The Internet is many things. Time waster. Wondrous revelation. Complete wanker. But at its best what it can be is a window into our common humanity. It can, in the words of that British TV show about teenagers who fight and fuck and fall in love, make us a better person – happier, less alone, less lonely. People enter our lives through this flickering screen who, while we may never meet face to face, change us. They make us happier, less alone. And then there are the extraordinary people who try to make the world happier, less alone.
Heather Hogan is that kind of person.
Sometimes all you have in common with another person is words. OK, there is also the liking girls thing. But mostly it is words and a mutual respect for them that led me to meet Heather Hogan. We share a reverence for those who put them together properly. And a belief in the magic of that happens when they’re put together perfectly. I’ve never met Heather Hogan, not in person. I’ve never shook her hand or given her a hug. But I know Heather Hogan, or at least the best bits. I feel lucky enough to call her a friend. Still the true magic of Heather Hogan is that she makes everyone feel like a friend, like they know her.
Heather is without a doubt the nicest person on the Internet, possibly the universe. She writes from a place beyond her heart. It’s at the core of who she is. It shows with every syllable. While we are very different – I’m not sporty, I’m not religious, I don’t have Carrie Underwood on my iPod – when Heather writes I can always relate. Take her beautiful new AfterEllen column, Beyond Visibility, where she examines the push-pull that comes from loving God and loving boobs . Take her sublime Skins recaps, which are as much an intimate dissection of her love for the stories as they are recaps.
Earlier this week I tweeted that it was Heather Hogan Day, and I meant it. That day her radio interview with the Aussie show Diff’rent Strokes aired, her first AE column ran and she launched her new website, theheatherhogan.com. I really couldn’t be more proud. I think what I love best is the way people respond to Heather. She is the consummate fan and her excitement and joy, thoughtfulness and caring can be infectious. It can actually make other people better. Like I was saying – a world that is happier, less alone.
I have made many friends through these series of tubes, people I will respect forever. People who have made me smarter, people who have made me laugh, people who have made me turn positively green with writer’s envy. But I’ve only met one Heather Hogan. You can’t not root for her. I think it’s a sin. Happy weekend, all.