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Anonymous asked:

There seems to be this widely perceived notion that authors agree with everything they have their main protagonist say and do. I was just wondering if you knew where how this came about, seeing as you and hazel grace are so obviously the same exact person.


Well, authors invite this—or at least authors like me do, by putting so much of our personal selves online and engaging in conversations outside stories, so it’s a little unfair to be like, “Follow me on tumblr and twitter and youtube and instagram, but NEVER TRY TO FIND MY INSIDE MY NOVELS.” As a reader, I find it impossible to ignore the author when they’re someone I know, whether online or off.

Also, we live in a quote culture: We see quotes all day across the Internet, and those quotes almost never come with real context. Like, the protagonist of Katherines says, “What’s the point of being alive if you don’t at least try to do something remarkable?” Now, I don’t think that’s a problematic approach to life, and I hope during the course of the novel Colin comes around to the idea that there’s great meaning and joy in the so-called unremarkable life. (As if anything on this planet overflowing with life is unremarkable.) But as I get older, I find myself less and less annoyed about the inevitable decontextualization that accompanies quotation. If people find something useful, okay. 

It’s so very hard to separate yourself as a person from your work, no matter what kind of work you do. (e.g.: As a high school student, I was disengaged and sloppy with occasional moments of promise, which to me meant that as a person I was disengaged and sloppy with moments of promise. But really, who you are in your job or education is not exactly who you are.) But I am not my work. It is up to other people, if they are so kind as to read and watch the stuff I make, to judge its quality and/or usefulness. The core things I am—a husband, a father, a brother, a son, a nerdfighter, a friend, etc.—are not dependent on my books being any good. Thank God for that.

I don’t think I answered your question. Sorry. The only answer I have to your question is that I believe books belong to their readers.



Our town paints fire hydrants. 2014’s theme is books! Here is their ode to John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars.

The artist for this hydrant is Paul Siegfried.  It’s located on the corner of Jefferson and Warren St, Huntington, IN 46750. Presented by the Huntington Arts Initiative, this year’s theme is Book, Look…and Listen!

File under Things I Did Not Anticipate While Writing TFIOS.

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