We recently published Alex Grejuc’s delightful “The Sky’s the Limit.”
Here, we ask him two questions about his story:
1) I love that the adults are hit the hardest when the sky falls — of course, because they’re taller than the children, but also because they’re less adaptable. Do you think they ever got used to it?
I do! In the final sentence, the children and the adults are no longer treated as separate characters. In part because some of the kids grow up, but new children are always being born, they don’t cease to exist. The joint terms—the people, humanity—refer to a union between these groups. The sky rises, it moves in the direction that the adults are used to, while leaving quite a bit of space for the new world that the children love. As a joint group, they find a new harmony, which is necessary because the children were only able to be so joyful due to the older folks bearing the brunt of the disaster.
In the beginning, the adults tried to coerce their spectacles (the ones for their eyes, but also their landmarks and institutions) to fit the new world. In the end, they stop resisting. They don’t construct new billboards, perhaps because they have relearned to gauge life with their experiences instead of their stock prices. And the children are not only concerned about, but also have a say in a playful yet practical matter that affects everyone: which lampshade to put on the sun.
2) A world without billboards and trees that snake like vines! Do you think there is anything you would miss in a world where the sky has fallen like this?
Of course! I am not sure what happens to the mountains in this world, but I would miss hiking on them, camping on them, and seeing them from afar if they were pulverized. Also, part of the wonder of earthly cycles is that they happen regardless of what we do, that we all experience rather than create them (although our impact on the climate is changing that). In this new world, sunset requires human intervention. That opens up a space for expression and creativity, but it also becomes a potential outlet for manipulation, power struggles, greed, and many other human vices. The story ends peacefully. I hope that the people recognize that their peace is not self-perpetuating, that they need to nurture it.