Because only a very small part of me wanted to move away from my friends and family, I applied to just one very expensive art college, figuring I would most likely not be accepted, and, if I were, I would not be able to pay for it and therefore couldn’t attend. Then it wouldn’t be entirely my fault when I inevitably got pregnant my first year out of high school and lived in blissful, blameless poverty and squalor for the rest of my life.

College was not an obvious next step after high school in Clearlake. It seemed like a rare, special privilege meant only for the special and privileged. From each graduating class of about two hundred students at my high school, ten or twenty went to college directly after graduation. My family didn’t encourage it much either. To us, it was something you might get around to after many years of work and raising children, and even then it was only night classes squeezed in after a full day’s work.

So, out of caution, I remained ambivalent about my future. I was equally ready to leave town and go to college as I was to remain living at home and start my lifelong career at Safeway, where my aunt Helen could probably get me a job.

But I got accepted to the art school I applied to. And found a way to pay for it, sort of.

Read it here.

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