If h2g2 Never Existed, Part 6
Back in January, I somehow got to thinking of some what – ifs in my life, including what if I'd not found h2g2, which morphed into what if h2g2 didn't exist at all? Then I started wondering who else had lives that would've been different. And then, the dangerous part – I decided to ask1.
If h2g2 never existed...
I discovered H2G2 shortly after starting a new job. Within days of joining, I had made friends who are still important parts of my life 20 years on.
Without HooToo and the friends I met there, my life would have been much bleaker. It might have even ended prematurely. I am certain that I would have had a much harder time seeking help when I was suicidal if it hadn't been for my dear friends. They gave me a reason to live and helped me when I had to move suddenly. They have cheered me, made me laugh and cry, and helped me to know that I matter.
Now that the deep dark is over with, I also would not have been able to express myself or share my knowledge to the extent that I have without H2G2. By allowing me to stretch my creative writing skills, even encouraging it, and by introducing me to HTML (and GuideML), I was dragged kicking and screaming – in the best of ways – into the modern world. The research I did for articles gave me the impetus to go back to school, knowing that I would have no trouble with writing papers.
Ultimately, without H2G2 it would be a terrible place indeed.
And another to whom h2g2 has made a large difference...
If h2g2 never existed...
...I wouldn’t be who I am today. Maybe I even wouldn’t be at all. H2g2 got me through the roughest patch of my life, both the site as such but even more so the people of h2g2, the hootooers. When I joined the site nearly 19 years ago, it was a secret hiding place for me. I made a lot of good friends there, or maybe I was just adopted by many good people – I am actually not good at making friends. I am not going to make a list here but I believe all those wonderful people who carried me through the days that were darker than nights and when I was not able to carry on myself can recognise themselves here.
... I wouldn’t have met Hapi. Long distance relationships are strange but they can work. They can work wonders, too.
... I wouldn’t have become a teacher. H2g2 taught me a lot. Not only about the meaning of life, the universe and everything, but also the English language. Without the years of practice on h2g2 I would have never thought of going to university to study English in my not so young age. Currently I am working on my MA thesis.
...I wouldn’t have travelled to many wonderful places. H2g2 took me to Denmark, London, Manchester, Germany. Yes, I’ve travelled without any connections to h2g2 but h2g2 made the idea of travelling possible to me.
Actually, h2g2 has shown me that everything is possible. Well, until proven the opposite.
Someone that is less than twice the age of h2g2 chimes in...
I found h2g2 my senior year of high school. I didn’t really fit in anywhere. I wasn’t really an outcast... just... odd.
But h2g2... it was full of people like me. Weird, smart, creative, welcoming. I made friendships that have lasted almost 20 years. My friends taught me how to roleplay. They gave me wise advice. They accepted me – strangeness and all. They taught me that if people think you’re weird, you don’t have to care!
h2g2 also polished my writing skills. I learned how to write and edit non–fiction. I learned how good it feels to have people read your work, and helped me get over the terrifying sense of vulnerability that comes with having people read what I’ve written. Since I’ve always wanted to be a fiction author, that was really important. And when I published my first book, I thought of all of my awesome friends.
I wouldn’t be the person I am today if I hadn’t found this wacky, wonderful community.
If h2g2 never existed I wouldn't have known that the internet was such a wonderful place where I could find knowledge, ask questions, and meet people, real people from all over the world. 25, or maybe 26 years ago I was quite new to this electronic technology. Husband got this big Sun computer stashed in our bedroom, because it didn't fit anywhere else. A big lump making a lot of noise. Then he showed me that it we could play games on it. like Yatzy. Then there was this thing called The internet! Hooked up with this modem thingy. Where one could talk with people. I learned about IRC and started to find forums with strange people communicating, but it was at though world. I drifted around in cyberspace, but never really connected with anyone. But then, 20 years ago I found h2g2. It was like coming home. Here it didn't matter that I typed slowly or that my English was slightly wonky. I could play and frolic with the most wonderful people that still are my friends to this day.
If h2g2 never existed, my command of the English language would most likely be at Highschool level – certainly not good enough to correct native speakers' text, or be the editor of an English online magazine –which, btw, I'd never have been without h2g2, either. I'd never have tried any creative writing, either – but thanks to the (now defunct, I think) UnderGuide, and the Alternative Writing Workshop, I dipped my toe in – and even have one story in the UG, which, to me was like getting a gold medal.
And now for someone just a bit better with keeping up with series writing than I...
If h2g2 had never existed... well, in 2000, the last year before I started writing about movies in the Post, I went to the cinema less than a dozen times, probably. In 2018 the total was 81. The 589th2film review column runs next week and there are over a thousand individual reviews on my blog. No doubt I would still be doing something with my time had h2g2 never come along, but I have no idea what that would be...
Stay tuned for Part Seven!