I recently took a four-week storytelling class. Each of the five or so folks in the class would get rolling with their story, and inevitably, the facilitator, author and actor Matthew Taylor, would interrupt with the same question: “So, what is your story about?”

It seems like such a straight-forward ask, but the answer turned out to be rather elusive. Only with the support of Mr. Taylor and the group did we each hone our stories to their true cores.

For example, one student began telling the story of a squelched plan to use a dead dolphin in a prank against a rival dorm. Turns out, the story was really about friends, the types of characters with whom you’d consider lugging around a dead dolphin.

This turn-around happens all the time in songwriting. Just when I think I’m on to something, it occurs to me that I have no idea what the song is about. Many crossings out and cuts-n-pastes later, there might be only one verse and a meager chorus remaining, but at least they’re both pointing in the same direction.

TANGENT: I contemplated getting into a discussion of poetry, and how I mostly don’t get it, and how weird that is for a songwriter to not understand poetry, and how poetic lyrics are usually the most beautiful, but that is NOT what this blog is about. Moving on.

My latest song, Wonder Girl, is a case in point. I nearly ran to the basement last Friday, clutching my hook book and dragging my guitar, with a brimming idea and a heart churning with worry and emotion. I needed to process something real, something visceral – perfect songwriting weather.

At first, I just started barfing out all my feelings, intentionally letting my mind and heart meander over my worries. Obtuse, incomprehensible mush scribbled out of my pen.

I picked up my guitar and played some pathetic chord progressions, trying out strumming and fingerpicking and getting pretty much everywhere and nowhere.

Then, it occurred to me that I had no idea what the song was about. I had no end point and no directions to get there. Luckily, I’ve been at this long enough to stop right there and get clear.

Now’s when I am so very tempted to tell you what the song is about, but I’m not going to. I’ll let you decide for yourself. Then comment!!

Wonder Girl
Words and music by Melissa Monforti, 2017

Why can’t I see you, Wonder Girl
In your power pose with your shiny boots on?
Where are you hiding?

When the moon eclipsed the sun, Wonder Girl
I looked into the sky with my solar goggles.
I didn’t see you anywhere.

Rare diamond, blinding all the world
She is a wonder, she is a wonder to behold
But don’t get too close

What is your mission, Wonder Girl
Under your armor and behind your breastplate?
Make me your sidekick.

There is a legend, Wonder Girl,
Written in the ancient books of the old star gazers.
They say you can fly right to the sun.

Rare diamond, blinding all the world
She is a wonder, she is a wonder to behold
But don’t get too close

I wonder, wonder
Wonder Girl
I wonder, wonder, wonder
Wonder Girl

Won’t you show me, Wonder Girl
What is you master plan? Take me to your leader.
What planet are you from anyway?

Come rescue me, Wonder Girl
Use your power pose, use your secret weapon.
Fly me to outer space with you.

Rare diamond, blinding all the world
She is a wonder, she is a wonder to behold
But don’t get too close

I wonder, wonder
Wonder Girl
I wonder, wonder, wonder
Wonder Girl

What the hell is this song about? Tell me what you think. Comment below.