Dear Emma (I hope you don’t mind that I call you Emma- I’ll assume for now that I can):
No less than a dozen people have told me about how you’ll be attending Brown University beginning this Fall. They’ve told me this because I too will be attending Brown, but instead of coming in as an undergraduate student, I’ll be starting graduate school in the Literary Arts program. According to Yahoo, you seem to have decided on “reading literature,” which will put you across Fones Alley from me, at least in terms of a home base.
Similar to your “gap year” or the period you’ve taken to try and figure out what you want to do, I’ve taken nearly four gap years, but instead of the word “gap,” try “rejection.” It’s great to have some time off, isn’t it?
As you well know though, it hasn’t been a vacation. While I’ve been working at the University of Iowa’s library, you were making movies, which have made you pretty famous worldwide. I assume this is why you took a while to decide and announce where you would head to school. I suppose I didn’t do that. In fact, when I got the phone call from Brown, I said yes before the caller could finish his schpiel. I guess I was pretty excited.
You must be excited too: Brown is an excellent choice for an undergraduate degree. Assuming you stick with literature, there are several wonderful scholars teaching there, including Montlu Blasing, who teaches classes on Modernism and the like. There are so many wonderful opportunities for you as Brown, not to mention all the coffee and Dunkin Donuts you can handle in the Providence area.
I know you’re quite worried about how your fame might cause trouble for you while in such a public space. Believe me, Emma, I’m worried about it too, which is why I’m writing this letter. Speaking as someone who has gone relatively unnoticed and uncared about most of his educational career, here are some pointers:
1. Hang out with stoners. For some reason, due to our backwards nature as Americans, we’re immediately negative about people who do drugs because, of course, people who do drugs are destroying society and have no business being alive. People will immediately discount drugs because, of course, people who do drugs are destroying society and have no business being alive. People will immediately discount you, even if you’re not actually doing drugs.
2. Find people who are interested in the things you’re interested in and talk about those things endlessly. This will immediately force hangers-on to either assimilate or slink away. Either way, it’s win-win for you.
3. Be that person at parties that doesn’t drink. Not only will people not want to hang around you, you’ll also get a great amount of fodder for future acting roles.
4. Do all of your binge drinking in private. This will also keep people away from you and keep those paparazzi from snagging pictures. It’s hard to get pictures of you while you’re passed out or throwing up in your own home, right?
5. Lie and say you’ve actually been doing #4. People will think you’re weird, but they won’t try and save your life or any crap like that. Showing up drunk or actually getting sick will make people take notice, which is what you’re trying to avoid.
Best of luck while studying at Brown! Hopefully, I’ll be teaching a poetry class over at Literary Arts your second year, so feel free to go through the application process if you’re at all inclined to write poems.