Today I had the immense pleasure of hearing John Green speak at the Printer’s Row Lit Fest in Chicago. He was receiving the Chicago Tribune’s Young Adult Literary Prize.
He’s talk was wonderful, as he discussed writing and the community which helped him get started and the theme in Fault in Our Stars regarding oblivion and how one day no one will be left to remember anything that anyone ever did. It was actually a very funny speech, and I wrote down various things he said; here are some of my favorites:
Regarding people getting tattoos of quotes by him: “I’m just worried about future you.”
Regarding borrowing ideas for writing: “I will steal from anybody.”
Regarding the serious nature of the talk: “I’m not gonna get funnier… (lowers voice) SORRY, SUCKERS.”
Regarding an inspirational cartoon Eileen Cooper gave him: “I would look at that cartoon every morning before I’d write. (starts hopping a bit with anxiety) I’m so embarrassed to admit that but it’s true!”
Regarding the story he was writing while a chaplain working with families of sick kids: “It was about sick kids and their… stunningly handsome 22 year old chaplain.”
Regarding best advice he could give: “WATCH HARVEY. It’s the only thing I would call life changing… The birth of my son was amazing.”
I was able to briefly speak with him as he signed my books. He complimented my shirt; I was wearing my “I’m With Phil Wrayson” shirt which I had made based on the shirt Jane wears to the play in Will Grayson, Will Grayson. I’d received comments on the shirt before but it felt rewarding to get the author’s approval.
I also in a sort of embarrassing way thanked him for his books and Vlogbrothers because they had become such an integral aspect of my relationships with my best friends; his work has inspired so many amazing, thought-provoking conversations between myself and my friends and my mom, through which I learned more about them and became closer to each of them. I don’t know if it sounded as eloquent as I wanted it to (I was kinda freaking out and couldn’t stop smiling), but I’m glad I said it.
Thank you, John. DFTBA