Last week, I spent three nights in Bethany, Delaware. It’s a small beach town with a small boardwalk, delicious french fries, and way too many ice cream shops to even make sense. I started going to Bethany when I was eleven. My family went for a few nights most summers until I graduated from college and even a few times since then. Being back in a place I’ve known over such a long time helped me tap into feelings and details from so many different ages. Like the excitement of being independent enough to go places by myself in a way that wasn’t possible at home where you needed to drive everywhere. Or like wondering if a life guard was ever going to fall in love with me, because that’s what happened in 97% of the books about teens at the beach I’d read (spoiler alert: this never happened). Last week, a lot of new story ideas and details about teenage life I want to include in my current MS came to me.
It reminded me of the incredibly generative time I had substitute teaching at my old high school a few years back. Setting and sense memory are powerful things.
I’m wondering if other writers have had this experience or you have special places that help with your writing or bring back memories?