Ellis Bell by Emma Wells

Pseudonyms offer a liberty of sorts – an inked nib stands readily poised to sign my manuscript: arduous yet fully loved is the toil of pages and fractious ink spill. My tattooed hands bear the mark of literary industry: bleeding folds of unspoken words.

I pause – deliberate – second-guess myself whilst inky royal-blue globules drip onto crisp pages, hovering below my eye-line. A smudgy meeting, betwixt two integral components, is forged.

Charlotte, she signs so assuredly, swiftly, without conscious thought or self-correction. Robotic. Painstakingly verbose, of the verbal variety, not merely the soft, scratchy noise that emits from my quill: no voice given to its holder at all. As I like it. As I choose.

I cannot be exposed as Charlotte.

Writing poems was, and still is, an inner sanctum: sacrilegious, silent, life-surging. It is an eagle in full flight, talons navigating heaths below its spread wings, soaring on uplifts, marvelling upon wild meadow flowers; the shrews that tumble from plains of golden wheat – tasty treats to feast upon at twilight supper.

A public exploitation of our craft demeans us –
a childhood venture commands privacy, privileged penmanship, protection. The worlds are ours. Not theirs. Not folly for the masses.

Glass Town, Angria and Gondal lie ransacked – peripheral castle walls demolished by prying, predatory eyes. Public disapproval washes upon fantastical coastlines, dulling waters, disturbing natural ebb and flow. Vivacious painting of these microcosms has become dimmed in her sway, washing colours from castles, forests and seas that we created in our canvas imaginations.

The once fictional, fragile beauty of our minuscule, fairytale worlds is lost, dissipating to dust in concrete hands. Tiny, bound books lie opened to the world – our calligraphy demurely fading thin, illegible with more burdensome time within membraned borders.

She delved and devilishly demolished all inner peace that I had fretfully gathered beneath my feet.


She forced locks. Moved freshly inked parchments. Visual time prints of the moors shifted. My prized poetry now reeks of sabotaging hands. A slight against me. Unforgivable intrusion.

I hate unravelling of secretive words, forms, exposed public screening and preening as if we are porcelain dolls upon a toyshop shelf to prod, assess and for the consumer to take as their own. Claiming literacy that they fail to understand. We are not dolls. ‘No coward soul is mine’, never echoed so strikingly in my thoughts as it does today.

A tawny, muted moor dweller cares not for gregarious greatness – let me merge, wholesomely instead, within unedited natural tones. Blend. Disappear in a raven’s shadow as she clutches the moon, tumbling hedonistically in heather, romping with no abandon upon The Moors. I am not for London and its limelight, and more pressingly, London is not for me. A brown shrew of a woman.

Currer is brazen, progressively more so. Particles of London’s hubbub have gripped onto the hems of her skirts, and she has brought metropolis grim and lacking morals back with her, sullying our clear, Yorkshire air.

How I miss her once quiet reserve. Jane Eyre has made her a household name. Damn her. Damn it. Each published page and embossed book cover. I hate any reference to Mr Rochester and his insipid Jane.

Rochester is now a fireside heartthrob: female readers swoon as they turn each seductive page. They long for such Byronic broodiness –
a sultry solidity to hang their fleshy weakness upon. Finding only weakness in the husband that lays next to them as they try to twist the pages into being. This is what she loves about the masses: turning their thoughts to the bent of her own. Swooning over Mr Rochester’s chiselled, well-worn attractiveness as greenish girls still brandishing childhood mittens.

Although, I find “she comes too short.” Charlotte. Pernicious “pelican daughters” – this we are.

The Bard captured and foretold our familial rivalry; we peck at each other’s corpulent hearts, locked as one within the parsonage walls.

Regan and Goneril’s venomous syntax echoes within our drawing room (Anne too pure
to be included in my disparagement) ...

Competitive rivalry spurs our creativity – forces it to subliminally climb...

Unreachable craftsmanship. Aloofness.

Branwell stands not a chance. Let him paint himself out: dissipating in rivers of insobriety... He tumbles on waves of unconsciousness, laudanum heavy, drugged to inaction and ineptness.

Charlotte cares little for his forked fate. She ignores the Devil’s calling at his sealed door. Each night he knocks more resoundingly than the preceding night before, his impatience growing by the very hour.

Give your readership what they seek: be bolder, braver, more Byronically bent.

I give the ravenous ravens my prize: Heathcliff.

Serve him very reluctantly to them on a platter under Charlotte’s instruction and heavy duress.

His heathen heresy shocks and appalls conservative readers.


Let their poised decorum squirm unsettlingly in fireside comfort. Hypocrisy laces, hanging itself upon each frigidly fingered page they turn. For this, my papery child, was never meant for them.

‘This is a strange book’; ‘its plot is ‘wild, confused, disjointed and improbable’ compose the bulk of published reviews – coldly-iced criticism infringe my novel’s sadistic sadness. Heathcliff chuckles at the disdain thrown upon him. Cares not for societal whims or views.

Is not love ‘wild’, ‘confused’, ‘disjointed’ and ‘improbable’? They miss its poignantly honed, tightly held mirror of realistic reflections.

I care little for its fame. Instead, I turn my head to the wilderness of the moors: my solemnity, sanity …salvation. My heartbeat home.

Heathcliff’s wild spirit greets and toys respectfully, with each, and every, adventurous step. His sheer recklessness emboldens, igniting my unconventional,
muscular rage.

‘‘I am Heathcliff’’ reverberates from each particle of cavernous heart space; wildness ensnares my footfalls; savage glances; barbaric inhalations of breath.

I scribble in frenzied circles, erasing the epitaph: ‘Ellis Bell’ upon the novel’s cover (a first edition). With no hesitation, or dove-feathered timidity, I securely gouge, in deep set strokes: ‘Emily Bronte’ into its flesh with my conscious nib, painting, and securing, my own literary future.

Emma won Wingless Dreamer’s Bird Poetry Contest of 2022 and her short story, ‘Virginia Creeper’, was selected as a winning title by WriteFluence Singles Contest in 2021.

Recently, Emma won
Dipity Literary Magazine’s 2024 Best of the Net Nominations for Fiction with a short story entitled ‘The Voice of a Wildling’.

Her poem ‘Rose-Tainted is the winner of the poetry category,
Discourse Literary Journal, February 2024 Issue.

She was shortlisted for her flash fiction writing, ‘Agnes Richter’, by

Her first poetry collection entitled
Reasons to…Evolve is soon to be published by Dipity Literary.