Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Tell Me A Story

Tell me an unforgettable story

Start it out when all seems lost
when the heroine is on the brink
crushed by her own conspicuous flaws
battered by external threats
then somehow she beats the odds
prevails by her own hand
and lands a happy ending

But not so fast
while you’re at it
your unforgettable story must be
filled with losers and rogues
Admit it, her antagonists need
torn clothes and rotten smells
so let us hear their sneering distain
for our dominant culture
If she can‘t attract villains
help her find them
Your story should hint
of a slim chance they’ll defeat her,
until she asserts her true self and
dispatches them with cunning and pluck

Imagine a sound track
for your unforgettable story
picture a bard with a lute
and green tights
one of those Ren Faire types
who are better suited for third person ballads
than living their own emotional truth

In this unforgettable story
show us her flawed parents
how they celebrate her triumph
and finally manage unconditional respect
to go with that unconditional love
they’ve affected for years
When she earns her redemption
let’s make them stop asking
are you seeing anyone special?

Tell me an unforgettable story
where the guy we want her to be with
starts out really flawed
we’ll want to like him anyway
but first we need him to change
like in those vapid Disney films
where she fixes him right on cue

Your story can’t be over
until our heroine has kicked some serious ass
and the happily-ever-after starts
It’s only then, when she gets her man
on her own terms without the help of others
the plot point being her personal triumph happens first
it’s only then we can relax

Remember, she doesn’t need him to be successful,
but once she’s tasted her own success
she wants him at some level
and most of us are okay with that

Can I make it easy for you?
Tell me an unforgettable story
where the boy gets the girl
or even better,
where the girl gets the boy
make it so he’s totally cool
with her power
and make the girl you

~ J. D. Mackenzie

(inspired by Kristen McHenry's NaPoWriMo prompt #21 Perfectly Flawed)


  1. Taking notes while reading - expect Chapter 1, first draft in a decade or so...
    Exceelent post!

  2. The girl always gets the boy, even when he's chasing her! This plot could go places, JD.

  3. "who are better suited for third person ballads
    than living their own emotional truth"

    Hey! I resemble that remark.

  4. I think you are just over identifying with the green tights Ron!

  5. Losers & rogues make the world go round.

  6. Terrific poem: It tells me all the things the creative writing courses I've taken did, but in a much more interesting way! Creative, in fact...

  7. Great poem! I especially like the last stanza.

  8. JDM,
    Excellent, excellent poem!

  9. I love this poem! Your illustration of the characters and their flaws was spot-on, and your repetition of the line "Tell me a story" was really effective. Great work!

  10. Wonderful story, JD, and I truly love the ending!