As writers, most of us start with particulars we’ve known and try our best to abstract them – that is, make them more universal.
The dorm quad I now call Mulberry Row in my novel Daffodil Uprising is loosely based on one where I lived, though there was none of the clandestine financial intrigue I create to symbolize the old-boy network and its manipulative contortions. No, when I lived there, it was all simply a tad dowdy.
The dining hall, too, was far from the gloriously remodeled Annenberg Hall in Harvard’s great Memorial Hall – everyone who peeks in seems to utter something about Hogwarts – but it had its own low-key potential.
When I drafted the earlier novel, I had no idea what was about to happen in reality. The quad has since been renovated and refocused. From this distance, it all looks pretty exciting, actually.
I’ll assume the fictional benefactor Mildred Chouthonian would be proud.