A Young Author’s Letter, or Positive Input for the Flight Crew

31 Jul

100 words for Friday Fictioneers, a hangar full of writers, each with a wrench in one hand and instructions from their muse in the other. The maintenance crew chief for the gang is Rochelle Wisoff-Fields, whose photograph also serves as the inspiration for the stories. You will find them lined up and ready for takeoff here.

Yes, this is a true story. Would I lie? (My thanks to Nicola, wherever she’s writing now.)

 

Nicola's letter picture

(Copyright Rochelle Wisoff-Fields)

“May I borrow a piece of paper and a pen?” asks the little girl seated next to me.

“What’s your name, sweetheart?”

“Nicola, sir.”

I dig into my briefcase.

“What are you going to do with them?”

“Write a letter to the captain.”

“She writes every chance she gets,” explains her mother from the aisle seat. “Says she wants to be a novelist when she grows up.”

Much later, courtesy of the internet and a pilot with a sense of humor who followed instructions, I got to read the letter.

 

Nicola nailed it.

 

 

Nicola's letter

69 Responses to “A Young Author’s Letter, or Positive Input for the Flight Crew”

  1. rochellewisoff July 31, 2014 at 8:40 am #

    Dear Doug,

    Nicola is a precocious child, isn’t she? I think she’s well on her way to becoming a writer. The world better watch out for her because I don’t think anything’s going to stand in her way.

    I love the way you worked her letter into a complete story. You made me choke on my coffee. You made me laugh.

    Congrats on the recent PDGA win. .

    Shalom,

    Rochelle SDILY

    • dmmacilroy July 31, 2014 at 10:51 am #

      Dear Rochelle,

      You are a fruitcake, you and your matching socks…

      Thanks for the kind words and the congrats. First time I’ve been a state champion on the professional side of the card.

      Aloha,

      Doug

  2. draliman July 31, 2014 at 10:38 am #

    Lovely story, and a very sweet letter – until the end, where it seems Nicola’s childish innocence abruptly disappeared!

    • dmmacilroy July 31, 2014 at 10:49 am #

      Dear Draliman,

      She’s obviously Australian. The flight was a Quantas Airlines one. Thanks for reading and commenting. Next week will be better. (nowhere to go but up.)

      Aloha,

      Doug

  3. ZombieSymmetry July 31, 2014 at 11:02 am #

    Oh wow! Hah hah! Didn’t see that coming! 😀

    • dmmacilroy August 2, 2014 at 10:34 am #

      Dear ZS,

      Thanks for reading and commenting.

      Aloha,

      Doug

  4. wmqcolby July 31, 2014 at 11:13 am #

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 😀 😀 😀

    I have nothing to say.

    • dmmacilroy August 2, 2014 at 10:35 am #

      Dear Kent,

      You’re making me smile. Thanks.

      Aloha,

      Doug

  5. Maree Gallop July 31, 2014 at 11:35 am #

    Ha! A funny story, the ending shocked me. Though, I don’t think she’d be Australian, we don’t use that type of language over here!!

    • dmmacilroy July 31, 2014 at 11:48 am #

      Dear Maree,

      Sorry to unintentionally disparage the Australians. The story goes that it was a Quantas flight. Hard telling, not knowing. Thanks of reading and commenting.

      Aloha,

      Doug

  6. Lynda July 31, 2014 at 11:48 am #

    Your ending was a shocker! 😀 Very good!

    • dmmacilroy July 31, 2014 at 11:51 am #

      Dear Lynda,

      I’ll bet Nicola’s letter caused what felt like turbulence as the pilot laughed his butt off… Thanks for reading and commenting.

      Aloha,

      Doug

      • Lynda July 31, 2014 at 11:54 am #

        Without a doubt, Doug!

  7. elmowrites July 31, 2014 at 12:00 pm #

    Laughing out loud here, Doug! Loved the letter and the story. Just one question – if she does this all the time, how is it her first flight? Never mind, I can think up answers to my own question while I wrestle the Prawn into his clothes…

    • dmmacilroy July 31, 2014 at 12:23 pm #

      Dear Jennifer,

      Writes! She writes all the time. You look awesome in your Prawn wrestling outfit, by the way. Thanks for dropping by.

      Aloha,

      Doug

    • miq August 1, 2014 at 12:27 pm #

      I had the same question, a reread got me on track that writing letters is what she does all the time, not flying…but my first impression was definitely, wait, first flight?

      • dmmacilroy August 2, 2014 at 10:40 am #

        Dear Miq,

        Ian Fleming gave birth, I think, to the following saying…”Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, three times is enemy action.”

        In light of yours and Jennifer’s comments I’m going to reread my composition and try to get past the ‘I know what I mean’ aspect of it and get it written more clearly.

        Thanks so much for letting me know where your train of thought got derailed. As Walt Kelly’s Pogo was fond of saying, “We have met the enemy and he is us”, or in this case, me.

        Aloha,

        Doug

    • dmmacilroy August 2, 2014 at 10:47 am #

      Dear Jennifer,

      Thanks to you and Miq (see my comment to her below) I have edited for effect. I appreciate your discerning eye and unwavering attention to detail.

      Aloha,

      Doug

      • dmmacilroy August 2, 2014 at 10:47 am #

        Or above, as per WordPress’ likes….

      • miq August 2, 2014 at 1:54 pm #

        I just reread your piece. I thought it was much more clear, and I don’t think you lowered your dialogue’s quality with the change.

      • elmowrites August 4, 2014 at 9:46 pm #

        Heaven knows where this reply will end up, but I agree with Miq (again!) – you’ve removed the slight jolt without reducing the quality of the writing. Like I say, I had a couple of explanations in my head that worked (my favourite being that previous instances had included letters to bus drivers, ferry pilots etc) but taking out the query makes reading flow more easily, so I think it’s an improvement. Not that I ever want reading to be too easy… 😉

  8. Sandra July 31, 2014 at 12:51 pm #

    A real screen-sprayer of an ending. I’ll just go get the kitchen towels and clean up a bit. 😦

    • dmmacilroy August 2, 2014 at 10:41 am #

      Dear Sandra,

      Thanks for laughing. I was kind of at a loss for this photo and could not get Nicola’s letter out of my head. I appreciate your stopping by to read and comment.

      Aloha,

      Doug

  9. Sarah July 31, 2014 at 1:04 pm #

    This was priceless, Doug! That last bit made me laugh out loud. ~Sarah

    • dmmacilroy August 2, 2014 at 10:48 am #

      Dear Sarah,

      Thanks. laughter works for me.

      Aloha,

      Doug

  10. waitingforaname July 31, 2014 at 1:23 pm #

    Priceless! I hope she’s still writing, but I’ll be sure to preread her books before handing them to my children! 😉

    • dmmacilroy August 2, 2014 at 10:49 am #

      Dear Lisa,

      She’s out there somewhere and I hope she’s writing still.

      Thanks for dropping by.

      Aloha,

      Doug

  11. patriciaruthsusan July 31, 2014 at 1:32 pm #

    Doug, Really cute story and note. That end doesn’t actually shock me. Kids pick up that kind of language not only in homes where it’s used, but at school from other kids. One child shocked teachers with his knowledge until it was discovered that his dad had the Playboy channel, and didn’t think of restricting it on his son’s TV set in his bed room. Parents have to be very alert to those things. Well written. 🙂 —Susan

    • dmmacilroy August 2, 2014 at 10:50 am #

      Dear Susan,

      Parents often think they will be able to filter out the real world and raise their children in a vacuum when in reality, their children often learn all the bad words from their parents.

      Thanks for reading and commenting.

      Aloha,

      Doug

  12. Björn Rudberg (brudberg) July 31, 2014 at 6:48 pm #

    I think Nicola got the gist in the purpose of the captain.. It’s all about take-off and landings.. I’m sure Nicola will be writing to FF soon.

    • dmmacilroy August 2, 2014 at 10:55 am #

      Dear Bjorn,

      I hope she does, Bjorn. A little turbulence is a good thing. I thank you for dropping by to read and comment.

      Aloha,

      Doug

  13. aliciajamtaas July 31, 2014 at 8:38 pm #

    This is a charmer! Words and illustrations alike. Lovely, Doug.

    • dmmacilroy August 2, 2014 at 10:58 am #

      Dear Alicia,

      I’m glad you enjoyed it. My story is really only an introduction to Nicola’s letter. I have it on good authority that she is real and the letter is authentic. Thanks for stopping by to read and comment.

      Aloha,

      Doug

  14. singleworkingmomswm July 31, 2014 at 9:11 pm #

    Well, this had me chuckle at my desk out loud! I’m so glad I didn’t read ahead to see the end of her letter before it truly hit me. What a great story for such an appropriate prompt! XOXO-Kasey

    • dmmacilroy August 2, 2014 at 10:59 am #

      Dear Kasey,

      I love that the story and letter made you laugh. Target hit. Thank you.

      And thanks for reading and commenting.

      Aloha,

      Doug

  15. high five and raspberries August 1, 2014 at 9:45 am #

    .I am glad the pilot took her advice! Good chuckle to start my day.

    • dmmacilroy August 2, 2014 at 10:59 am #

      Dear Patricia,

      Happy to help.

      Aloha,

      Doug

  16. Chris August 1, 2014 at 11:02 am #

    I was reading along thinking ‘Oh this is nice’, then at the end my thoughts turned to ‘Oh…oh crikey’ – accompanied with a cheeky inside chuckle.

    • dmmacilroy August 2, 2014 at 11:00 am #

      Dear Chris,

      Crikey, indeed. Thanks for reading and commenting.

      Aloha,

      Doug

  17. rgayer55 August 1, 2014 at 11:02 am #

    Foster Brooks better be glad she wasn’t on his plane. She’d have straightened him out, that’s for sure. Great advice for pilots everywhere.

    • dmmacilroy August 2, 2014 at 11:02 am #

      Dear Russell,

      I hope all of the pilots on my future flights get the landings right. Soft, smooth and slow, thank you. I appreciate you reading and commenting.

      Aloha,

      Doug

  18. miq August 1, 2014 at 12:29 pm #

    I loved the letter! And could only imagine you scribbling the words down and doodling the airplane. And like everyone else, the last line had me chuckling!

    • dmmacilroy August 1, 2014 at 3:00 pm #

      Dearest Miq,

      The letter is purportedly real, found on the internet in the way of those things. If that is so then Nicola is real and my imagining of the moment she penned the letter served as my story. The truth is out there somewhere.

      Thanks for reading and commenting.

      And very nice to see you again.

      Aloha

  19. Alice Audrey August 1, 2014 at 4:34 pm #

    LOL! I love her last line.

    Yes, we are giving up control to the pilot, but we take the same risks anytime we are passengers. I trust most pilots more than most drivers.

    • dmmacilroy August 2, 2014 at 11:04 am #

      Dear Alice,

      Roger that. I used to train submarine pilots so I think I know a little about what goes into the training of an airline pilot. I trust them all by and large.

      Thanks for reading and commenting.

  20. Dreamer of Dreams August 1, 2014 at 8:31 pm #

    Loved your story, Doug! What a precocious kid she is and what a firebrand she’s going to turn out to be!
    I like how you worked the letter into your story. Well-done!
    ~Vijaya

    • dmmacilroy August 2, 2014 at 11:05 am #

      Dear Vijaya,

      Thanks for such a nice comment. I appreciate you stopping by to read.

      Aloha,

      Doug

  21. Claudia August 1, 2014 at 9:02 pm #

    Super job with getting an unexpected smile from the reader! No way was I prepared for the child’s last line!

    • dmmacilroy August 2, 2014 at 11:05 am #

      Dear Claudia,

      Timing is everything, no? Thanks for reading and commenting.

      Aloha,

      Doug

  22. Perry Block (@PerryBlock) August 2, 2014 at 2:34 am #

    Now that’s funny and quite a kicker after what I already thought was going to be just a nice little homey story. I sympathize with little Nicola (and often talk like her) because I remember the days when passengers on a plane used to applaud if the pilot managed a smooth landing. Now, of course, we expect nothing less! Very well-done story, Doug, and I hope Nicola grows up and marries into my family.

    • dmmacilroy August 2, 2014 at 11:08 am #

      Dear Perry,

      I know what you mean. If I thought it would help I’d take a collection before every flight and personally deliver it to the cockpit. I hope Nicola’s genes join your family’s somewhere in the future. Thanks for reading and commenting.

      Aloha,

      Doug

  23. Joanna (Lazuli Portals Trilogy) August 2, 2014 at 10:34 am #

    Hilarious, Doug! I wonder what she’s writing now? Perhaps she writes as she flies the plane… with her toes. 😉

    • dmmacilroy August 2, 2014 at 11:09 am #

      Dear Joanna,

      As long as she gets it down safely…

      Thanks for reading and commenting.

      Aloha,

      Doug

  24. misskzebra August 2, 2014 at 10:35 am #

    This sounds like it would definitely make its way to buzzfeed, and comments would range from LMAO to ones that pour vitriol on the mother for letting her write something like that.

    • dmmacilroy August 2, 2014 at 11:11 am #

      Dear Lauren,

      Shows the importance of editors, no? Or perhaps proofreading. I’m not sure. Either way, I’m glad Nicola’s letter survived and made it out onto the web-o-sphere.

      Thanks for reading and commenting.

      Aloha,

      Doug

  25. Horus August 2, 2014 at 10:41 am #

    It might be her first flight but Nicola sure is a pretty well informed kid! 😀

    • dmmacilroy August 2, 2014 at 11:12 am #

      Dear Horus,

      They learn a lot at an early age now, eh?

      Thanks for reading and commenting.

      Aloha,

      Doug

  26. MythRider August 2, 2014 at 2:10 pm #

    Doug,

    You got a literal chuckle out of me and a great big smile. Thanks.

    Phyllis

  27. znjavid August 2, 2014 at 2:22 pm #

    Haha, is that seriously a true story? Made me laugh.

  28. lingeringvisions by Dawn August 2, 2014 at 7:03 pm #

    Hilarious!
    Thanks.

  29. patrickprinsloo August 3, 2014 at 12:46 pm #

    Sentiments we probably all share. Great fun.

  30. Weltchysnotebook August 3, 2014 at 2:36 pm #

    Good intro to the letter, which in itself is absolutely hilarious

  31. Nan Falkner August 3, 2014 at 7:38 pm #

    Dear Doug, Excellent – you are so witty and clever – I love the story! Nan – especially the last line is what everyone feels

  32. Snow's Fissures and Fractures August 3, 2014 at 8:50 pm #

    Fabulous, just fabulous!

  33. Amy Reese August 3, 2014 at 10:19 pm #

    Oh, Nicola’s letter says what we all feel! I love how kids just tell it like it is. Great story. I hope she’s still writing.

  34. The Writer's Village August 4, 2014 at 1:49 am #

    Ha. Great story, Doug.
    Precocious little fucker, isn’t she!
    I love it.
    Now go away kid, youi bother me.

    Randy

  35. Sarah Ann August 4, 2014 at 3:10 pm #

    So funny. I imagine Nicola will grow up to be a writer, of concise, pithy works. Thank you for this wonderful true story.

  36. Dee August 4, 2014 at 3:27 pm #

    Dear Doug

    I’m sure I know Nicola… a very entertaining story and it cheered me up, so thanks for that.

    Well done on your PDGA win you must be so pleased.

    Take care
    Dee

  37. Shailaja/ The Moving Quill August 5, 2014 at 5:42 pm #

    So should I thank Nicola or you for the tears of joy I am weeping now? 😉 Loved the piece!

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