Deplaning – a short story

I was invited to read a piece of fiction on a segment called “The Write Lane” on the CBC Radio PEI show, Mainstreet with host Mitch Courmier.

We spoke a bit about how writing for a weblog differs from tradition creative writing. I chose to read from a work-in-progress short-story (that I secretly hope will turn into a novel) called Deplaning.

For your listening and reading pleasure:


13 thoughts on “Deplaning – a short story

  1. Steve – you sounded great! well done!

    its too bad they had to cut you short though, thanks for providing the rest of the story.

  2. I always thought ‘deplane’ came from the Fantasy Island TV series, where the little man would cry, “Deplane, deplane!” upon the arrival of the planeful of fantasy guests.

    Seriously though, I enjoyed listening to your work. If it becomes a “book” I could probably get into reading it.

  3. Something I forgot to mention: I wanted to record the piece, but I didn’t have a radio at work. RealAudio doesn’t let you record.

    So, I took advantage of the analog hole to get around RealPlayer’s “copy protection”. I plugged one end of a cable into the headphone jack, and the other end of the same cable into the line-in jack. While RealAudio send the signal out the headphone jack, another app recorded the input on the line-in jack.

    Not ideal for high-quality digital music, but fine for realaudio-encoded speech.

  4. I think the ferry used to use the word ‘disembarkation’, as in “ding-dong-ding: Please return to your vehicles in preperation for disembarkation”. While ‘disembark‘ might be a more correct/accepted word, I still remember ‘disembarkation’ sounding just as strange as ‘deplaning’.

  5. In England, I’m English, a “flight attendent” is still called an “air hostess”. Hostess has all the same connotations on this side of the pond as it has in North America, but in England we are about five years behind when it comes to political correctness.

    The shock of hearing the word ‘deplaning’ is probably greater since we are still grappling with that other alien concept namely the ‘flight attendent’. English Air Hostesses tend to wear skirts rather than trousers and they tend to be younger, this is changing but it an other area where we are trying to catch up.

    My question to you is this. If a male pilot and male flight attendent are similarly attired can you tell which is which immediatly? Or would you have to wait and see which seat they occupy on the plane?

  6. While I couldn’t catch the on-air piece, I did read the story; I like the idea and if it turned into a book, I’d definitely give it a read.

    Also, Analog Hole would be an excellent band name.

  7. The story reminds me alot of the posts on AOV. But keep in mind that a story is not a webtech culture weblog post.

    I should say I’m having a bit of trouble finding a way to say that the story isn’t terribly great without coming across like an arrogant ass.

    What’s the story about, by the way?

  8. Willem, I think a short-story can emulate the style of a “webtech culture weblog post”. This is something I was intentionally going for. That said, it doesn’t have to be everyone’s cup-of-tea (and I’m sure it does reflect my limited range as a writer). As for what it’s about: not much, yet. So far, I’m just working on establishing a character, style, and mood.

  9. I think you should mention ‘enplaning’. Its as contrived and ghastly a word as deplaning. I didn’t understand many of your paragraphs, the references were lost on me. Perhaps you want to limit yourself to a Canadian audience? I think you need to share some of your observations with other people, just to see how many of them strike a chord. Who knows people may come back with more interesting stuff that you can use. Another technique is to sit in the airport for half an hour, do nothing and then start drawing. Drawing helps you notice things.

    A place to kill time or a place to be killed? Post 9-11 airports are the only places in England you will see a policeman carrying firearms, you get quizzed very ineffectively by check in staff and the people manning the luggage scanners look bored. Other passengers often look furtive, in England we would say dodgy. I usually ‘enplane’ full of trepidation. Any story written in 2003 if it is to be about flying and airplanes should mention something about fear. I’m not quite sure in the story when you are in the aircraft nor when you are in the airport. If this really is your first flight why do you sound more jaded than excited?
    Hope this helps.

  10. I hate “deplaning” as a verb almost as much as I hate “parenting”. I wanted to buy Air Canada when it was up for sale, just so I could re-write those damn announcements. WestJet at least has fun with them and puts them in human language.

    (If I did buy Air Canada, I think I’d change its name to “Ill-Fated Airlines”. Think of all the free advertising we’d get whenever there was a crash anywhere in the world. “In other news, relatives of passengers on Ill-fated Flight 555 …”)

    Nice start to a promising story, Steven … and an interesting style …

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