Lisa A. Kramer

Author, Speaker, Theater Artist, Creativity Facilitator

What I did on my Summer Vacation by Helena-Hann Basquiat

It has been a while since we have celebrated anyone's unique powers, but I am thrilled to be able to celebrate Helena Hann-Basquiat, the voice behind Memoirs of a Dilettante, Volumes I & II, plus the fabulous Shakespeare-esque play Penelope, and the chilling Jessica (all links can be found below). I can't wait to read her next book, Singularity.  More important than her amazing talent, though, is that this person has slowly become my friend. She is raw, honest and supportive. She shares insight, reads drafts, and, more lends a sympathetic ear in times of trouble. I loved receiving  this piece, where she dips into her 12-year-old self for all to enjoy.

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What I did on my Summer Vacation (by Helena Hann-Basquiat, aged 12)

Um, so I like to do things that nobody else does. It’s, like, um, my superpower.

If everyone else is playing hopscotch or jumping rope, I’ll be building a stage for puppet plays (which I write my own self – I have a Fozzie Bear puppet that’s my favouritest.)

When other kids are reading Sweet Valley High books, I’m reading Lord of the Flies, or Fahrenheit 451. My parents don’t know it, but I’m also reading Stephen King and Anne Rice and Michael Crichton. Some of it is too old for me and goes over my head, but I learn a lot. I like stretching myself, trying to be older than I am.

My superpower gets me in trouble. It makes me totally unpopular, but doing the same things everyone else does is so boring for me.

Who am I trying to impress, you ask?

Me, of course. If I get something in my head to do it, I’m going to try – even if I end up with broken bones or skinned knees or a broken heart.

My dad’s so wrapped up in his own stuff that he can’t see me. I know I shouldn’t care, but he’s my dad. And my mom’s so easily impressed that I can’t believe her praise. I know I’m young, but I’m not stupid. Not everything I do is magic.

So, I’m s’posed to be telling you what I did on my summer vacation – but I wanna talk about my superpower. I’m stubborn about being different. You might say I go out of my way to do things differently. If I come up with an idea for a story and it’s too ordinary or normal, I’ll toss it out. Later on I’ll find out that people like ordinary and normal, and this will be the source a lot of problems.

Maybe my superpower isn’t a good thing after all. Maybe being different is dangerous – not to others, but to me. Maybe people will think I’m a freak because I’d rather read comic books or draw or ride my bike for hours all by myself with nothing but music to keep me company than spend the entire day playing video games or cutting pictures out of Teen Beat magazine of all the boys I like.

So I’ve decided that my superpower is obstinacy. I had to look it up, too. It’s a big word for stubborn-ness. Only usually stubborn-ness is seen as a bad thing. I prefer to think that it means I’ve got my feet planted in cement, and I’m not moving.

I know who I am, and when I’m wearing my superhero mask, I don’t care what you think.

(Of course, this is only SuperHelena that feels this way. Regular mild-mannered Helena can’t figure out why she doesn’t fit in – why she doesn’t have any desire to watch reality TV or to engage in gossip or take a quiz from Cosmo magazine.)

I’m constantly on the look-out for others who like things different, who appreciate the unusual, the strange, and the unique.

Maybe if I find enough, we can form, like, a Justice League or something.


The one, the only Helena Hann-Basquiat, everyone's favorite dilettanteThe enigmatic Helena Hann-Basquiat dabbles in whatever she can get her hands into just to say that she has.

Some people attribute the invention of the Ampersand to her, but she has never made that claim herself.

Last year, she published Memoirs of a Dilettante Volume One, this past April, released Memoirs of a Dilettante Volume Two, as well as the Shakespearean-style play, Penelope, Countess of Arcadia.

She is currently working on a sequel to JESSICA entitled Singularity, featuring contributions from five other writers. If you haven't read JESSICA yet, you can read Chapter One HERE or buy it HERE

Helena writes strange, dark fiction under the name Jessica B. Bell. VISCERA, a collection of strange tales, will be published by Sirens Call Publications later this year. Find more of her writing at or and Connect with her via Twitter @HHBasquiat , and keep up with her ever growing body of work at GOODREADS, or visit her AMAZON PAGE

Available now! image06 JESSICA image07