You, my imagined reader

Today’s offering is not a poem. It is perhaps a short story of sorts. I wrote it as I was putting my book together about 2 years ago. Writing is an incredibly solitary experience, and when the words are released into the wild the author loses any control over how they are understood or treated. I am lucky to have an audience that visits this blog and comes to the shows I am in. Every writer needs a reader!

Standing at my shoulder 

I imagine you at my shoulder, devouring each word as it they appear on the paper. I give you the extraordinary power to decipher my scrawl and bad spelling as my flow of consciousness descends onto the page. You see the meaning and understand my intent. 

Most of the time I want to draw you in, as if it’s only the two of us, lost in a misty work I’ve just imagined. A sacred shared space that cuts through the time and distance between us. Yes, I am trying to manipulate the space between us by making you feel part of the story – a companion through it all. I want your cheers to resound when victory is had, I want your sympathy tears as my mother re-dresses the deeply skinned knee and your patience over the long time it took to heal. 

My dear reader – I imagine you along for the ride. Too polite to say anything when I am clearly holding the map upside down. Standing with me at the barricades, strong in our convictions. I want you to feel a lifting relief when the story ends and we are still here, alive and able to breathe again. That is how I write – with you at my shoulder invited on the journey of an unfolding narrative- trusting that I can get us across the harbour to a tranquil mooring.  

That is the truth of it, most of the time. 

On the rare occasion though, I want you to recoil, to pull back in disgust, to leave me alone with just the words – unread / unreadable on a scrap of paper fated to be lost before its contents are converted into a colder electronic form. A fleeting idea, a debunked concept. 

And there are words so secret that I have locked them far away from you in deep catacombs bereft of light. The sort of words that feed monsters slowly over the decades. Those words I know well, they have surfaced in my consciousness many times. Thinking about their iron cages, I don’t know if you’ll ever be ready for even a heavily curated version. Could you handle the darkness that feeds dread and casts its shadow even in the brightest of light? 

Perhaps you will stay standing at my shoulder long enough, holding onto the hope that the words, when revealed, will enable you to finally make sense of everything. Bring you closer to your truth. Or perhaps you will lose patience, look up from my shoulder and see the summers’ day beckoning to you.  

For now I will continue to imagine you there,  exercising the super power I have bestowed on you and as a projected image of a younger self. 

Photo by Elizaveta Dushechkina on

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