“Who do you want to be like when you grow up?”
I don’t remember how many times I was asked that question as a kid. I do remember some of my answers, though. For me, it was never a matter of what. I never wanted to be a doctor or a firefighter or anything like that. For me, it was always a specific person.
In my younger days, I wanted to be like Bono or Hawkeye Pierce from M*A*S*H–people I admired. People who were great at what they did and used those talents to make the world a better place. I know, not the most original thought in the world, but it’s true, nonetheless.
And so it is that today, I’d like to take a few moments to sing the praises of a certain author whom I admire.
I think John Green’s the greatest. And it’s not just because he wrote the incomparable The Fault in Our Stars. Even though the fact that both of my sons loved the story as much as me is reason is reason enough to raise a glass to him.
No, the reason I’m such a fan of Mr. Green is because of the myriad other things he does. For example, he and his brother Hank operate the Vlogbrothers and the Crash Course blogs on YouTube. My sister-in-law Mindy is one of countless teachers who use Crash Course, which covers subjects from history to science, in their classes.
And if that’s not enough, John and Hank run the Project for Awesome, which raises money for worthy causes. Every December, YouTubers upload videos to the Project for Awesome website promoting their favorite charities. In 2012 alone, the Project for Awesome raised over $450,000 in donations.
So John Green’s an educator, fundraiser, and bestselling author. But that’s not all. He’s also ringleader of the Nerdfighters, a worldwide community dedicated to, and I quote, “increasing awesome and decreasing world suck.” Rather to the point, don’t you think? Among the Nerdfighters are a couple of people you may have heard of–actors Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman.
What I love about these efforts is that while they are as entertaining and fun as can be, there’s also an educational and/or philanthropic component to each of them. So here we have a guy who is a hugely successful author and yet continues to invest massive amounts of time and energy into projects to make our world a better place. Yeah, that’s pretty cool.
My admiration for John goes to a personal level, too. My younger son Aidan loves the Vlogbrothers. The corny one-liners he’s learned from John and Hank always leave me laughing. Some of the scientific lessons Aidan’s learned, like Zeno’s Paradox, are incredibly impressive as well. So if he’s going to spend time on YouTube, I don’t mind him watching The Vlogbrothers and Crash Course.
For my older son Seamus, it’s a different story. Seamus has Ulcerative Colitis, a chronic disease of the digestive system. The nature of his condition is such that he never knows how he’s going to feel from one day to the next. Trying to lead a normal life as a teenager is next to impossible for him. But one day this past spring, he picked up TFiOS. He finished it within twenty-four hours. When I asked him what had captivated him, he said the book helped him find a way to express his feelings about his condition.
Living with UC for the past four years has been terribly difficult for Seamus. Admittedly, it’s not cancer, but it has certainly taken its toll on him. In reading that book, he found something that let him know he’s not alone in his daily battle.
For that, I not only admire John Green, I am eternally grateful to him.
Oh, one last thing. He also hails from Indianapolis. That’s where I live, too, so yeah, I’m a total homer.
How about you? Who do you want to be like when you grow up? I’d love to hear from you. And thanks to the wonderful authors of the Contemporary Romance Café for letting me visit today. Until next time, may the wind be at your back and the sun shine warm upon your face!
The youngest of eight children, Jim grew up in a household full of books and people. Thanks to the influence of his older siblings, he gravitated toward fantasy and sci-fi when looking for something to read.
He wrote his first story at age fourteen. A school project, The Magic Coin was a fantasy that involved a king, some bad guys, and, not surprisingly, a magical token.
These days, Jim writes romance on the sweet end. If you ask him what is a guy like him is doing writing romance, he’ll reply, “Those are the stories in my head.” A believer that the world has enough doom and gloom, he likes stories with a happy ending, regardless of genre.
He lives in Indianapolis with his wonderful wife Nancy and his two sons, Ryan and Aidan.
Find Jim here:
Website – www.JimCangany.com
Twitter – @jimcangany
Facebook – Jim Cangany Author