Originally posted 15 January 2012...
For every person, there's something in the world that is a symbol for what they want from life. Be it a physical thing, a thought, a piece of media, whatever, when you look at it or think about it, you think about all the hopes and dreams you harbor and wish you could give to the world.
For me, that thing is a book, a very specific one called The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. To me, this book represents my most fundamental dream of being my true self and 'decreasing world suck' with the gifts I was given, just as author John Green has. As a writer and video blogger, John has encouraged thousands upon thousands of people to do something great with their lives, to make their lives worth living. And he put so much time and effort into this book with the help of nerdfighters and other awesome people, creating an inspirational work of fiction as proof that real, genuine, everyday people can achieve such amazing things to put more awesome into the world.
As I read The Fault in Our Stars, I find myself entranced by John's writing style. I've never been so drawn in by a fictional character's voice, let alone one of a teenage girl so wonderfully and refreshingly authentic with who she is and where she is in life. It makes me wonder what I was like as a teenager, wrapped up so thoroughly in my own world without death hanging just over my shoulder. At least I wasn't a "robot," my term for cookie-cutter teenagers who speak and behave just like "everyone else" because they can't think past the thought of fitting in and being accepted by their peers. But in comparison to Hazel, TFiOS's narrator, my own teenage mind seemed quite ordinary.
And yet, as I was reading, a thought struck me so forcefully and so suddenly that I actually had to put the book aside in order to process what my brain had just thrown at me. The thought was this: I wish I could write poetry like John Green writes fiction.
This thought was so baffling because of two reasons: one, John Green's style is very unlike my own, and two, I hardly ever write poetry anymore. My teenage years were buried beneath poems I scribbled on homework assignments, but nowadays I hardly ever write anything but articles or prose. Why would my brain want to write poetry the way John Green writes his young adult novels if I hardly ever write poetry?
I continued to meditate on this revelation, coming to the conclusion that I miss writing poetry. Why don't I write poetry anymore, you may ask? Well, as writing help books may tell you, many writers experience guilt: guilt for spending time on something that won't help pay the bills, that keeps them from spending time with loved ones, that won't accomplish anything except eating up time. And that's precisely why I haven't written poetry in the past several years: I don't see poetry as a viable means of supporting myself. And with my nontraditional career path, logic demands that I spend my time creating something that has the promise of being published.
This, my friends, is what leads to writer's frustration and, as most people call it, writer's block. It becomes infinitely more difficult to write the big stuff if you don't let yourself write the other stuff to keep the fire going.
So I asked myself, what is it that I want to spend my time writing? Have you guessed the answer? Poetry. I miss writing poetry because it's what I feel most comfortable and confident writing. It may not be spectacular, but it's what keeps my muse alive. And with such huge projects this year as two science fiction novels, a short story, and countless screenplays, I'm going to need all the muse I can muster. And The Fault in Our Stars is what made me realize it.
This book represents what I want to achieve in my life, what I want to bring into the world. And this book's author is the man who made me aware that I can indeed achieve those dreams with nothing but a pen, a camera, and my brain. And I sincerely hope that you, dear reader, might do the same in your own, unique way.
Thank you, John Green. Thank you, nerdfighters. DFTBA.
Causes Maria Badillo Supports
Foundation to Decrease WorldSuck