Re-Visioning the Hero, Chapter 1: Beginning with an End









Chapter 1: Beginning With an End
Re-Visioning the Hero, A Story From Sestina’s Chapel
Our seasoned hero
is meeting his new show’s creator,
the old show a victim
of a concerted attempt to destroy,
with intense public shame,
a longtime executive – known for his lack of empathy.

The meeting takes off on a note of empathy,
an uncharacteristic acknowledgement by Hero
that the unhappy throng’s capacity to shame
offered him a chance, as a seasoned ratings creator,
to star in this new show. One executive has been destroyed
but with Hero’s luck, he just may survive the unfortunate victim.

Cautiously our Hero inquires, Speaking of victims,
perhaps your multi-colored shirt signals some generous empathy –
I’m dying to know what, or who, will I be destroying
in this new plot of yours featuring me as the hero?
Ah, well, I’m doing something rather different, the Creator
replies. This plot includes neither victims nor shame.

Well, sputters the Hero, I wasn’t suggesting shame
had to be in the plot, but we definitely need a victim!
What kind of show are you, a celebrated creator
writing that lacks hooks needed to snag my audience’s empathy?
Tell me you know the importance of ratings! Our Hero
looks even more gray, visualizing his star legacy destroyed.

It’s an old paradigm I’m committed to destroying
this casting of underdogs with bullies to shame.
Yes… but then what about me? I’ll be unemployed! Our Hero
gasps. I’m not consigning you to the role of victim,
the Creator smiles, I’m giving you a chance to be empathy’s
hero! The Hero looked doubtfully at the Creator.

Is Empathy a woman? He inquires of the Creator.
No my friend, empathy repairs what has been destroyed.
The Creator explains, this show highlights the path from shame to empathy.
Hero grows agitated. Audiences won’t pay to see shame
skulking over to shake empathy’s hand! My audiences want victims
of love rescued in fast action clips of evil bullies vanquished by Hero!

The Creator laughs. So, you’d cast our audience as the bully to shame?
Let’s see – so the hero destroys the audience – but then who or what is the victim?
Wait, let me guess, it’s Empathy you’d cast to be rescued by you, our hero?

© Lori Fleming, 2014

Details on the Sestina poetic form.  Click for Chapter 2.


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