We recently published Amy Slack’s nostalgic “Ways of Making History.”
Here, we ask her two questions about her story:
1) I love this moment you’ve created, this beautiful moment between these two, waiting for something that’s not going to happen. Or is it? Do you think that plane is going to crash?
I think we’ve all experienced that moment as a child when you are absolutely certain something is going to happen simply because you really, really want it to. I don’t think the plane is actually going to crash, nor do I think my characters want it to crash. They aren’t cruel, just bored and frustrated. They want to feel part of something bigger for a moment: to escape their boring present and imagine a future that excites them. Of course, for the speaker, that future doesn’t really have anything to do with the plane, but with the person sat beside them.
2) When I was a child, I loved to watch planes fly overhead — there was something so magical about them that you really capture here. Did you ever have something else in mind to create this moment, or was it always that plane flying low?
The first image that came to me wasn’t the plane, but a memory of one of those do-nothing summer holidays I experienced as a child, stuck in a place where nothing interesting ever seemed to happen and time felt like it stood still. At times like that, it can feel like your only escape is to let your imagination wander off and have adventures while you’re left with nothing to do but pluck at blades of grass.
Once I had that setting, the plane came into view. I grew up miles away from an airport, so planes were always tiny dots in the sky when they flew over our village. So, when I moved to university, I was surprised to see how low planes flew over the city as they prepared to land at the nearby airport. It just didn’t seem right. Those two memories – the boredom and the surprise – gelled together, and the piece came together from there.