“Here’s to You and the Stars Above” Commentary

To read the story I’ll be talking about today, click here.

The title is a lyric from the Walkmen’s “Postcards from Tiny Islands”. This is one of the first songs I gravitated towards when I was listening to “You & Me” for the first time. There is a haunting quality to the lyrics and there is a love story – or the remains of one – moving through the song. Despite my love for the song, this was one of the last stories I tackled with the Cover Stories project.

If you look at all of my stories in Cover Stories, you’ll notice that “Here’s to You and the Stars Above” is part of a thematic trilogy – along with “Tomorrow the Sun Will be Brighter” and “A Hundred Fireflies Outside” – with each story breaking down some of the motifs and stereotypes that come with specific genres. This story is meant to be a Romance, whereas the other two are the Mismatched Buddy Cop and Slasher Horror, respectively.

With that in mind, I wanted to create the ultimate love story, but more importantly, highlight the fact that every one of us, when we’re in love, is experiencing the most amazing, planet-shattering love story that puts to shame everyone else’s; how it fills up our lives and makes everyone else an extra in our own movie.

And so I thought about two lovers reuniting, one who traveled through space and the other through time, to find one another again. I wanted this story to feel like two magnets struggling not to connect, but knowing it was inevitable. This is Romeo reuniting with Juliet, Odysseus finding Penelope, Sam hooking up with Diane…this is every lover who ever lived, but as the camera zooms in closer and closer, they become like everybody else, just “two drunks kissing”.

The part I’m most proud of is the story’s climax, when they kiss:

He kissed her then, a kiss as inevitable as autumn and as hard as winter. He pulled her body into his and pressed his lips against hers like a near-drown victim fighting for air. He could feel the gravity of their past and the weight of the universe around them. His eyes were open at first, staring into her eyes, and when he closed them, he took the blue with him. Their lips moved, their teeth crashed, and their tongues came together like hurricanes. This was the kind of kiss that could wake the dead, the kind that could create whole new worlds, the kind heard around the world. Time and space stopped like it did and would every moment they touched. They were the beginning and ending of every love story ever told.

Even I had to chuckle a bit when I wrote what comes next.

Also of interest, I usually have “actors” in my head when I’m writing a story, and this is the first story where the “actress” kept changing in my head depending on the moment, but the “actor” remained the same. Even though this is probably one of those details only writers would like, I thought it was worth mentioning.

A few other things worth noting:

–          My comparison of Russia never wanting to end like Texas stems from my unresolved issues with the size of Texas, and has come up in way too many other stories I’ve written over the years.

–          I love the idea of falling in love and trying to capture that lightning in a bottle, and her approach to doing this was something that stems from an overactive imagination and growing up watching Doctor Who. I also love how he experiences the memories of this while she explains it to him.

–          One of a few mentions of Poland from my stories in Cover Stories.

All in all, I’m really happy with the way this story turned out. I also like how “Postcards from Tiny Islands” works as a nice soundtrack to the piece. In fact, it’s impossible for me to read the story without hearing the song mentally.