Although it seems insignificant, I deleted a story today, one that was 40+ pages. Not because it was a lesser story, but because I am incapable of the subtlety needed to capture the bittersweet dread and optimistic anticipation of each of my days.
Each fall, I look back and remember when a plane crashed where I lived. It could have easily zeroed me out in a blink. The story I wrote involved Joe Frasca, the dead pilot, visiting me, much in the way Scrooge had visitors from the past and future.
In the story, Joe Frasca did not waste his time telling me to use my allotted time wisely.
Instead, he told me that the only authentic life is one that’s observed, felt, and experienced, regardless of location. We focus so much on the Kodak moments, the vistas snapped in impersonal pictures and the adrenaline-laced remnants of activity that we forget that every single moment of our lives is a solitary window observing everyone and everything around us.
That Joe was an expert stunt pilot and saw the world from one of the best viewpoints possible isn’t lost on me.
I forgot that the pilot was engaged at the time of his death. Someone sent me a link to a blog post his sister wrote. After reading it, I realized that the lessons he did actually leave me with aren’t mine to fictionalize. One day, if I am capable, I will revisit the story, in the same way that I still look to the sky, wondering about the other universe floating above us.