Aveneu Park, Starling, Australia

John created a unique way of being

John Green is
not only a writer, but also a role model, father and teacher. Born in
Indianapolis on August 24 1977 to Mike and Sydney Green, John’s childhood was
not unlike many other young children; going through the trials and tribulations
of growing up, attending school and sometimes feeling like an outcast. He did
not enjoy school during his early years at Highland Preparatory in Orlando
Florida and was not particularly driven to succeed. In later years, John was
sent to Indian Springs Boarding School, where he discovered a newfound love of
learning, however, he still struggled academically. As he continued on his path
in learning, he became more focused on school while attending Kenyon College,
where he graduated with a degree in English and a second degree in Religious
Studies. Later, John worked in a children’s hospital in hope of becoming an Episcopal
priest, however, it was during this time that he decided to change paths to
become a writer. This change in career lead John to work as a publishing
assistant for a book review journal called Booklist. While writing book reviews
John began writing his first book titled, “Looking for Alaska”. He also created
a YouTube channel with his brother Hank called Vlogbrothers, that has grown
into a community whose members call themselves the Nerdfighters. Through YouTube,
John has created a unique way of being connected while building a community
with his readers.


Through studying
John Green, it is easy to gain knowledge on the art and craft of writing. To be
a writer is not only having an ability to write a novel and tell a story, it is
also the capability of building a community and finding and maintaining
inspiration. To help describe this process of writing, while presenting a Ted
Talk, John Green used the metaphor of a paper town. He explains how, as a
writer, he would like to believe that what he writes can change the world in
some small way. He reflects on how a town called Agloe in New York was
originally drawn up as a paper town. A paper town is a fictitious town that a
cartographer places on a map for trademark purposes. However, Agloe became a
real town due to the desire of many people trying to visit the fictitious paper
town by simply following the map reference and setting down roots at it’s exact
location. In this small way, it changed the map of the world. The realization
that the craft of writing can greatly influence and change the world that
surrounds us is extremely humbling. John has mused in articles and interviews
that the life of a writer is not very exciting or glamourous, but instead is very
tedious and lonesome as many hours and years are spent writing and rewriting
ideas that then become books. On John’s website, he says that usually his final
draft of a novel is only comprised of about 10% of what he had started with
when he first began to write. John Green feels it is important to be in a
community where one can learn, as you must continually learn to be able to
build your craft as a writer. Writing is not easy, but the accomplishment of
writing a book and the impact it can have is what makes writing worth pursuing.

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It is because of
this ability to influence so many, that many writers, John Green included,
begin to feel lonely and secluded while developing their stories. John talks
about how important it is to find a community where you feel you have a purpose
and are intellectually stimulated. In interviews John talks about the
difficulty he had when he left his job of writing book reviews to focus on
writing his book. He said that it was during that time he felt the loneliest,
as he was no longer surrounded by a community of writers. It is important to
realize that the loss of community is one of a writer’s greatest challenges, as
it is the community that provides support and can act as a sounding board for
budding novelists and their written pieces. Authors also face the challenge of
marketing themselves, and having their books read and acknowledge by others in
this new age of technology. This is very difficult if you do not have a
community of followers or have not built connections with others. John says he
feels grateful that he was able to create a community within YouTube, as it was
the YouTube community that took him from his place of loneliness and instead
built a space where he felt a connection, shared discussions and built a following
of individuals excited to read his newest works. By far the greatest challenge
for a writer is themselves due to their constant drive to prove themselves as a
better writer and the feeling of nakedness it takes to compose a story that is
shared with millions. When John released his newest book, “Turtles All the Way
Down”, he said he constantly struggled with worrying he would never create a
book as good as “The Fault in Our Stars” which had been given so many accolades.

He also felt insecure as “Turtles All the Way Down” touched on very personal
struggles he was facing in his life, which left him feeling exposed when the
novel was realised. These emotions and inner conflicts face many writers who feel
as if their work is not good enough, but it is this conflict that also pushes
writers to continue their craft and continue learning more about writing.


All of John
Green’s books share the want of trying to discover an answer for larger
questions that society faces. “The Fault in Our Stars” answers the question regarding
the fact that those who struggle with sickness are still capable of
accomplishments. In John Green’s newest book, “Turtles All the Way Down”, he
answers the crippling question of the difficulties individuals’ face that
struggle with their mental health, and the feeling of being completely helpless.

Although all of John Green’s books share the quality of answering a question,
they also reflect situations he himself has struggled with. John has spoken
about the anxiety he lives with and wanted to depict in “Turtles All the Way Down”,
how his time spent in a hospital while trying to become a priest, as well as
the opportunity he had to befriend a dying girl with cancer, were all part of
his inspiration for “The Fault in Our Stars”. In “Looking for Alaska”, the
story is based around a boarding school and death, which was a situation John Green
experienced while at Indian Springs Boarding School when a fellow student
suddenly passed. It is through John’s work that readers become aware of the
struggles he has gone through, and how his books are a way for him to try and
extrapolate an answer to why life has to put these obstacles in front of us. By
answering this he is in turn influencing and guiding the community of readers
he has created.


John Green has
created some of the most loved young adult fiction novels of our time. His
novels grapple with the many obstacles that can both hinder and help us through
life’s journey. He weaves his tales to help readers find a way to a solution of
getting around or over these obstacles. It is through John’s writing that you
can see the amount of dedication and time he has spent crafting his books to
make them what they are today. Through John Green’s YouTube channel and his
continual desire to create a community for his readers, he has influenced those
around him, helping to teach others how to use their words to make connections,
and not let your own mind bring you down. John Green said that all writers wish
for their writing to make an impact, and John’s has, he has helped build and
create a map for individuals to let their creativity be free. 


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