How awful the gap between the ‘authentic me’, the person you see when you look in my eyes, and the ‘me’ defined, confined by my peers, my achievements measured against my years.
How awful that gap, like the door left ajar to creak, inviting in a chilling breeze that dries eyes, cracks lips, so that tears of indignity are pointless and the humiliation of explanation hurts to speak.
How awful that gap, like a crevasse, deep and shocking, dizzying if I cared to stare down over its icy lip, to gauge the drop, to see how terrible the injury would be if I were to slip.
How awful the gap, and how hopeless my attempts have been to close it.
But that was then. I see now that you don’t need to heave that boulder that will leave you weak to fill that void, or to climb that rope that burns and cuts or traverse on a ladder that asks you to balance too much.
No. Find the paper, grasp the pen - an act of faith, and leap.
My poem ‘Writing is a leap of faith’ has been inspired by the extract from ‘Autobiographical Fragment’ by Charles Dickens. In the extract Dickens expresses ‘the secret agony of his soul’ when the reality of his situation of working in a rat infested warehouse is set in stark contrast to ‘his hopes of growing to be a learned and distinguished man’.
This sentiment struck a chord with me, as I have felt ‘the agony of my soul’ in relation to what I define in my poem as ‘the gap’ between ‘my authentic self’ and ‘the self’ measured and defined on society’s terms, and how exposed I have felt by this. The act of writing, becoming a writer, described as ‘the leap of faith’ in this poem has offered me identity on my terms. I no longer seek to close ‘the gap’ but rather have found my own way to traverse it. I can imagine myself in nightmarish dreams, like Dickens, looking back and shuddering at the awful thought I might not have found writing.
I have utilised the prose poem form to speak to the flow of Dickens’ narrative.
Anna Larner – Author of Highland Fling, Hooper Street, Love’s Portrait and Highland Whirl.
Finalist in the 2019 Foreword INDIES Book of The Year, 2019 Rainbow Awards and 2018 Golden Crown Literary Society Awards.
Featured in women.com, DIVA magazine, Gscene magazine, and Publishers Weekly.
Copyright © 2016 – 2022 Anna Larner.