Drove through a town where I used to live today and pulled into the junior high parking lot and asked at the front office if I could look around the school. The principal said I couldn't do that but he'd be happy to give me a tour, and he spent nearly an hour with me showing me the additions, changes, and things that hadn't changed.
Visiting my old school has been on my list since I started an exploration of my past for a new YA novel, which has so far remained in the idea stage. A drive-by of my old house a few months back told me that maybe this one needs to simmer for a while, that maybe walking around in the hallways of my school was something to save for later. I stopped on a whim today and it turned out to be a good thing.
I wondered if forgotten memories would surface with visual cues. But instead existing memories were bolstered, validated, strengthened. The rooms were locked and hallways silent. I asked to see rooms that had long ago changed purpose. I expected things to look smaller but instead they looked bigger. The corridors and stairwells remained familiar, maybe because they still sometimes show up in dreams.
I don't know how this visit will process, surface or manifest in the story, but I sense it was a necessary step toward the novel's creation.