Sunday, 1 August 2010

How to be Little Heather Anne Hogan, by Future Heather Anne Hogan


Are we still fierce, or what?

Hello, little Heather Anne Hogan. Greetings from older you. Yes, that's right: Your attempts to make people call you "Heather Anne" have paid off in the future! Some people will even write it like this: Heather! Anne! It looks as awesome in the future as I'm sure it looks in the past. Exclamation marks are a way of life here. (!!!)

Listen, the reason I am sending this letter is because when you are 31, someone will ask you what one book you wish someone would write. And the one book older you wishes someone would write is called "How to be Little Heather Anne Hogan." (No, I don't mean you're physically little. You're very tall for your age. You get taller. Apparently you will be locked-on about height for the rest of your life.) I can't explain why someone's asking about the book thing or where your answer will be published because the only thing you know about computers right now is how to play the DOS version of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Just the concept of 2010 computers will blow your tiny mind. (Sadly, still no flying cars in 2010. Or Hoverboards.)

Anyway, instead of telling you about the book, I'm going to actually write it. And it's not really a book; it's more like a pamphlet. I know you hate to read (oh, little you!), and I also don't want to deprive you of the pleasure of discovery. I know how you thrive on it.

So here's your book, kiddo. It's just ten things Future You wants Little You to know.

1) You know that feeling you have nearly all the time, that there's something different about you? Not different good, but different weird? And you're scared that someone's going to find out about your weird thing at any moment and tell the whole world about it even though you don't even know what the weird thing is? Even though you're too terrified to even think about what makes you different? OK, here's the thing: You are different. Not different from everyone. And not different in a bad way. Just different from a lot of your friends. Because you like girls. I mean, you like them, like them. You don't have a language for that yet. And the first time you hear the words to describe it, they will be dripping with such hate and disdain that you'll convince yourself for years and years that there's no way they can apply to you. But they do. And that's OK. It's more than OK. It's awesome. It doesn't define your future, just like it doesn't define your now. But it is a wonderful part of who you are. So don't be afraid of it, sweet lamb. It's how God made you.

2) In third grade, you are going to move to Florida for a little while where you will meet up with a teacher named Mrs. Hare. There is no magic in her. She will try to tell you something horrible and untrue about Santa Claus. When she does, kick her in the shins and run away.

3) Jennifer is going to grow up to be your dearest companion. (I know: that seems even more impossible than flying cars.) Be nicer to your baby sister. When you're older, she will save your life many times over.

4) You know how everyone keeps telling you to stop doing stupid things on your bike because every time you crash you get another scar, and scares aren't pretty? That's bullshit. (You grow up to swear a lot, P.S.). Scars are awesome. They tell your whole story. You'll still be wrecking your bike when you're 31. And you'll still be loving it. (People are also going to tell you that watching TV is a waste of your time. Guess what? They're wrong about that too.)

5) Just write this down somewhere and save it until 1991: In Koopa Navy #1 in world 8 of Super Mario Bros. 3, you can swim under all the ships. Seriously. When you drop into the board, immediately walk left and jump into the water. When the ships start moving, drop below the water and just before it feels like you're going to drown, start swimming as fast as you can. It's a sweet spot; you'll feel it. You will save yourself SO MANY HOURS MONTHS of heartache if you know that trick. (Also, save a P-Wing for Koopa Airforce #1 or you'll be fucked.)

6) You're going to want to spend a lot of your life trying to fit in. Read books instead.

7) Books: In 1997, a book will be published called Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Get it. Read it. You have to trust me. Do it as soon as you can.

8) You are not responsible for other people's decisions. Listen to me, Heather Anne: You are not responsible for other people's decisions. You are not responsible for other people's decisions. You are not responsible for other people's decisions. Congratulations, I just saved you five grand in therapy bills.

9) When you're in sixth grade, your dad is going to say, "You don't really want these Batman sheets and pillowcases, do you? You're in middle school. Get some more grown-up sheets and pillowcases." Don't. When you're 31, you're still going to wish you'd gotten the Batman ones. (You still have your cape and cowl too! See the photo on the first page of this book!)

10) October 10th, 1992. A girl is going to transfer from your rival middle school's basketball team to play on your basketball team. You will hate her immediately because she is more athletic (but not taller) than you. Spoiler Alert: That girl is sitting beside me right now, humming the harmony to my melody with every song that comes on my iPod. (It's like a tiny machine that holds a zillion mix-tapes.) In all your life, you're never going to love (or be loved by) someone more. You should maybe not hit her in the face with your elbow the first day you meet her. She'll never let you live it down.


You can call me, 'Sir' said...

#6 should be etched above the entrances to middle schools all over the world.

Jennie said...

I feel like the hoverboards have to happen soon, you know?

Kiti said...

Sir - Yes, but I would say #6 AND #8.

mysterygirl! said...

Aww, this is amazing. When you drop this pamphlet off for her in Jennie's titanium-bubbled rocketship (duh), this is going to help her so much.

Also, #5!? Holy crap, this would have saved me months of my life. I never won Super Mario Bros. 3, and I don't think I ever passed that damn board. :(

mysterygirl! said...

Did I just conflate the time machine and the rocketship (duh)? Oh well-- that's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

Heather Anne said...

Sir, true facts.

Jennie, I feel like it should happen in the next month so I can get matching ones for you and Joe for your wedding.

Kiti, I need number eight stamped onto my forehead.

Heather Anne said...

MG, you did conflate them. It's the best thing anyone has ever done.

Joe G. said...

But what if her past self takes her future self's advice and does all of those things and changes the past and then the timeline changes and the Heather! Anne! that we all know and love ceases to be and The Collective never happens and no one ever writes this letter AAAAAAAHHHHH PARADOXES ARE AWESOME AND TERRIBLE AT THE SAME TIME

me said...

You need to like, fix all of the undone magic.. I learned to still believe in santa due to my daddy still believing.

..and, be a 'shrink' in the sense that you'll listen, love, and then give everyone a pamphlet.

like a new age, dalai lama..

sarah g

Heather Anne said...

Calm down, Joe. It's not like I gave my past self a Sports Almanac!

Sarah, if I could find I way to fix undone magic, I would just be ... so content.

Kiti said...

Heather Anne - Some of this is pretty specific to Little Heather Anne (e.g. Super Mario Bros, Batman sheets). But reading the bits in #6 and #8 on a Monday morning at work made my day a little bit easier and a little bit better. That may be part of what is special: you have a splash of magic and understanding for everybody who is willing to receive.

eclectic said...

Kiti's comment, reiterated. Twice... for good measure. You, Heather! Anne! ARE magic. I heart you.

inkworks said...

Heather Anne YOU should write a book. It would be.... magic.