{i wouldn’t change her story}

The Problem of Fiction

by Marie Ponsot

She always writes poems. This summer
she’s starting a novel. It’s in trouble already.
The characters are easy—a girl
and her friend who is a girl
and the boy down the block with his first car,
an older boy, sixteen, who sometimes
these warm evenings leaves his house to go dancing
in dressy clothes though it’s still light out.
The girl has a brother who has lots of friends,
is good in math, and just plain good which
doesn’t help the story. The story
should have rescues & escapes in it
which means who’s the bad guy; he couldn’t be
the brother or the grandpa or the father either,
or even the boy down the block with his first car.
People in novels have to need something,
she thinks, that it takes about
two hundred pages to get.

Read the rest of this poem here. There’s biting in it.

As a girl who bit (accidentally. Oh, come on. Honest. I didn’t mean to… much) the first boy I really, really liked, this one resonates for me.

Around Glasgow 019

Don’t these girls look like they’re characters in a story? I had so many questions as I passed. I wonder what happened next.

It’s just that time of year, where I am writing like mad, and reading like mad, and trying to make it all balance out. I love taking part in the Kidlitosphere, and being part of the Cybils community is important to me, but every year I think, “Can I do this again?” and I get just the tiniest bit frantic as I try to make it all pan out. But I’m in it – and I’m reading – and I’m writing like crazy. We’ll see what happens.

Poetry Friday today is brought to you by CAKE, polka dots, and the letter three, and can be found at Liz in Ink.

10 Replies to “{i wouldn’t change her story}”

  1. You’re the poet sorceress, Tanita! This is fabulous–I’ve never read it before. I especially love the ending, where she really reveals herself:

    Biting is embarrassing
    and wrong & she has no intention of doing it again
    but she would if he did if he dared,
    and there’s no story if there’s no hope of change.

  2. Wow. You find the best stuff, Tanita.

    I wouldn’t change her story either.

    I loved this part:

    “She can’t imagine that. Nothing
    she needs can be got; if it could
    she’d go get it” —

    Great stuff.

  3. Love this! I need to keep a copy to remind myself it’s only fiction and anything is possible.

    People in novels have to need something,
    she thinks, that it takes about
    two hundred pages to get.

    Are those girls standing outside a dance studio?

  4. “and there’s no story if there’s no hope of change”

    boy, ain’t it the truth, ain’t it the truth.

    so much pink on those girls. pink and black. and all that same bright shade of pink.

  5. How a biter who’s a writer found a poem about writing with biting in it is beyond me. Seems to be right up there with the cheese and the hair.

    And those girls in the photo…with the word “subculture” behind them. Yeah.

    Last of all, these lines:

    People in novels have to need something,
    she thinks, that it takes about
    two hundred pages to get.


  6. Biting? Did you say biting? You *must* provide details. Don’t tease us.

    I’ll take the polka dots and cake. Letter three? News to me :).

    Do you really read all the books? How is that possible? Do you review all of them, too?

    You are not human. I may just bite you myself to find out if you’re cheese.

    1. I read all the books I can get my hands on in the UK – which sometimes means I can’t get to five or so, because the publishers won’t send them, and they’re not at the library nor in the hands of any friends from whom I can beg, borrow, or steal.

      The list is up to 134 at last count, and remember: I have no TV. I read a lot anyway, and I’ve read some of these already, and it’s just fun to read in a group and whinge about things we wish the author would have done differently, and eagerly push each other to “read this one!” It’s a lot of fun.

      I do NOT review all of them – the ones I hate or to which I am largely indifferent don’t get any ink at all. We’re not required to do them all, but I like to do as many as I can.

      The cheese thing is only slightly less unlikely than Jack Lord’s hair having its own P.O. Box. Only slightly…

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