Enlightened Conflict

john green and teens

March 6th, 2015

————–teen indestructible

“When adults say, “Teenagers think they are invincible” with that sly, stupid smile on their faces, they don’t know how right they are.
We need never be hopeless, because we can never be irreparably broken.

We think that we are invincible because we are. We cannot be born, and we cannot die.

Like all energy, we can only change shapes and sizes and manifestations.

They forget that when they get old.

They get scared of losing and failing.

But that part of us greater than the sum of our parts cannot begin and cannot end, and so it cannot fail.”

John Green

Looking for Alaska

“Their lives and contributions are as interesting and as complicated and as meaningful as anyone else’s.”

John Green

infinities bigger than other

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Let me be clear … I am not a John Green book fan. I have tried … and I want to like his books … but I just don’t.

 

But … that said.

 

I am a John Green fan.

 

 

I don’t think of him as a teen girl author … I think of him as a young adult advocate.

 

Oh.

 

He is also a quote machine <books make me cringe … individual lines make me sigh with wonder>.

 

 

 

Anyway.

 

 

Back to young adult advocate.

 

 

As does any author … or anyone in the spotlight these days … he gets shit. He gets the snarky remark or question or comment. He has gobs of critics passionately arguing with gobs of fans.

 

 

And I imagine, as with any of these people, they sit on the sidelines and slightly seethe over some of the remarks.

 

The best stay on the sidelines and stay out of the fray figuring there will always be those blinded by passion and those oblivious to their silly hate.

 

 

And then there are those moments where someone like John Green cannot stay on the sidelines … and they show why you should like them … even if you may not like what they publish.

 

 

Here is where I became an unequivocal John Green, as a human … not an author, fan.

 

 

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“How do you know exactly what teen girls want to read when you write your books that are about one step above truck stop romance novels?”

Anonymous

infinte be a voice not an echo

————————

 

 

 

fishingboatproceeds:

It’s perfectly okay to dislike my books, but don’t disrespect teen girls. It’s so tired. It’s so easy. And it’s so unfair.

Teen girls are pushing culture toward openness and fairness. Teen girls are making the art and music and fanfiction that has reshaped contemporary media and art. You know who donated most of the $1,400,000 raised by this year’s Project for Awesome? Teen girls. You know who were the first supporters and collaborators for online video projects from Lonelygirl15 to Brotherhood 2.0 to Five Awesome Girls? Teen girls.

This whole teen-girls-are-stupid-and-vapid shit is just so played out. Teen girls are human beings. They are not inferior to other human beings. Their lives and contributions are as interesting and as complicated and as meaningful as anyone else’s.

 

======

===

 

 

 

Well.

 

 

Take out girls.

 

Just say teens.

 

 

Teen’s lives and contributions are as interesting and as complicated and as meaningful as anyone else’s.

 

 

He may not write books I enjoy reading but he thinks thoughts … and shares thoughts … I enjoy reading.

 

sometimes they change  turning the page

 

What the heck.

 

Pick up one of his books … give it a try. I can only guarantee one thing when you read one … at some point you will come across a well-articulated thought, often in his dialogue, that makes you sit back and think.

 

 

And maybe … just maybe … he not only makes you think about teens as young adults with meaningful complex lives … but he also teaches you to think about Life a little differently.

 

 

——

“What a slut time is. She screws everybody.”

John Green

The Fault in Our Stars

letters to myself

March 8th, 2014

Ok.letter to me

This is about being honest with yourself … in a creative way.

 

“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act” – George Orwell

 

Writing letters to yourself. Telling the truth to yourself. Difficult … sometimes painful … and often a revolutionary act in that we are quite good at deceiving ourselves <ok … overlooking some things>.

 

But.

Writing letters to yourself. This is an awesome idea.

I am fairly sure I found this on xanga <probably the best social site for tween/teens before it went bankrupt>.

 

It is called ‘letters to myself’ where you are writing letters about what you are feeling now … to your future you.

 

Brilliant & interesting thought.

 

Now.

I will begin with the young people. I often tell parents <most teachers already know this stuff> they should cruise tumblr or weheartit or a variety of tween/teen driven websites and read what kids are saying & thinking.

 

I don’t suggest it because I can guarantee their own kids are feeling the same things … but rather because it certainly provides a platform for discussing what they may actually be thinking.

Interestingly.

 

We old folk know this stuff … we have just forgotten <or blanked out> the nitty gritty details of this time in our lives <usually for a good reason … it was painful at times>.

 

Sure.

In older age … we have an overall sense of insecurity or doubt or any of the issues relevant to that age … but the devil is in the details.

 

letters to myself lieAnyway.

Letters to myself.

 

I am a firm believer that getting all that crap junking up your head & thinking and putting it on paper or on a computer may not be therapeutic but it certainly makes it real <or ‘real-er’ .. maybe just more tangible>.

 

Maybe that’s it … it becomes tangible.

 

The monsters and demons are no longer some ghost-like shadows lurking in your mind but instead they become black & white words & pictures & scribbles to touch & feel … and change.

Maybe it is an opportunity to rewrite or reshape their future as it were.monsters inside us win

 

In your head these thoughts rule you.

 

On paper you rule the destiny of these thoughts.

 

I never had a diary. I always thought my life too boring to have anything I thought meaningful to put down on paper.

 

But.

I scribbled, wrote bad poetry, jotted thoughts … from probably the age of 13 or so on.

I still have old loose pieces of paper and some school spiral notebooks with shit I have written.

 

Most of it is bad writing.

Really bad writing.

 

On occasion I find a nice small groupings of words or a thought that I keep in mind today.

 

But what I actually wrote is kind of not the point.

I look back and mostly I see that I made it.

And I don’t mean “made it” as successful or famous or any of that shit … I simply mean ‘I survived.’ Survived the gauntlet of growing up.

 

And that is the point.

Being a teen is tough.

It is really really difficult to think about the horizon because all the frickin’ dark clouds are blocking any chance of a view. Or maybe those darn monsters and demons are so big they block your view.

 

On occasion the clouds break or the monsters shift a little to the side <still standing there watching you> and you get a glimpse of the horizon .. but being a teen can be relentlessly scary.

 

And I am not talking about bullying or fitting in or any of the difficult social challenges of the young … I am talking about ‘where you are going’ type thoughts.

 

Cause, frankly, 99% of teens have no fucking clue where they are going.

They know they are going somewhere … and they are hopeful <for the most part> … but they just cant frickin’ see where they are going.

 

All that said.

I love this idea of ‘letters to myself.’

 

Here are some examples I found written by this generation’s teens:

 

 

Dear future me,
I will not deny that I’m quite confused about your future…letters to myself note to future self
However I just wanted to say that whatever happens you’ll still have a way of fixing things.
There is always a way! You just need to calm down and see things get sorted out.
I believe in your high potential to make up things once again.
Don’t give up.
I trust you to make us happy!

Sincerely,
the old you

 

——

 

Dear future me,
I hope you’ve found yourself.
By the time I wrote this to you, you were so lost, so needy and so miserable that anyone could see how troubled your life was going.
I’m so sorry if I abandoned you…
I’m so sorry for everything I put you through, you deserved better… far better than everything you had last year.
Sorry if I lied to you making you believe in such stupid fairytales.
Sorry if I forced you to stay longer than you should be into another sick relationship that would change yourself forever.
Sorry if I told you to never give up on boys…
I was wrong.
Well, I’m not sure if your (my) heart is totally mended by now or if you’ve decided to give another chance to love. I bet yes knowing you as I do…
You look and sound happy with this new guy you found, I’m happy for us!
However it goes pls do not forget to love yourself at first!
Trust no one.
Take risks if you must to but never ever again forget to love yourself.
You’re awesome! You really are a beautiful and unique lady.
And you’re absolutely gooooorgeous despite all your scars.
I love you, I really do although sometimes I seems not to.
Please for our own sake, stop doubting yourself!
True love might already have found you, be patient with this new guy, don’t chase him, don’t be afraid to get out there and fight for everything you plan to build with him, despite any critics always follow the sound of your heart.
Be ready, because eventually you will get hurt once again. So this time don’t give him so much control, right?
Though always in every single day remain yourself.
Be loving, be caring…
I know it’s hard for us but believe me, no matter how much you love people don’t become dependent on them.
“A hungry dog doesn’t get feed…”
So don’t be needy or clingy. Make them come to you, you’ve this power so use it!
Last but not least remember there’s plenty of fish in the sea.
Take your chances.
Forget your past.
Stay classy,
Take care of me.

 

With all my love,
the old you

 

—–

letters to myself get better

I love this idea.

And I believe it is a healthy idea for young people.

Healthy in a number of ways.

 

First <and foremost>. It permits them to put what they are feeling into words.

Seeing really is believing.

They see the words … and they become tangible and real. They do not even have to share them with anyone … just with themselves.

The words put flesh on the bare bones of thoughts.

 

Second.

The future. We all have a habit of focusing on the present and sometimes it is good to take a moment and reflect upon things.

Why?

Well.

Today’s present will be tomorrow’s past. Sound silly <if not obvious or trite>? Sure.

But we tend to forget some really important silly things …and this is one.

 

Ok.

A dose of reality.

I admit.

I love this idea of ‘letters to myself’ for a number of reasons.

Several already stated.

 

However … most of all … I believe it is healthy to recognize the most interesting people are made up of a mixture of virtues and ‘defects.’

I do know that when I began thinking about this whole ‘letters to myself’ thing I knew I had a random quote rattling around in the basement of my brain that I had to search to find. And this is what it was:

 

“Like all of us sinners, General Betrishchev was endowed with many virtues and many defects. Both the one and the other were scattered through him in a sort of picturesque disorder. Self-sacrifice, magnanimity in decisive moments, courage, intelligence–and with all that, a generous mixture of self-love, ambition, vanity, petty personal ticklishness, and a good many of those things which a man simply cannot do without.” ― Nikolai Gogol, Dead Souls

 

It was a perfect thought for letters to myself. A reminder to us all of our mixture that makes us who we are.

 

And a reminder that teens often think they have to be perfect to be able to navigate the adult expectations.letters to myself future lover

 

We do make it difficult for the young … mostly because not all of us adults judge similarly <but that is a different post>.

The expectations keep shifting for the young. It makes it very easy to be … well … imperfect.

 

It would help if they were reminded perfection is found in the beautiful imperfections.

 

Letters to myself?

Well. I think the letters permit the young to explore the imperfections that will inevitably make them great adults.

 

Or as Gogol states … ‘that generous mixture of a good many things which a person simply cannot do without.’

It is a nice reminder to all of us. So … maybe write a letter to yourself today. It is always nice to get mail.

Enlightened Conflict