When I was seventeen, I was somewhat interested in literature—my interest was sparked after reading Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Crime & Punishment. Raskolnikov's anxiety reminded me of my own fear of being discovered as a queer boy in the conservative community in which I lived. The City of Bell was a lower working-class neighborhood; most families were Catholic or evangelical Christians. There was little opportunity and many of the kids I grew up with either dropped out of school to work or were indifferent to learning. Some joined gangs and others started families at young ages. There were many of us who stayed in school but mostly out of habit, or for the free meals, or for the friendships.