I do a fair amount of blog stops and author interviews, and one question that always comes up is either "where do you live and how does if affect your writing?" or "where did you grow up?" Most of my regular readers know that I am from a small town in central New York. And though I don't live there anymore, I'm close enough that I go back every so often and visit, and I know that it has deeply affected my writing.
To me, it is the quintessential, Norman Rockwell-esque small town. It has heavy New England roots, which are apparent from the historic homes along Main Street and its village green that has three churches and the elementary school sitting on it. Everyone knows everyone. Things don't change much. It's safe. Some might call it boring. But it raises good kids, I can say that much, and its graduates have gone on to very big and very important things over the years.
Last weekend, I went home for a high school reunion. Only about 1/4 of our class made it back; some people have moved far away, some don't want to return, while others had summer plans. But for those of us who were there, it was a great time catching up with friends and reminiscing about old times. This was one of my favorite pictures from the weekend:
A few members of the track and cross-country teams reunited to run the training loop around town that we suffered through back in high school. Crazy? Maybe a little. I sure don't run as fast as I used to. But I ran it, with a few others, and it brought back oh-so-clear memories. I love this picture because this is 2 friends who haven't seen each other in 25 years. They competed against each other in every high school meet for 4 years. The one on the left stayed in town. The one on the right has traveled around the world. They've lived very different lives since graduating two-and-a-half decades ago. But that morning, it was just 2 buddies running the same quiet tree-lined streets around their hometown, talking who-knows-what and finishing the run together. Pretty cool, right?
Small towns, rock on.