Last night, I went to Carnegie Hall to see An Evening of Awesome with John and Hank Green and their various special guests. If you would like an article about it that's a little (okay a lot) more coherent than this blog post might be (I'm going to try and keep the tumblr speak to a minimum here guys, but seriously I have lost the ability to even) I suggest reading this one.
I love the Green brothers. They are both simply amazing human beings. And John Green is my hero. Hank is amazing too, of course, and he writes funny songs that I love and says insightful things in funny ways, but John is the novelist, and I am an aspiring novelist, so there you go. (Friends who know me in real life should also be aware that quite literally ALL of my relationship advice and a lot of my general life advice is stolen from John Green. So now you know my secret. If ever you are upset, irl friends, and cannot reach me, just watch some John Green videos and everything'll be okay!)
I have been trying to meet the Green brothers for about three years now, ever since my lovely roommate introduced me to Nerdfighteria, and I keep getting thwarted. For instance, last year when The Fault in Our Stars came out, there was a release party in New York City, which I would have gone to in a heartbeat if the plane taking me to study in London for five months hadn't left ONE DAY beforehand. And technically I still have yet to meet them, in spite of waiting for over an hour by the stage door (I gave up because my toes were freezing and I wanted to catch the bus back to New Jersey). But that's okay - hopefully I will someday be a published author and I can be at BEA and meet him or something. And the fact that I was in a room with nearly 3,000 other people, sitting about 20 yards away from the stage, didn't stop me from almost crying when John and Hank walked on stage in their tuxes. (I didn't cry: I told myself that I couldn't, because I had to take a terrible-quality cell phone picture and then be a good little theatre kid and put my phone away.)
The evening was about ten thousand different kinds of amazing. Ashley Clements and Daniel Gordh (aka Lizzie and Darcy from the Lizzie Bennet Diaries) read a scene from The Fault in Our Stars, which was a wonderful, sweet, poignant performance. The Mountain Goats and Kimya Dawson played some songs I didn't know but thought were pretty cool anyway. Hank Green played a lot of songs I did know. Hannah Hart and Neil Gaiman (NEIL FREAKING GAIMAN) asked some questions and later helped do a dramatic reading of a scene from Paper Towns. It was hilarious and fun and the crowd was screaming the whole time and my nerdy heart exploded with joy.
And while I love the Green brothers for their nerdy jokes and funny songs and beautiful novels, what I really love is the sense of collaboration and acceptance that they've spread across the internet. John gave a talk about the genesis of TFiOS and how Nerdfighteria became a thing and he said that the community of Nerdfighters "helped him to fall in love with the world." And that is why I think John and Hank are so remarkable - because it's true. And not in a weird, mushy, sort of way. They acknowledge that there is so much that is wrong about the world, and that nothing is perfect and everyone has some sort of sadness that they must deal with - and yet, humanity is inherently good. People can make things better. And not necessarily in huge ways. People can make the world a better place just by being themselves, by doing little things to make themselves and their friends and family a little bit happier, by doing the things they love - whether that is writing books or making music or posting videos on YouTube or taking cute pictures of cats - with the people that they love.
That means so much to me. It's sort of a way of saying that yes, your dreams matter. You have to work to make them happen, of course, but they can happen, they are real and they ARE important. YOU are important, because YOU DO MATTER. You matter to your friends and your family and your pet and your teachers and your students and the people you pass by in the hallway.
My world would be a little bit darker if I had never discovered John and Hank. I would have so many fewer songs to sing and books to read, and I would not understand that idea of mattering. John and Hank spent so much of last night saying thank you to us, to the community who has formed around them, and now it is my turn. Thank you, John and Hank, for showing me what it is to matter. Thank you for making me laugh and making me cry and making me think, and yes, making me fall in love with the world a little bit more.
(Side note: if anyone has a .gif of Neil Gaiman saying "It's not my fault that my parents own the world's largest collection of black Santas," I would be extremely grateful if they could send it to me.)
(Side note to the side note: if you get the reference in this blogpost title, here is a high five for you. *high five*)