I earned a B.A. in English (Creative Writing) from University of Southern California fifteen years ago yesterday. I remember a great-aunt sending flowers. These same flowers were quickly trashed by me after my grandmother insisted they'd been charmed or jinxed with black magic. I remember graduating alone, no one from the family able to attend, not even my grandmother. I remember a classmate inviting me to her celebratory dinner, going, and feeling sorry for myself for not having family of my own to rally around me. I remember my grandmother's health begin to decline immediately after I earned this honor, to the point where she felt compelled to blast me for wasting my money on what she considered a useless education. My grandmother died the following May, a little over a year after my university graduation. I'd inherited a rental property and become its manager by then. Without any support, and never, ever any encouragement to trust a mentor, I just stopped writing the fiction and poetry I once loved. Last year, after Belle's unexpected birth and slow growth, I finally nailed my diploma to the wall to remind myself of my own achievement and competence.
Then I read this article about wimpy kids: