Having already spoken about a musician who has been an influence on my personal life (Hayley Williams) I wanted to now speak about one of my writing influences; John Green. Now, back in February I wrote an article on John Green and how his books are helping to empower the romance genre for my University newspaper, which you can read here: http://therabbitnewspaper.com/2015/02/empowering-the-romance-genre/ However today, with the freedom of writing on my blog, and not being limited to as much of a word count I wanted to write more broadly about his writing, and how it influences me and how I feel he empowers other people.
In terms of my writing I like to write about the simple things in life and try to show how such simple things are, in the long run, quite complex and significant. Throughout any prose, poetry or screenwriting that I do, reading John Green novels has helped me develop my own style. not to straight up copy him, but to use his work as a way of understanding what it is I most enjoy writing about. It is the simplicity and yet ultimate intricacy of his books that I enjoy so much, and I find that you should always write what you yourself can also love; yes you are writing for other people, but I am a strong believer in quality coming as a result of passion. To use the example of a game of tennis (stay with me here), it’s a fast paced, adrenaline inducing game, that builds into such a climax that when you get into a rally you’re so immersed in that game, that everything around you stops; crying babies, tweeting birds, everything. However if you don’t enjoy tennis, if you don’t enjoy the fast pace of sports then you’ll put less effort in, and not only will you find yourself less likely to get into rally’s, but you’ll find if you do get in one it will become frustrating that you’re not winning. It’s the same way with writing: books, poems, scripts, whatever format you’re writing in, if you don’t enjoy the style you’re writing in or the subject you’re writing on you’ll find yourself losing enthusiasm and subsequently the content will lose quality.
It’s hard for me to say which of his books is completely my favourite, but I may be swayed to say Looking for Alaska, with Paper Towns being a close second. There is one line from Looking for Alaska that has stayed with me ever since I first read it, “if people were rain, then I was drizzle and she was a hurricane”. I remember sitting on my sofa, reading that line and stopping to pause and think about it, I repeated the line over and over again and I couldn’t quite lose it from my mind. It was one of those lines that just cemented and defined everything I love about writing. It grabbed me in a way that was so relatable, and almost private, as if John Green had written something that I had thought myself upon falling for someone, and I find there is always at least one moment like that in all of his books. He also writes in a way that is intelligent, and sophisticated while still aimed at young adults, because why should anyone underestimate how much young adults understand? His characters are always so rich, and in depth, I have yet to find a character that does not truly feel real nor one that I cannot wholly connect to. In fact this is another reason I enjoy his work so much because his characters often share similarities to myself and he presents them in such a way that empowers the side of them that once was mocked.
Which brings us to yet another aspect of his writing I love, he empowers so much, like I said before in my newspaper article the subject of romance is presented in such a way that it is clearly more than just about love, more, in fact, about people. So many books and films about love have deterred audiences from the romance genre because they focus too heavily upon the very concept of love, and not about the people in love, and the characters are often underdeveloped as a result. On top of empowering the romance genre, he empowers the culture of Nerdiness (Yes i just capitalized that, what of it?!), alongside his brother he has a YouTube channel named VlogBrothers and they created, i guess it’s best called, a community named ‘Nerdfighters’. Through his writing where he presents his naturally nerdy characters as highly likable, and very interesting characters (as they should be) and through his channel and nerdfighter community he raises the profile of the ‘nerd’ in such a way that more people feel more accepting of their nerdy passions. Another favourite of mine, Simon Pegg once defined being a nerd/geek as “being honest about what you enjoy and not being afraid to demonstrate that affection”. This definition is echoed throughout the nerdfighter community and through John Greens work.
To conclude John Green is a wonderful human being and an incredible writer, who inspires me to write about what I love, and to not be afraid to start off with a simple idea and make it into something fantastic, whatever format I am writing in. Furthermore, his writing does more than just inspire fellow prospective writers, it encourages people to embrace their true selves, and to enjoy the little things in life, and to do more than just read a book, but to live it.