Re-Visioning the Hero, Chapter 2: Shame to Empathy











Chapter 2: Shame to Empathy
Re-Visioning the Hero, A Story From Sestina’s Chapel

It’d be suicide to ignore the demands of our audience! Hero
declares. You forget they wield power you creators
rely on for street cred and profits. Creator laughed, worthiness
of my vision will never rest on how an audience’s taste revolves.
The truth is, one does not force or take real power.
Real power is created, built with others, often through empathy.

True power can come from empathy?
His back-packed load groans while the thought puzzles our Hero.
In truth, he has always appeased the Head Office powers
surrendering his role as personal creator
in a fright-filled pawning of his identity’s evolution.
Thwack! Tar and feathers mount a vicious attack on his self-worth

Hero feels himself sinking, quite trapped and unworthy.
Creator, seeing Hero’s demeanor, feels a surge of empathy –
He remembers shame-filled spells while evolving
his own formulaic, mythical journey. He bets Hero’s
no different. What do you feel just now? asks Creator
Hero sighs considering – like I have no choices or power.

The audience, the studio heads, their power
dominates. I’m just a sell-out, quite unworthy
to be anyone’s true hero. You’re more than that! Creator
says, though it’s you who needs to see yourself with empathy.
Slow and quiet Creator asks, Is it true? Is it true Hero
that you have no choice? That you cannot evolve?

The office is silent while Hero’s thoughts revolve
around the question of where his own choice’s power
might await the chance to fuel something different. Hero
starts to speak, then is quiet again. It was worth
that extra moment of quiet, because his own empathy’s
light slips through a crack, serving as new hope’s creator.

Perhaps to evolve my own lack of hope? Yes! Creator
beamed. Ever had a ‘no hope to hopefulness’ evolution?
See how shame says you ‘are’ hopeless, while empathy
suggests you only ‘feel’ hopeless? Your personal power’s
development begins with cultivating your own self-worth.
There is where you become your own ‘shame to empathy’ hero.

Hero questions, How can I be a creator while beholden to Head Office’s power?
What if my evolution requires forfeiting their dollars toward my net worth?
I don’t need empathy to know the Head Office will simply buy another hero.

© Lori Fleming, 2014

Details on the Sestina poetic form.  Link to Chapter 1 or Chapter 3.


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