For me, a recent anniversary of sorts: on a January day years ago I boarded a plane to Holland, where I stayed for a semester during my sophomore year of college. For about four months I lived in a 14th century castle owned by Emerson College and converted into dorm rooms for some 70-odd students (yeah, we were pretty odd). I had never been out of the country before, and getting on that plane was one of the best (and bravest) things I’ve ever done.
In my application essay to this program I described the trip as “a novel waiting to be written”. I feel a little guilty that I haven’t written that novel, yet. Did I mention that this was a haunted castle?
I certainly feel an urge to write about it as a way to reclaim that part of my life, to make it mine again through the written word. But I’m not a memoirist. I only write about real life if it’s been effectively transformed into fiction. Still, details about the castle crop up here and there: A weeping willow. Ivy on a brick wall. A white bathtub in Paris.
I wonder if there is a castle-book waiting inside of me. Something that blends fact and fiction enough so that no one will be able to see which parts are real…with the exception of some of my fellow castle-dwellers.