From Short Story to Novel

Aeroplane City came about in a process.

My novel, Aeroplane City has come from a short story written in the 1990s, inspired by a song name from the 1980s. My short story was inspired by the desire to give something unique to a friend.  What gift could I give that money could not buy? Writing was my youth outlet. At the time I was the front man for a band.  With the right inspiration, words would pour out of me. 

The thought crossed my mind.  At the time I was working in a white-collar industry. I was not a college grad and this held me back from higher wage roles.

One account of mine was a lender. An age appropriate lady worked there. We had a connection. She was a lady of position. She boasted of a recent date that rented out an ice arena to skate. This gave me serious pause but I was young. Who can tell a young man he can’t be determined? I had been listening to a song while driving to a softball game after work. Imagery struck me beyond the song’s intended meaning. The song is Aeroplane City. When it hit a certain note and left me in a state-of-mind I can only express as ‘elevated’. The lyrics that left me inspired were, “Aeroplane City lovesong coming over me…”

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A Name Inspired by A Name

That was it! I’d write her a short story about what I envisioned as Aeroplane City.

In my mind’s eye, I saw a romantic place. Beautiful and different. I saw a city you could only reach by airplane, or… aeroplane. It was clear to me. This city was a place I would need to create. I did.

Soon I was penning away after work. The office was closed. I sat in the conference room in the dark looking out over a highway without any distractions. No. I didn’t sit tapping away listening to the Blow Monkeys. The title played its part. I was on my way with my own vision of Aeroplane City.

It was late spring, becoming summer. My story took me less than two weeks to complete. I held it with pride. I kept printed sheets in my back pocket. When I saw her next it was finished. Rather than overwhelm her, I gave her two pages.  It ended up as thirty-eight pages.

I still have an original bound copy. She didn’t read the two pages. I learned that when she told me days. When I asked what she thought of it and that was her response, I saw her for what she was. She wasn’t interested. I immediately told myself she may have been the inspiration but I had something I was proud of.

An Inspiring Lady

You may be asking what happened with her? I always remembered her name. I remembered her the way a young heart should. A year or two later she gave me my chance for a date. However, she was still the same girl. She had her eyes on another man and I was of little interest. She accepted a date for me to cook her dinner as she had a young boy around the age of seven.

I brought my signature dish ingredients and no sooner was I preparing the vegetables and attempting to involve her son in the experience the phone rang. It was her ex. A VP of a bank and in her own words he was an alcoholic. The phone call was going on for five minutes. It became clear, this was not just any ex. She was in love with the guy. For my part, I thought “Here we go again. I’m the better man and the girl will pick the broken guy instead.” It taught me in an instant, class doesn’t come from money. It comes from how you respect yourself.

It was insult not anger that made me understand.

I was under thirty. I wasn’t worried about who I could date next. I had become a VP of an Internet company myself. I wasn’t setting the world on fire, but I was doing well for myself. Well. I believed in myself. I didn’t like being single, but I wasn’t insecure. I was a young man filled with pride. It was a train of thought that ran through me in seconds.

I didn’t need to play the evening out. My dignity was worth more than going through the motions of cooking, being polite, and letting her say she was sorry, leaving me in a friend zone speech. It took seconds. While she walked from the room to seclude herself in a more private conversation, I packed up the food and walked out. For a young man who consistently lost out on the girls I wanted, it felt good to know I choose my fate.

How Did It End With The Girl?

This story has a second ending. Five years later I was married. I had a son with a second child on the way. My wife was an extremely driven woman. Very smart and formidable in every way.

It was at this time I had pulled up to a light in Greenville Delaware. Greenville is Delaware’s upscale area. It only made sense if I would ever see her again, it would be in Greenville.

She pulled up next to me at the light and chatted me up. I won’t presume she was interested in reconnecting but it felt as if she had an interest in knowing me again.
It was just that feeling you get when you talk to someone. She said she was living on her own nearby. It was that tone a woman uses when they want you to know they are available. It ended abruptly with me announcing I was married and the light changing.

Yes. It felt good at the time to be vindicated. I was not smug. I recall that moment vividly. I believed that for the rest of my life I would be loved. I would never be in her situation. Life is unpredictable. I crossed my fingers I was safe.

There is more to the evolution of Aeroplane City. That’s a story for another post. Inspiration is a wonderful thing. It can come from love, a muse, pain — it can even come from hunger.  What has inspired you? Have you ever been inspired to reach for something or create something? It’s a great way to feel purpose in life.


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