Friday, February 18, 2011
Last week, I attended my daughter’s high school orientation evening. The thought of my daughter going off to high school next fall had been hard for me to imagine (or believe!), but after walking through the halls and speaking to her future teachers, the reality of it is now starting to sink in.
Some of the things I imagined would happen during the orientation:
1) I’d gain a better understanding of the physical layout of the school;
2) We’d walk away knowing how to help our daughter choose courses for next year;
3) My daughter would not want to take the tour with her parents, but with her friends.
What I hadn’t imagined happening:
1) My husband and I would have fun taking the tour on our own with Group Six while our daughter was off with Group One;
2) We would stray a little from the group and end up getting lost, feeling like two teenagers late for class (more than once!);
3) I’d gain the “particular perspective” that I did on how much high school has changed since I was there.
I imagined gaining “a” perspective on how things have changed, but I obviously hadn't imagined all the concrete details that I witnessed that evening.
There’s a big difference between imagining high school and actually being there. The experience not only brought more to life for me in terms of my own memories, but it also exposed me to how much things have changed. Of course, I knew things had changed before I set foot into the building, but being there gave me a glimpse into just how things have changed.
It made me think of the high school scenes in my WIP and it broadened what I had in my imagination, offering a fuller perspective. It also made me think about other settings within my novel. Many scenes take place at a music academy, others at a bookstore, a café, a restaurant. Some of these places are so fresh in my imagination, yet after attending the high school event, I am inspired to go and sit in similar settings around town, with pen and paper in hand and my characters in mind, to see what new insights might arise in “experiencing” what all along has been “all in my head’- even those places that I think I know so well.
Do you have school scenes in your current projects? If you don’t have a daughter or son in school, have other events brought you back there? Reunions? A nieces recital? Volunteer work? Do you step out of your head and into real settings, similar to the ones in your stories?