Monday, May 19, 2008


My daughter finished the last assessment for her diploma today. She'll graduate in July. I'm so incredibly proud of her I can't hold the smiles in.

It hasn't been easy for her. The journey has been seven and a half years long. During her first year (she was 18) her best friend was kidnapped and murdered. During the 14 months that followed we lost nine close friends and family. She tried to keep going through it all but within six months dropped out of college. I'm surprised she lasted that long - and she was still achieving good grades.

Last year she went back and re-enrolled, knowing she'd be going to all the places she and her friend used to be, knowing she'd be studying the same course in the same rooms. It wasn't an easy decision to make. Add to that her uncertainty that she could finish it at all and it was incredibly brave. And today she finished the last assessment of the last subject and knows she passed.

She rang me at work, but I don't carry my phone there. She messaged me, and rang me after work. I could hear her jumping around as she spoke to me. The smile on her face was a tangible thing even though I couldn't see her. She dropped into my place when I told her I was coming home for a few minutes before I went to uni, just so she could smile at me and give me a hug - oh, and eat the pumpkin soup and cake she found in the fridge (she'd forgotten to have lunch). When she left she took a pile of books with her - she hasn't been able to read much while she's been studying.

We're going out to dinner tomorrow night to celebrate. I can't wait. I want another glimpse of the joy in her face.


Jim Harris said...

Tell Lois that an old guy from the other side of the Earth is impressed and proud of her and congratulates her for finishing school. You certainly have lucked out in the kid department.

And I want to congratulate you on your blogging. More of your story is coming out. On our television we have a show called Masterpiece Theater that shows BBC productions and they're currently running Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell. It's a rather gentle story about the people of Cranford, especially the women. It doesn't have an overall plot, but just tells about incidents. Your blog reminds me of Cranford.

I like what you wrote about your sisters, but you didn't give their names. That would have personalized them more. Are you protecting their identities? Since you write about the people around you they are becoming characters in your blog. You should give them names of some sort.


glediar said...

Thanks, Jim. I'll let her know. You're right - I'm incredibly lucky with her. We went to dinner last night and she looks so happy and relaxed to finally have finished it. It's a beautiful thing.

I don't use names because I know my family wouldn't like it. They all know I have a blog and are fine with that but they wouldn't want anything that could identify them on it. My daughter has specified she doesn't want any immediately identifiable information in there - she's very aware that potentially, people she doesn't know could read this. It never occurred to me I could use fictitious names.

Cranford sounds interesting although I know I wouldn't watch it for long. I have a notoriously short attention span when it comes to tv. A half hour is about all I can watch in one hit unless it's a movie and even that has to be gripping for me to stay there for the entire time. I find tv passive in the extreme and I need to be engaged with everything I do, even my down time.

glediar said...

I passed on your congratulations, Jim and my daughter said, "What old guy? I thought Jim was only in in 50s."

Then she proceeded to terrorize my cat (ie she cuddled and patted incessantly) until the poor creature even hissed at me. Bridgit, the cat, is used to being allowed to choose her own cuddle time.

Jim Harris said...

Cranford is based on classic English novels from the 19th century by Elizabeth Gaskell, so maybe you would prefer to read them. Although the television production was excellent.

Yes, just make up names for all the people you want to talk about. You can even change the details to hide identities. You can even create a new identity for yourself. The idea is to write something people want to read.

I'm listening to a book called Proust was a Neuroscientist which discusses how ten artist type people, writers like George Elliot and Proust, prefigured many ideas that science later discovered. One thing that Proust discovered was that our memories are fiction.

If you want to write but still protect your identity and your family and friend's identity, just make up alter-egos for all of them. Fiction is all about telling the Truth through lying.

I think you're a good observer of details, but readers like identitying with characters, so experiment.

You can even invent siblings for your daughter (I won't use her name).


glediar said...

I've decided on different names for my family but I think I'll keep accounts factual. I write fiction, taking one small kernal of fact and extrapolating. It's fun and addictive. I want to be able to keep to the facts as well - I have a huge tendancy to exaggerate that I'm trying to control!

My daughter can be Lauren. My sisters can be Linda, Sandy and Brenda. Not very original but I'll be more likely to remember who they are later on.

Lauren does have a sister - her father's child - but she doesn't see her that often. She didn't even know Pauline existed until she was six years old (Pauline, not Lauren). Her father didn't think it necessary to tell her.