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Monday, September 3, 2012

Inspiration, High School, and Saying Goodbye

With school starting up for many this week, I thought I'd share a short post about my old high school. Don't forget that I'll be drawing winners this week for the advance copy of Mindi Scott's LIVE THROUGH THIS, as well as for a rare print copy of my story anthology NEVER ENOUGH STORIES. Follow the links to enter!

One question I don't think I've ever been asked in an interview is this: Since you write about high school life, do you base any of your settings on your own high school experience.

The answer is yes. Since publishing, I've had the opportunity to visit a number of high schools, and it has certainly given me a wider view of what's out there, at least in the region I live in, and there's a possibility that some of those high schools will flavor my thinking in my future writing. But in the books that are already out on the shelves--yes, in most of the high school scenes, I visualized my own high school. (One of my recent, yet-to-be-published novels is very specifically set in my junior high school--before they changed the grades and started calling them middle schools.)

I recently had a chance to visit my old high school to pass along a copy of my books to my favorite teacher, who was this year retiring. A friend of mine took some pictures, and I just wanted to share a few with you, so you know what I'm picturing when I write some of my characters' school scenes.

This is the view from the main entrance. There's a panther's head painted on the building because that was our team name.

The lockers were not this ugly pink when I attended. I think--in my long-term memory--they were bright yellow (much better, right?)

The cafeteria,
exactly as I remember it.

This was my favorite location. The windows overlook the front parking lot, and there were almost always students hanging out on these sills (I'm not sure how my friend snapped a picture without any!)

Sadly, I drove past my high school, and this is how it looks today...

I understand that things get old and need rebuilding, especially after so many years. But it's still sad to say goodbye to my old high school. I guess the one bright side is that it will always live on, both in my memory and in my fiction.


  1. I know the feeling - my middle school is now offices and my high school is now the middle school. I got to tour the HS after all the remodeling was finished and it's SO different, the front entrance isn't even in the same place. Understandable that changes had to be made, but still sad.

  2. Well looking at the pics of your high school I was struck by how generic high schools are. I went back to my own this past summer for a reunion - hallways looked like yours and the one I go to every day to teach, yep, same thing, blue lockers. So unless you're on an open air SoCal campus, I think high schools all tend to look the same.

  3. I went back to my hometown for a reunion last summer, and it was fun seeing the school again after all those years. Brings those memories a lot closer, which is a bit freaky, lol. Sadly, my school's going (gone?) the way of the wrecking ball, too--when I was there, a new high school was being built on a different location. Makes be a little sad, which is a bit weird, but it's true.

  4. When I think of my old high school, the only thing I loved was my English classroom. Super old, wood floors. The rest of it was mostly outside. Always got big drips of water down the back of my neck. But I'd still be super sad if it were torn down. :-(

  5. i think it's hard not to base writing off of our own experiences and memories of places...especially high school/junior high!

  6. Your high school had real tables? All of my education we had those long tables with the blue plastic circle seats built in. Sigh.