I washed my hands before opening the thick, rigid, courier-style envelope and sliding out the paper inside. Fingerprints? Smudges? No way.
Pulled the tab, the plastic strip cutting through the cardboard end to end. Held the paper in my hand for a long moment, read the words, felt the weight of the expensive bond. Snapped a photo.
Boom. It be official, I posted online.
Finished my MFA coursework in July, slightly less than two years after I began. Creative Writing at UBC is a competitive, prestigious program, difficult to get in. Took me three tries. Then 36 credits of reading, workshopping, personality differences, lessons in diplomacy, the sublime experience of absorbing work better than my own. A degree conferred in September, permitting me to add Holds an MFA to my CV and website bio.
But I’d been waiting for the actual diploma, that incredibly expensive piece of paper, signed and sealed, to arrive. A flattened bit of pulped wood that signals to the world that I’ve become more than I was. Eligible to teach writing at college or university. Membership in a new kind of tribe. Hitting the literary world with a new gleam in my eye.
The confidence to say, most importantly, that I’m a better writer now.
The biggest payoff.