My (so far) one-sided conversation with John Green
March 28, 2020
In one of my earlier posts, I wrote that writing helps. It keeps the dementors away.
I’m definitely not the first to ever say this, nor will I be the last.
I can shake of everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn.
That’s a quote from Anne Frank’s diary. She was a freakin’ teenager and she already knew what was up.
The question is… why though?
Why does writing help so much?
I had a weird experience the other day.
It was on a Tuesday. I know that for sure. Why you ask? Well, because this particular train of events started with the sentence: ‘Good morning Hank, it’s Tuesday’. That’s why I know it was Tuesday. Raise your hands if you know what that means, please go check out the vlogbrothers if you don’t.
Okay, so it was Tuesday. And it was a bad Tuesday. My chronic pain was on a roll.
I was very tired from having several days of that in a row. And when I say days I really mean weeks, you know how that goes. You say days, to make the people who love you worry less. Because there’s nothing they can do, this bad spell will end, but it won’t be because of anything they did, they are powerless and they understandably hate that, and so sometimes you just spare them a bad spell or five.
Or if you can’t do that you make it smaller.
Anyway, back to the Tuesday I watched this vlogbrothers video on youtube. In which John Green, for the bazillionth time recommended the book ‘The body in Pain’. It’s a recommendation he keeps making. Like, he will not shut up about this book (he also talks about it here, and here and that’s just youtube).
After this video, I finally thought, let’s start a conversation about this. Because I want to read this book about as much as I don’t wanna read it. It’s pretty much 50/50 at this point. Which is why I still haven’t read it – in spite of John Greens insistence that it’s great.
So I started a conversation with John Green
I decided to write in a question to their Q&A podcast “Dear Hank & John” – where ‘two brothers answer your questions and give dubious advice’ as they themselves describe it.
The weird thing is, this helped.
Writing this email helped.
Will I ever get an answer?
I don’t know.
I’m guessing there are tons of people sending questions to the Dear Hank and John podcast, so the chance that they will answer ever my question is… well, not great.
And yet it has already helped me. Writing about all of this helped me, even before I actually pressed “sent”.
You see, I rewrote this lengthy email a couple of times. So in the little draft window I now many notes and lines I had to cut out, in order to keep my email to them as short as possible. And through all this rewriting and sentence shortening, I actually processed a lot of what I was feeling just by drafting this email.
I also process a lot of my feelings when I write blog posts.
And when I write stories.
I become aware of my feelings when I write. Because in the weird tangled noodles that are my brain, it’s very hard to make sense of all them emojis. When my thoughts and feelings are in there, they’re just a chaotic mess. But on paper, they are at least somewhat structured and clear.
So if you kids out there are struggling: that’s why writing helps.
And the good news is, you don’t even have to do anything with it. There’s no need to write stories or blogs if that’s not your thing. Writing can help in any form you choose. You can draft an email to Dear Hank & John, and never even send the silly thing if you don’t want to. Or to any other advice-giver-person, people who have build columns or websites or anything around this concept.
Because the writing itself will probably be about as valuable as answer they will give you, if not more valuable.